The Speaker, Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Paul Emeziem has insisted that due process was followed in suspending six members of the House on Thursday.
The House had on Thursday sacked and replaced the Chief Whip, Hon. Arthur Egwim, dissolved all standing committees and suspended six of its members for engaging in parliamentary misconduct.
Speaking to newsmen in Owerri, on Sunday, Rt. Hon. Emeziem debunked the claims by the affected lawmakers that their suspension was illegal, unconstitutional and undemocratic.
He said that the House under his leadership has remained resolute to effective service delivery and would not condone behaviors and activities from members that are capable of bringing the state legislative arm to disrepute and ridicule.
He added that the decision of the House became necessary in order to protect the image, sanctity, peace and ensure progress of the House.
He further stated that the suspension was also aimed at safeguarding the healthy relationship existing between the House and the other arms of government in the state.
The speaker who reiterated that all the affected lawmakers were guilty of one parliamentary misconduct or another, added that there was no reason for the leadership of the House to witch hunt any member with suspension or whatever.
He described suspension as “a soft but adequate disciplinary measure against erring members which is enshrined in the rules of the House.”
Emeziem said, “In the first place, it is our duty as the leadership of the House to ensure the existence and sustenance of this our own arm of government so as to be and remain effective in the discharge of our duties.
“It is also our duty to run our affairs in the House of Assembly in such an enabling way as to remain in synergy with the other arms of government in order to provide functional environment for the people.
“But in our observations and assessment, this good relationship has been, and remained until lately, especially immediately or even within the peak period of the insecurity in the state.
“Also, we have taken time to observe unnecessary insinuations by certain members, abuse on the personalities of fellow colleagues, autocratic demand of rights and privileges without references to the rules. Some members have even derailed from understanding the primary aim and objective that brought us in the House.”
He continued, “The leadership therefore, having examined the level tension already generated through the above unparliamentary behaviors and actions of certain members, decided to take soft but adequate disciplinary measures on them towards restoring peace and progress in the House.
“You must be aware that an Appeal Committee headed by the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Amara Iwuanyanwu was set up by the House to entertain any grievance or whatsoever regarding the suspensions and related matters.
“And as far as I am concerned, there is nothing shameful or thuggery about what happened during and after the plenary on Thursday. Rather it was simply a strategic tactics to ensure orderliness and peace.”