The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly on Tuesday issued a warrant for arrest of a popular musician, Mrs. Christy Essien Igbokwe, over an alleged supply of non-functional printing machine to the Akwa Ibom Newspaper Corporation. The House alleged that Igbokwe, who is the Managing Director of Chuduak Nigeria Limited, a company owned by her husband, Chief Edwin Igbokwe, used the facility to supply the machine. http://www.punchng.com/Articl.aspx?theartic=Art200806183532817
At the House‘s sitting on Tuesday, members unanimously resolved to issue a warrant for arrest of the musician following a motion by Mr. Asuquo Odiong and seconded by Mr. Akanimo Edet.
But counsel for the Igbokwes, Mr. Fred Agbaje, has said that the lawmakers‘ decision amounts to legislative lawlessness.
In a telephone interview with one of our correspondents, Agbaje described the lawmakers as jobless.
He regretted that while there were series of problems facing the indigenes of the state which the government and the assembly had failed to address, they were busy chasing an eight-year-old contract that was awarded and executed according to the contractual agreement.
He said, “Out of nothing to do, the state government and the assembly deliberately resorted to name calling and political scoring.
“I dare them to do their worst. We are in court and the court has directed that all parties should maintain the status quo. The state Attorney-General, the Speaker of the assembly, the IGP and the CP are all parties in the case.
“The law is very clear; once a case is in court, all parties must not resort to lawlessness. They will meet me in court.”
Igbokwe and her husband were recently summoned by the House to appear before the ad hoc committee set up to investigate the supply of the machine.
She, however, failed to honour the invitation without any explanation while her husband sent in a medical report through his lawyer, claiming to be suffering from headache and sweating.
In canvassing for the issuance of a warrant, the Chairman of the ad hoc committee, Mr. Nsikak Ekong, said the House had no choice but to invoke Section 129 of the constitution to compel her appearance after she had failed to honour the committee‘s invitation as well as the House‘s summon.
The committee chairman said that the committee needed information from the duo to complete its investigation and submit its report to the House.
The Speaker, Mr. Ignatius Edet, who read the resolution, directed the police to, in line with the constitution, produce Mrs. Igbokwe before the committee on Tuesday June 24, 2008.
The House also rejected the medical report from her husband, saying that the photocopy presented to the House was not authentic. It added that he should honour the House‘s summon by appearing before the committee on the same date.
Speaking with our correspondent on the telephone, Chief Igbokwe described the action of the House as ‘mad.‘
According to him, ”They are just crazy. There is a court injunction on that. They have been using the machine for close to eight years since 2003. The machine was supplied in 2000 and they kept it somewhere because there was no where to install it and also due to erratic power supply.
“It was installed two years after it was supplied to the house. You should know what would happen to it by then. The whole thing is just political. You can imagine that it is the same machine I supplied to Port Harcourt where they now go to print. That is where Pioneer newspaper prints.”
He said because of threat messages his family has been receiving since the episode started, he would only appear before the committee if it moved its sitting to Abuja.