Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Kennedy Ibeh has suspended three lawmakers from the assembly and also declared vacant the position of the member representing Ngor Okpala state constituency, Tochi Okere.
The seat was declared vacant after the assembly received two petitions from Ngor Okpala, asking for the seat to be declared vacant on the basis of nonperformance.
Ibeh maintained that the lawmaker was sacked in line with the house rules and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, adding that Okere had not attended plenaries up to one-third since he was inaugurated as a lawmaker in 2019.
He disclosed that the sacked lawmaker only attended plenaries 29 times in 2019, 14 times in 2020, and had not attended any plenary in 2021. The Independent National Electoral Commission has been asked to conduct a bye-election to elect a new representative for the state constituency.
The lawmakers who were suspended are Authur Eguim (Ideato North), Ngozi Obiefule,(Isu), and Obinna Okwara(Nkwerre). They were reportedly given the punishment over an alleged “dereliction of duty”.
Ibeh also said the suspended lawmakers failed to attend legislative activities on 2022 budget proposals as submitted to the Assembly by the state governor, Hope Uzodinma.
The suspended lawmakers now join three others namely; Paul Emeziem, a former deputy governor, Okey Onyekanma and a former minority leader, Ekene Nnodimele, who was suspended indefinitely before the emergence of Ibeh as speaker.