July 20, 2024

Alleged plagiarised Bill: Delta Assembly recalls suspended lawmaker

Delta State House of Assembly, (DSHA), has lifted the suspension on Barr Mathew Omonade, the member representing Ughelli North 1 Constituency.

The lawmaker was however warned against actions that could undermine the integrity and sanctity of the office of the State Governor and the Speaker of the House.

The lifting of the suspension followed the adoption of an recommendations of the Adhoc Committee chaired by the Majority Leader of the House, Emeka Nwaobi, which investigated allegations of gross misconduct against Omonade.

With the lifting of the suspension, all the lawmaker’s rights and privileges as a member of the 8th Assembly were immediately restored, as pronounced by the Speaker, Dennis Guwor.

Presenting the report during Thursday’s sitting, Nwaobi said, “Mr Speaker, Hon Omonade has made public apology appealing to this Honourable House to temper justice with mercy for he said, ‘I made a mistake and I have realized my mistake’.

“He further wrote another letter of apology dated 23rd May 2024, wherein he deeply regretted his actions and honestly pledged that the action that led to his suspension would not repeat itself again.

“Having understood the importance of maintaining a respectful and collaborative atmosphere in the House, thus dedicating to upholding the standards of the House, thereby hoping to have a positive working relationship with the leadership of the House.

“However, we hereby recommend to the House for adoption that the Honourable Member be sounded a note of warning against future occurrence of such actions that tend to undermine the integrity and sanctity of the office of the Governor and Speaker of the House.

“He should further be recommended to carefully and properly study the House Rules and by extension get understanding that Laws are universal, for which reason laws made by one state or country can be domesticated in another state or country to serve the interest of the citizens without anybody from any quarter crying out for plagiarism.

“The suspension placed on the Honourable Member Representing Ughelli North 1 State Constituency, Hon Omonade Mathew Onojighofia be lifted forthwith.”

The recommendations were subjected to further debates on the floor, and some members, including Oboro Preyor, Bomadi Constituency, and Austin Uroye, Warri South 1 Constituency, appealed that the suspended lawmaker be forgiven and the suspension lifted as his constituents would have missed their representative in the state legislature.

The lifting of the suspension order was unanimously adopted when put to voice vote by the Speaker, who expressed concern over the attempt to subject the Assembly into public ridicule.

The Speaker emphasized that in the business of lawmaking, laws are universal and can be domesticated anywhere and advised members to always be guided by the rules.

Omonade’s suspension followed controversy over a Bill on generation and distribution of electricity, to be domesticated in Delta State,

It was learnt that Omonade actually carried out extensive research on the Bill and after working on it, passed a copy to the Speaker, who subsequently forwarded same to the governor.

When he kept on asking the Speaker access to table it before the House, he was denied, only for the Bill to return to the House as an Executive Bill without crediting him as the owner of the intellectual property, a development that amounted to plagiarism.

His suspension came as a punishment for daring to ‘harass’ the Speaker by pestering him to allow him present the Bill which originally was his brainchild.

At a recent press conference to mark the First Anniversary of the 8th Assembly, the Speaker, while commenting on the matter, had said, “It is very very unfortunate that a member was suspended; that is not our prayer. In life certain things happen.

“The truth is that there is a committee set up to investigate. I don’t want to preempt the outcome of it. However, laws are universal, laws are not books. Books are plagiarised, laws are not plagiarised.”

Omonade who is the Chairman, House Committee on Public Petitions, is expected to resume on the next adjourned date.

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