For breaking the news on the intent to pass into Law the Delta State Internal Revenue Service Bill, 2020, without public hearing, the speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, has banned an investigative journalist, Mr. Iteveh Ekpokpobe, from accessing the spectators gallery of the State Assembly complex.
Iteveh who was at the State House of Assembly at 9.40am this morning for plenary was denied entry as the door to the spectators gallery was locked.
It was gathered that the Speaker ordered specifically that the journalist should not be allowed into the Chamber.
Narrating his ordeal, Iteveh described the act as dictatorial and reeking of highhandedness in every material particular.
He said, “a clean conscience fears no accusation. It shows that the house led by Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori is not comfortable with truth. These are the kind of leaders we have in Delta State. Those with intent to subject Deltans to slavery.”
“I know the ban is not unconnected with a story I wrote last week. The bill is an executive bill. It will cost the house little or nothing to organise a public hearing. I don’t understand the rationale behind the speedy consideration. The house is obviously a rubber stamp especially under the incumbent leadership of Oborevwori.” He stressed.
The ban cannot not be unconnected to a news story he published on the perfected plans by the house to pass into law, the Delta State Internal Revenue Service Bill, 2020, without due process of organising a public hearing to get input from relevant stakeholders.
The bill which was introduced on the floor of the house for the first time last week Thursday 30, April, through a letter from the Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, passed first and second reading on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.
However, the bill was committed to the Special Committee on Bills and Public Accounts Committee by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, with directive to submit their report today Tuesday 12, May, 2020.
The bill may be passed into law today without due process of public input despite clamours for public hearing by critical stakeholders.
Meanwhile, former Director General, Delta State Traffic Management Agency (DESTMA), Chief Stephen Dieseruvwe, has in the wee hours of today joined voices calling for the House of Assembly to get public inputs on the bill.
His position was contained in a statement titled, “A Call For Public Hearing Before The Passage Of The Bill On The Establishment Of The Delta State Internal Revenue Service Board.”
“Following the protest by public and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on the Control of Infectious Diseases Bill, 2020 (NCDC Bill), resulted in the House of Representatives agreeing to a public hearing for the sake of transparency and accountability.”
“In the same vain, following the dissenting voices of the public and Delta CSOs, I respectfully call on the Speaker and members of the Delta State House of Assembly (DTHA), in a bid to be transparent and accountable to Deltans, should take a cue from the decision of the House of Representatives and conduct a public hearing on the proposed Bill on the Establishment of the Delta State Internal Revenue Service Board before it’s passage into law.” He stated.