Raymond Ozoji, Awka
The Anambra State House of Assembly on Wednesday announced indefinite suspension of legislative proceedings in the hallowed chambers over the dreaded coronavirus spreading currently like wild fire all over the globe including Nigeria.
The decision to put all legislative activities on hold in the interim is to comply with the directives of Governor Willie Obiano, who had earlier given a marching order to shut down all state Institutions as well as public gatherings in order to control and contain the spread of the monstrous coronavirus pandemic.
Briefing newsmen at the state assembly complex Awka, the Speaker of the 7th legislature, Rt. Hon. Uche Okafor, stated that the House would not reconvene unless on extreme necessity.
The Speaker explained that under such extreme situations, only 10 members of the House would converge on the hallowed chambers to treat such issues, stressing that the House would not engage in its normal proceedings unless the executive arm directed otherwise.
Okafor said, “All of us are going back to our various Constituencies to sensitise our people on this deadly disease so that people will take precautionary measures as advised by His Excellency.”
According to him, members of the state assembly were also tested and certified free of coronavirus by the state commissioner for health Dr. Vincent Ogochukwu Okpala and were given hand sanitizers as well as other gadgets for preventive purposes, noting that the governor was proactive enough to provide such facilities at strategic points across Anambra state.
Also, the Chief Whip of the House and lawmaker representing Dunukofia state constituency, Hon. Lawrence Chukwuweike Ezeudu, said that the compulsory shutdown of the legislature might also adversely affect their oversight duties because the state civil service which they were supposed to oversight were equally victims of the mandatory statewide shutdown.
Ezeudu noted that to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, there was need to maintain considerable social distance which he observed also might not be tenable during oversight functions.
He maintained that there was need to key into the directives of the federal and state governments to win the battle against coronavirus.