The Delta House of Assembly on Wednesday passed the State Office of the Public Defender Bill.
The passage of the bill in Asaba during plenary followed a motion by the Majority Leader, Mr Tim Owhefere and seconded by Mrs Erhiatake Ibori-Suenu, representing Ethiope West constituency in the Assembly.
House of Representatives
At the committee of the whole chaired by the Speaker of the Assembly, Chief Sheriff Oborevwori, the report of the House Committee on Rules, Business, Legal and Judicial matters on the bill was considered clause by clause and section by section.
The speaker, while reporting progress made by the committee of the whole, said the various clauses were amended following motions by some members and thanked them for their contributions.
Consequently, the majority leader moved a motion for the third reading and the passage of the bill.
The bill intended to provide legal representation for indigent persons through the office of the public defender when created.
Also at plenary on Wednesday, the Delta state Public Private Property Protection Bill passed the second reading.
Presenting the bill for second reading, Owhefere said that it sought to prohibit and abolish unwarranted harassment of property developers in the state under the disguise of collecting development levy popularly known as “deve’’.
He said that the tradition of collecting “deve’’ by youths had continued in various communities, saying that it has the tendency of driving away potential investors from the state.
Owhefere noted that section 3 Sub Section 1 of the proposed law prohibits any forceful entry into any property with the view of denying the owner of the ownership of such property, and attracts seven years jail term with an option of N500,000 as fine.
He said that it has become so embarrassing to the extent that youths harass property developers from the point of purchase of land to the different stages of construction demanding various sums of money.
Owhefere said the proposed law when passed would help checkmate such illegal levies.
He said the bill aims at enhancing development of the state without any form of harassment of developers.
Supporting the bill, the Chief Whip of the Assembly, Mrs Pat Ajudua said it was people oriented and would help to fast-track development in the state.
Ajudua also said that the bill when passed would help to create an atmosphere of peace.
Speaking against the bill, the member representing Ughelli constituency, Mr Reuben Izeze noted that it violated all known lawmaking precedence in the assembly.
He said that the assembly already has a similar bill with the same content before it.
Consequently, the speaker set up an eight-man ad hoc committee to analyse and harmonise the two other bills, which were already before the assembly.
Members of the ad hoc committee are: Mrs Pat Ajudua as chairman, Mr Johnson Erijo, Mr Oboro Preyor, Mrs Orezi Esiovo, Mr Anthony Elekeokwuri and Mr Peter Uviejitobor as members.
The committee has one week to report back to the assembly.