story by crossriverwatch admin
Eight members of the Cross River State House of Assembly and the Clerk of the House are on their way to Colombo, Sri Lanka to attend the 58th Annual Conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association CPA, scheduled to hold from September 7 to 15, 2012.
Crossriverwatch reliable gathered that the lawmakers left Calabar yesterday for Lagos where they were lodged in a five star hotel around Ikeja GRA area prior to their departure this evening. According to our source, they are expected to depart tonight with Emirate Airlines. The flight will transit Dubai before heading for Colombo in Sri Lanka. The nine member trip includes the Majority Leader of the House Rt. Hon. Moses Onoh (PDP) and the Minority Leader, Hon. Alex Irek (ACN).
The event is an annual Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference that brings together over 800 parliamentarians and parliamentary staff from 175 CPA branches to discuss and share experiences pertaining to strengthening of parliamentary democracy throughout the Commonwealth.
A reliable source in the Cross River State House of Assembly disclosed to crossriverwatch that “the conference does not require any member to pay before attending. Accommodation is paid for by the organizers. There are just a few personal bills that the organizers require participants to pay for themselves. Nevertheless, the trip will cost the state between 20,000 US Dollars to 25,000 US Dollars. That will cover their out of station allowances otherwise known as Estacode, the logistics cost of local transport and hotel before their departure and other miscellaneous expenses that may be required to make them comfortable on their trip”.
But in an interview, the Chairman, House Committee on Information Hon. Ngim Okpo told crossriverwatch that “I am not in a position to confirm or deny that the trip will cost the state 25,000 Dollars because I don’t react to public rumours. But this event is an event amongst those that have statutory allocations budgeted for them.”
According to Hon. Okpo, “no knowledge is a waste particularly in this era of globalization. The world is moving to where if you are left behind, your guess will be as good as mine. The CPA is a very important forum for legislators like ours who work in an environment where the people are yet to come to terms with the role of the legislature. It was also important that our legislators participate because of the opportunity that was available for them.”
It was not immediately clear whether the lawmakers will participate in the excursions lined up after the conference as there are expected to return on Wednesday. Conference organizers have lined excursions for participants to tour Colombo, Kandy, Koggala and Sigiriya and experience the rich cultural and natural ambiance of the country before their departure.
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