ABAKALIKI – Lawmakers in the Ebonyi State House of Assembly have interrogated two local government council chairmen and a Special Assistant to Governor Dave Umahi over alleged cases of embezzlement of public funds, illegal collection of taxes, non-remittance of internal generated revenue, among others.

The accused functionaries are the Afikpo North Local Government Council Chairman, Mr. Ogbonnaya Okoenyim; his Ivo counterpart, Mr. Ogbonnaya  Chukwuude; and the governor’s aide, Mr. Peter Oba.

The three government officials were summoned before the state lawmakers during the Assembly’s plenary session on November 8, 2018, where they also failed to either write or recite the Nigerian national anthem correctly.

The Afikpo North council boss was also accused of unlawfully revoking people’s land and abuse of his office.

The LGA bosses were said to have bluntly failed to respond to letters from their council legislatures in respect to the allegations, hence their summon by the state Assembly.

The governor’s Special Assistant, who is now suspended, was accused of fraud ranging from being instrumental to the collection of illegal levies at motor parks, collecting bribe from road obstruction offenders, among other offences.

In their submissions, the Deputy Speaker, Hon Obasi Odefa Obasi; the deputy leader, Hon Ikoro Kingsley and the member representing Ezza North west, Hon Victor Chukwu, expressed dismay at the scandal and enjoined their colleagues to give the accused functionaries some time, in the spirit of fair hearing, to make up their defence and get back to the House.

They also suggested the setting up of an ad-hoc committee to dig deeper into the matter and report back to the House for further actions.

Responding, the functionaries denied the allegations and asked for some time to put their houses in order.

After the lawmakers had agreed through voice vote, the Speaker, Hon Francis Nwifuru, announced the setting up of a five-man committee headed by Hon Humphrey Nwuruku. Other members of the committee include Hon Chris Usulor, Luke Nkweagu, Onu Nwaonye  and the chief Whip, Hon Chike Oguji.

The committee was mandated to investigate the allegations against the three government officials thoroughly, get first-hand information from the petitioners, hear from the accused functionaries and then report back to the House on November 15, 2018 for further actions.

Meanwhile, the House received some letters from Governor David Umahi for the approval of some funds for the smooth running of state affairs.

The lawmakers approved the total sum of  five hundred million, eight hundred thousand naira for the Christian Association of Nigeria and Religious Ministers Agricultural Empowerment Grant and two billion seven hundred and seventy million ninety eight thousand naira for 2018 Christmas celebrations .

More so, they gave a nod for the distribution of the total of seven billion six hundred and sixty two million naira as the third batch of Paris London club excess refund.

The House also consented to the implementation of resolutions of the 13 local government chairmen to assist in renovation of buildings at the state’s National Youth Service Corps Orientation Camp, Afikpo, to the tune of two hundred and sixteen million naira.


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