SBy Wilson Adekumola
The Benue House of Assembly has approved the suspension of all 23 local government chairmen in the state over mismanagement of fund.
The News Agency of Nigeria reported that their suspension was announced on Wednesday after the decision was arrived at during plenary following a letter from Gov Hyacinth Alia, dated June 14, 2023, requesting the house to probe the incomes and expenditures of the 23 Local Government chairmen of the state.
According to the the letter, the Governor told the house that he had received a report on the incomes and expenditures of the LG chairmen from February to April 2023, as submitted by themselves, and wished the house to investigate it for necessary recommendations.
NAN reported that the Speaker of the House, Hyacinth Dajoh, therefore, set up an Adhoc Committee on June 20, 2023, consists of Peter Ipusu,Katsina-Ala West, APC, as the chairman, Manger Manger, Tarka, APC, and Cyril Ikong,Oju II, APC, as members, to investigate the matter.
While reporting back to the house within the time frame as directed, the committed was worried over the outright disregard of procedure and the insensitive mismanagement of local government funds by the chairmen during the period under review.
The committee told the House that there was a need for thorough investigation of the operations of the local government beyond the period under review and to cover June 2015 to May 2023.
The committee then subsequently recommended the immediate suspension of the chairmen of all 23 local government councils and also the legislative councils for conspiring with the executive council to mismanage public funds put in their trust.
After contributions from members in favour of the report, the House unanimously agreed to suspend the chairmen in order to enable it to do the investigation without any interference.
The Speaker directed the chairmen to hand over the affairs of their local government councils and all government properties in their possession, including official vehicles, to Directors-General of Services and Administration with immediate effect and proceed on suspension, pending the completion of an investigation into their account books and other related matters.
The Speaker also directed that the governor should set up caretaker committees in compliance with the Benue Local Government Law.
He also requested the Commissioner of Police to ensure a seamless takeover at the various local government council headquarters without any friction.