Governor Rochas Okorocha
Tobi Soniyiâ€¨in Abujaâ€¨
Ousted chairmen of the 27 Local Government Areas of Imo State under the aegis of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) yesterday in Abuja demanded an investigation into the alleged misappropriation of the N 13.5 billion bond proceeds purportedly handed over to Governor Rochas Okorocha by the state’s former governor, Ikedi Ohakim.
The chairmen who have petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) also called on the Attorney-General of the Federation, Inspector-General of Police and other security agencies to immediately disarm and disband Imo Security Network, a private armed gang which they accused Okorocha of using to terrorise law abiding people of the state.
Addressing the press after submitting their petitions to the anti-graft agencies, the secretary of the group, Enyinnaya Onuegbu accused Okorocha of fleecing the local government funds.
According to him, since June 2011, the Joint Accounts Committee in Imo State has not functioned and all statutory allocations due to the local governments totalling over N80 billion has allegedly been misappropriated.
He said: “Okorocha has also used the allocations due to local governments in the state as a collateral to borrow over N45 billion from Zenith Bank and another N28 billon from Diamond. These borrowings are clearly illegal.
“State governments are not allowed to borrow more than 50 per cent of their previous year’s allocation. Here again Okorocha is showing contempt to rule of law. By his own admission, he has committed Imo State to contractual obligations worth over N400 billion. Yet there are no documents for these contracts.”
Onuegbu also accused Okorocha’s of destroying democratic institutions in the state.
He said: “In his maiden broadcast to the people of Imo State on Monday June 6, 2011, Okorocha unlawfully dissolved the 27 democratically elected local government councils in Imo State, the Development Areas as well as tenured commissions, including the Judicial Service Commission.
“As law abiding citizens, we the democratically-elected 27 local government Chairmen, took the unlawful dissolution of the local governments to court. In a rather curious judgment, the Chief Judge of Imo state, Hon. Justice B.A. Njemanze ruled that the Governor had no powers under the constitution to sack a democratically-elected tier of government. The Chief Judge however, refused to order our return to our offices claiming that there was no evidence before him that the local governments were dissolved this not withstanding the governor’s widely publicized broadcast.”
Onuegbu said they went on appeal and the Court of Appeal Owerri Division in a unanimous judgment delivered on July 5, 2012 reaffirmed that the governor had no competence or powers to set up a transition committee to replace elected Chairmen of the 27 Councils in the state.
“But since the judgment, Okorocha has continued to disobey the decision. He deployed every subterfuge under his belt to frustrate various rulings of the court against him, ridicule the judiciary and cripple the operations of local governments in the state. Since July he sent away on compulsory leave all the senior staff in the local governments so that we cannot function,” he added.
Onuegbu described the Okorocha’s administration much-touted free education at all levels in the state as a facade pointing out that.
According to him one of the greatest scams visited on Imo people and a grand deception foisted on Nigerians is Okorocha’s free education at all levels.
He said: “He said that he reduced the fees at Imo State University (IMSU) to N49,000 per session, that is a lie, as what he did was increase it from N30,000 which was what it was to N49,0000 claiming that he reduced it from N150,000. We all know that under the Universal Basic Education of the Federal Government, education became free and compulsory up to JSS3. Where then is the Okorocha’s free education?”
Iroegbu who is also the embattled Chairman of Ngo-Okpalla Local government further accused Okorocha of selling off all the equipment bought by the Ohakim administration for the Imo Roads Maintenance Agency (IROMA).
He said: “IROMA which was established by law acquired assets worth over N12 billion for the LGS for the maintenance of roads and other facilities. Each of the 27 LGs had a brand new grader, an excavator, a tipper, a hilux operational vehicle 100 motorcycles and other working tools.
“Today as we speak none of these assets can be traced in Imo state, they have fallen into the notorious assets stripping going on in Imo under Okorocha.
“In the meantime he indulges in window dressing on major high ways where people can see them while in other places out of public view, several roads in the state, including the capital Owerri, have become impassable gullies. Okorocha has deceived Imo people and Nigerians in general by making it appears as if massive road construction projects are going on in Imo state. He invited naive and gullible contractors to start roads construction and street gates without design, advertising the jobs, proper bidding process or contract agreement.”