George Okoh In Makurdi
Crises continued to engulf the Benue State House of Assembly over allegation of fraud totaling N750million against top members of the assembly.
The members including the leadership of the assembly were petitioned by an anonymous petitioner to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) in a car purchase deal that went sour.
Following the petition, the EFCC clamped down on the assembly members, detaining the Speaker and his deputy along with 14 other members of the assembly.
A source in the Assembly confirmed the arrest saying, “as I speak to you now, a bail application for these officers are been processed,” adding that the people were detained since Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a pressure group in the State known as Concerned Benue Youth for Good Governance has called for the resignation of the principal officers.
The group led by John Ashaver in a press statement he personally signed, noted that the officers lack moral to lead the Assembly.
“It is unfortunate that in just one year, the house is enmeshed in monumental corruption. All the principal officers should resign. The house sinks”, Ashaver lamented.
In a related development, the Benue State Governor Dr. Samuel Ortom has lauded the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for arresting and investigating the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr. Terkimbir Ikyange, and three principal officers of the assembly.
The governor said his government would never shield anybody, who is found to be corrupt or wanting.
He said, “Yes, it (the arrest of the lawmakers) is a good thing, it is part of the process. They are under investigation by the EFCC.
“From day one, I brought up a slogan that ‘if you chop money, money will chop you’. We have to be careful and I have sent signals to all that nobody is above the law.
“As far as I am concerned, my government will not shield anybody who is corrupt and who is found wanting. Myself as governor and every other lieutenants are open to scrutiny; there is Freedom of Information Bill and people are allowed to get information from these sources.”