LG Boss Cries Out as Abia Assembly Moves to Instigate Removal

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Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia

The chairman of Umuahia North local government of Abia state, Chief Chidiebere Nwachukwu has cried out over the move by the Abia State House of Assembly to instigate Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to remove him from office

He raised the alarm following a resolution by the lawmakers asking the state governor to suspend him from office over alleged misconduct, saying that he has done no wrong to warrant the onslaught by the lawmakers.

The embattled council boss told journalists in Umuahia that the members of the state legislature were not acting in good faith by treating him as if he was a transition committee council chairman.

Nwachukwu faulted the lawmakers for usurping the functions and powers of the Umuahia North Legislative Council by asking Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to suspend him after receiving a petition against him.

In the House resolution passed on Wednesday the lawmakers had urged the governor to suspend the council boss for a month pending the investigation of the petition but Governor Ikpeazu was yet to act on the resolution, raising fears he may be heading for a showdown with the state lawmakers.

The lawmakers descended on the council boss following a petition date February, 13 2018, written by one Joseph Okoronkwo alleging “gross misconduct and misappropriation of government fund” against Nwachukwu.

In the seven point petition the council chairman was accused of using council fund to the tune of N6 million for the burial of his uncle last Saturday, as well as being “in the constant habit of shooting cannon/guns and nursing the ambition of going to the House of Representatives.

But the embattled council chairman told journalists at his Ohuhu country home yesterday that the house of Assembly acted in error by asking for his suspension by the state governor, noting that “they didn’t give me fair hearing”.

He vehemently denied using council fund for the burial of his uncle, Ambassador Ngamegbulem Nwachukwu, saying that between January and the date of the burial the local government did not have up to N2 million in its account.

Nwachukwu, who was inaugurated into office alongside 16 other elected chairmen in January 2017, explained that the finance and general purpose committee had actually approved the sum of N6 million for him to use for the burial.

However he said he had rejected the offer and instead asked them to cut it to N1 million due to the poor financial status of the council, adding that he has not even collected the money.

The council boss said the funds he used for the burial of his uncle was sourced from friends and well wishers hence he could not have spent council funds for burial ceremony when there was not even enough money to meet its financial obligations.

He argued that if he had erred in any way it was the responsibility of the legislative council to discipline him with the House of Assembly merely ratifying the decision of the councilors. The Umuahia North council boss pointed out that the House committee on local government and chieftaincy affairs had acted suspiciously by inviting him to appear before them on February 9, 2018 based on a petition dated February 13, 2018.

Nwachukwu therefore urged the state legislature to direct the said petitioner to take his petition to the appropriate authority – the legislative council of Umuahia North local government – for necessary action.