Ikpeazu Set to Shake up ASEPA

Okezie Victor Ikpeazu

 Ugo Aliogo

There is imminent Shake-up in the Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA) as Governor Okezie Ikpeazu appears set to overhaul the organisation in the coming days, THISDAY has learnt

On the balance is the fate of Mr. Victor Apugo, the General Manager (GM) of ASEPA, whose job appears to be on the chopping block.

An insider who spoke with THISDAY on condition of anonymity said “Apugo, who succeeded his elder brother, Hon. Martins Apugo as the GM of the Abia State’s waste management agency, is said to have become a monumental failure, in the discharge of his duties despite receiving monthly subventions from government.

“Apugo‘s inability to manage waste disposal in Umuahia, the Abia State Capital, and its environs, provoked a summon by the members of Abia State House of Assembly, who wanted to know from him reasons why the state capital is overtaken by heaps of refuse.

“Rather than honouring the House summon, Apugo allegedly issued a statement through his media assistant, Ibe Vincent Ogbonnaya, accusing the state government of starving his agency of funds. He went further to state amounts given to his predecessors in office as compared to what he was getting monthly.”

The statement revealed the amount the state government allegedly released to the former GMs of the organisation.

But in swift reactions, the two former GMs of ASEPA, Hon. Cosmos Ndukwe and Hon. Marthins Apugo refuted the claims by the current ASEPA boss.

In his reaction, the immediate past ASEPA boss, Marthins Apugo, described his younger brother’s claims as false.

Apugo, the former ASEPA boss who was also the  All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate for the House of Representatives for Ikwuano/Umuahia Federal Constituency in the 2019 elections, in a statement personally signed by him, said he was receiving N22million monthly and not N70 million as claimed by his brother.

“After ASEPA Aba zone was carved out I was receiving N22 million monthly for waste management in Umuahia and not N66 million or N70 million from the administration of former Governor TA Orji, and also the period I served under the administration of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.”

Also, another former GM of ASEPA and the immediate past Deputy Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Hon. Cosmos Ndukwe also denied the claims made by the current ASEPA boss.

Ndukwe in a statement he issued at the weekend queried: “How much was Abia State allocation between 2007 and 2012 and the Budget of Ministry of Environment, our parent ministry, that one single Agency of Government will receive N200 million in one single month?

“The highest subvention I received  as ASEPA GM for the seven years I spent as General Manager was no more than N6.5 million (Umuahia) and N13.5 million (Aba) for a single month totaling 20 million.

“Note that there were shortfalls in some months and that is understandable given the way government functions. Yet I managed to keep Umuahia, with two township markets, clean for seven years with N6.5million.

“I will appreciate if the present GM and his irritating media aides will revisit official records to ascertain if the 35 compactor trucks, one low bed, three bulldozers, staff welfare buses, task force buses, Tippers and Light weight baskets I handed over to my successor, Martin Apugo, is still within reach and stop  exposing others to public opprobrium.”

Political observers in the state believe that it is only a matter of days before Governor Ikpeazu will overhaul the organisation as political stakeholders and commentators in the state appear united in demanding the immediate reorganisation of the agency.

A former senior government official who spoke under condition of anonymity said that since his appointment as GM of ASEPA Apugo has shown lackadaisical attitude to the task of cleaning up the city.

According to the source, since the issues around  non- performance of Apugo is within public domain, Governor Ikpeazu, who was himself former Deputy General Manager of ASEPA in Aba, may have resolved to sack him.

“There has been pressure before now on the governor to sack him. But the governor who has been making excuses for him, thinking he would change, has made up his mind to sack him.”