Tuesday, October 15, 2019 8:03 pm
Nine out of the 11 Councillors in Esan North-East local government area of Edo State, have threatened to impeach the Chairman of the Council, Hon. Augustine Okoibhole.
They served the notice in a petition sent to the State Governor, Godwin Obaseki.
They accused the Council Chairman of financial recklessness and that he operates multiple accounts in the name of the Council, as against a single account policy of the State and Federal Governments.
They further alleged that the Chairman of involvement in corrupt practices to enrich himself at the detriment of the welfare of the people of the local government area, abuse of office and disregard to the traditional institution of the area.
Mrs. Christina Iluobe, the Counselor for Ward 7, who spoke on behalf of other aggrievedCouncillors, alleged that Okoibhole could not account for a N13,348,000 remited to the account of the Council by the revenue verification committee.
She further alleged that the sum of N144,000,000 realised as Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), for the past 16 months has not been accounted for.
The sum of N116,350,894, being Paris Club refund,was also said to have gone unaccounted for by the Chairman.
The Councillors therefore requested that the Chairman steps down to make way for “effective investigation of about N313, 698, 894.34 and abuse of office, leveled against him.
But reacting to the allegations, the embattled Council Chairman, Augustine Okoibhole, denied all the allegations, saying he has run the Council in line with procedures.
He said: “The new NFIU (Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit), directive gives us room to operate three accounts and that is what we are doing, we are operating three accounts.”
On not being able account for IGR, Okoibhole said: “We have been paying salaries, we are not owing workers’ salaries, I have done many projects, I have build a livestock market, I have done drainages.
“All these monies did not come from my personal pocket, what we have done is even far more than N144 million naira. My wage bill on monthly base is over N30 million and for the last 25 months, I have paid salaries, I have paid debts that we are owing on rented properties and several other spendings,” he siad.
Commenting on the Paris Club refund, Okoibhole said he acted as directed by the State Governor to pay salary arrears.
He added that “we were owing eight months and now we are owing only two and half months, which means I have paid five and a half months.”
The Chairman said the only misunderstanding he has had with the traditional institution, as alleged, was that he built a new livestock market with abattoir and other facilities and that while the Hausa and marketers from Kogi State have moved into the market, traders from local government refused, on the ground that he was trying to divide the traditional market in Uromi.
If the aggrieved Counsillors successfully carry out their threat, Okoibhole would become the fifth Council Chairman to be suspended in the past few months.
Egor Local Government Council, Ms. Eghe Ogbemudia (Egor), Patrick Aguinede, (Esan West), Yakson Musa (Etsako West) and Aremiyau Momoh (Etsako East), had earlier been suspended for alleged corrupt activities.