Graft allegation tears Benue LG apart

From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi

Apa local government legislative council in Benue State is in disarray following allegation of graft involving the chairman, Maxwell Owoicho Oyi.

The chairman however denied that the crisis rocking the council had anything to do with him insisting that a trip embarked by one of the councillors caused it.

Already, four councillors in the council had been suspended. These include the deputy leader of the council, Emmanuel Ochekwu, Benedict Adah Sunday, Deputy Whip, Adoche Sunday Olotu and Cephas Okwori.

Some of the embattled councilors who spoke with newsmen in Makurdi at the weekend described their purported suspension as ‘unconstitutional’, ‘null and void’, noting that it failed to follow the standing order of the  council.

 Okwori who said his suspension was indefinite, lamented that he and his colleagues were being victimized and labeled as ‘rebels’ because of their insistence on tasking the local government chairman to be accountable by briefing the Council on the records of income and expenditures on a monthly basis.

Okwori, a pastor and the Bishop overseeing the Agape Family Fellowship International in the United States of America, described the process of their suspension, including the notice of meeting which led to his suspension and that of others as flawed.

He claimed not to have received the notice of suspension and referred to Order 51 of the Standing Order of Apa Legislative Council which states succinctly that “any councilor unable to attend the sitting of the legislative council shall inform the Leader as early as possible of his inability to attend,” stating that he duly informed the Leader of his trip to the US.

Also reacting, the deputy leader frowned at the development and said, “after suspending me, they said they have reconstituted the exco with a new person to replace me and the standing rule does not support that action.”

He threatened that he and the other suspended councillors will consider legal action if the decision of the legislative council is not reversed.

When contacted on phone, the leader of the House, Caleb Musa blatantly refused to comment on the issue.

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