From Ado Abubakar, Musa, Jos
The Plateau state House of Assembly went into a rowdy session yesterday over an alleged missing N70 billion Subsidy Re-Investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE–P) funds.
The rowdy session ensued in the Assembly following a sharp disagreement among the lawmakers over whether or not they should deliberate a petition alleging that the said N70 billion SURE-P funds were missing.
Prior to yesterday’s sitting, a group called Plateau Patriotic Forum had petitioned the Assembly, accusing the Speaker of the Plateau House of Assembly, Titus Alams, and other members of being compromised by the state governor, Jonah David Jang.
However, after hours of deliberations of the Assembly yesterday, Speaker Alams said: “We are all aware that there was a document sent to the House by a group known as Plateau Patriotic Forum, and I hope all members have copies and what do you have to say.”
Responding however, a former Speaker of the House who was recently impeached, IstifanusMwansat, called on the speaker to let the Clerk of the House present the petition before every member of the Assembly.
In the petition, the group alleged that: “Year in year out, budgets are rubber-stamped by members without bothering whether the interests of their constituencies are taken care of or not.
“And further, you look the other way while the state is being systematically milked dry through highly inflated contracts.
“It is further alleged that N50 billion SURE-P funds accrued to the state were misappropriated by Governor Jang and had failed to remit the sum of N20 billion to the 17 local government councils of the state”, the forum said, and urged the Assembly to reopen investigation into the matter.
“He (Jang) has denied these LGCs of much needed funds to provide essential services to their impoverished people.
“Yet the house under your leadership is not bothered that the activities of that tier of government, which could have impacted positively on your people, has been emasculated. How can you remain so disinterested?”, the group queried.
The Plateau Patriotic Forum also frowned at the what it described as “illegal collection of loans from First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Ecobank Plc and FCMB” by the state government, decrying further that: “And your members have remained characteristically quiet over the N30 billion without any resolutions and authorization from the House, which contravenes Section 120 of the Constitution”.