Posted by Amechi Obiakpu, Lagos | 27 February 2015 | 3,957 times
Integrity Youth Alliance (IYA), an umbrella body of youth groups fighting against corruption and injustice, has condemned the inferno that engulfed the Accounts Section of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly and selected offices of the complex, Tuesday night. It said the fire was politically motivated and called on the security agencies to urgently arrest and prosecute those behind the fire.
Apart from the Accounts Section of the Assembly which was the worst hit, the other sections affected by the mystery fire were the Office of the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Blaise Oji, and the Office of the embattled Leader of the House, Hon. Sam Nwali.
IYA in a statement signed by its National Coordinator Kelvin Adegbenga and Publicity Secretary Udenta Chukwuma said the fire was targeted sat some lawmakers in the State Assembly who recently defected to the opposition party.
The statement reads: “Interestingly, these are offices belonging to members of the Assembly who recently defected to the Labour Party following the crisis that trailed the primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last year.
“To many dispassionate observers, the burning of the Accounts Department of the Assembly is particularly worrisome following the long running allegations of financial improprieties leveled against the Speaker Hon Chukwuma Nwazunku and some floor functionaries of the house for which the Speaker has survived two impeachment attempts by his colleagues.
“It will be recalled that in July 2014, Governor Martin Elechi intervened to save the Speaker who had already been replaced by his colleagues with another member Hon. Helen Nwobashi and in November, the Speaker was saved by an Abakaliki High Court presided over by Justice Anselm Nwigwe which ruled his impeachment unprocedural.
“On the heels of the Speaker’s declaration of the seats of four members of the house vacant, last week, for defecting from the PDP to the Labour Party, the aggrieved members fired several petitions to the EFCC and ICPC to investigate the alleged embezzlement of the Assembly funds. Coming at a time when the anti graft agencies are expected to commence investigations into the finances of the Assembly, the Integrity Youth Alliance sees the burning of the House as an attempt to frustrate any meaningful probe.”
IYA asked: “Apart from the Account Section, why is it that only the offices of the members who defected to the Labour Party were affected by the fire while the Assembly Chamber, the Speakers office and others were not affected?”
“The fire,” according to the group, “had been carefully staged to coincide with the alleged impeachment moves against Governor Martin Elechi to give the impression that the Governor’s sympathisers were behind the fire incident thereby diverting attention from the real motives of the perpetrators.”
IYA said it had raised several notice on the involvement of the Deputy Governor, Engr. Dave Umahi, and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim on how they have concluded plans to impeach Governor Martin Elechi after using the EFCC to freeze the state’s account.
The Offence of the Governor, according to the group, is the disagreement with Senator Anyim Pius Anyim over the moribund Nigercem Cement Company in Ebonyi State. Senator Anyim is alleged to be sponsoring Ibeto Group to take over Nigercem Cement Company without the proper process while the Deputy Governor, Engr. Umahi, was said to be engaged in a political battle with his principal, Governor Elechi, since the PDP primary election last year.
Governor Elechi supported former Health Minister, Onyebuchi Chukwu, to replace him, but Mr. Umahi defeated Mr. Chukwu reportedly with the support of Sen. Pius Anyim.
•Photo shows Speaker Nwazunku.
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