By Simon Ebegbulem
BENINâ€”Edo State House of Assembly yesterday declared the suspension of the chairman of Oredo local government council, Mr. Mike Ehima, by Governor Adams Oshiomhole as illegal, null and void.
This comes as hundreds of youths from Ovia North East local government area stormed the House of Assembly protesting alleged mismanagement of N2.5 billion by the council chairman, Faustine Ovienrioba.
It would be recalled that the governor suspended the council boss after he was accused of misappropriation of council fund and none payment of salaries of staff of the council for three months.
The vice-chairman was mandated to act on his behalf, while a committee was set up to look into allegations of misappropriation of funds levelled against Mr. Ehima.
But the House in a resolution passed yesterday said due process was not followed in the suspension of the council boss by the governor, saying the governor acted contrary to his earlier letter to the House, where he proposed for the suspension of Ehima, but went aheadwith the action without allowing the House to deliberate on the matter.
Speaker of the House, Zakawanu Garuba, while presiding at the proceeding, said â€œthe governor appeared to have been on the right track when he wrote the House but at what point did the deviation now came in or is there any other law that says that letter was not needed, that he didnâ€™t need the House?
â€œFrom the way he wrote, he was quite conscious that the House had a roleâ€¦ honestly I do not know where this confusion came in, I will refuse to believe that it is the attitude of, I will do it let the person go to courtâ€.
In a consequential motion moved by Kingsley Ehigiamusoe representing Igueben constituency, he said the letter sent by the governor to the House in July, before the House went on recess, was a proposal, but wondered why the governor went ahead to suspend the council boss without compliance with the provisions of Section 20 (1b) of the Local Government Amendment law of 2006 and without waiting for the House to deliberate on the letter which had been penciled for discussion on return from the recess.
Speaker Garuba asserted:Â Â â€œI quite understood the predicament of all of us, we are all committed to good governance, the parliament will not encourage corruption, we will not encourage waste in the management of resources, but we are saying let it be done properly because nobody knows who will be there tomorrow.
â€œThe request of the governor dated July 3, 2009, and received on July 27, 2009, proposing to suspend Dr Mike Nosa Ehima, as chairman of Oredo local government was refused by that consequential motion.
â€œIt, therefore, means that the governor does not have the authority of the House to proceed. Secondly, that the suspension already carried out is hereby declared illegal, null and void, and thirdly, that the acting chairman, one Mr Gbajumo, is illegally occupying the office of the chairman and accordingly all expenditure incurred by him are hereby declared illegal and that the Auditor General should make appropriate recommendation to this House on refund of such funds, that all banking transactions except payment of salaries are hereby stopped until the proper chairman resumes his workâ€.
Meanwhile hundreds of youths stormed the State House of Assembly yesterday, protesting what they described as alleged mismanagement of council funds by the chairman of Ovia North East local government council, Faunstine Ovienrioba.
They alleged that over N2.5 billion, including revenue from excess crude fund was mismanaged by the council boss and urged the State House of Assembly to investigate the matter properly.