By Peter Duru
MAKURDI â€” TheÂ Benue State House of Assembly yesterday suspended from office,12 local government council chairmen in the state for alleged fraud.
The suspended local government council chairmen and those who escaped the hammer of the Assembly were also directed to refund various sums of money totalling over N150 million.
In an address to mark the end of the legislative session the Speaker of the Assembly, Mr. Tersser Tsumba noted that the House recorded a milestone when three adhoc committees set up by House to investigate the utilization of the excess crude funds allocated to the councils turned in mind boggling revelations as to the level of corruption and fraud perpetrated at the third tier of government by council chairmen and key functionaries at the level of governance.
Tsumba said, â€œThese committees unearthed mind boggling fraud and pillage of our local governments by most local government chairmen and key functionariesâ€.
â€œThe Assembly has strongly resolved that all the local government chairmen found wanting in the utilization of the excess crude funds should refund same to government; as you may wish to recall that Governor Gabriel Suswam had directed all the local governments to dedicate these funds to capital projects in their respective local councils hence anything to the contrary will definitely not be treated with kid glovesâ€, he said.
The Speaker further disclosed that the House in the year under review raised ten adhoc committees with three others set up before their sitting was yet to complete their assignments while three had already completed their task and submitted their report.
He stressed that two of such reports have been conclusively debated adding that ten of the adhoc committees were yet to submit their reports to the House.
Tsumba informed further that the House received four petitions during its sitting while about 21 others were inherited from previous sittings adding that four of the petitions have been investigated but were yet to be reported to the House.
He explained that in the period under review the House passed four bills while six were still being processed.