Irked by their apparent lateness to an official function, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, yesterday, announced suspension of the October salaries of some of his Commissioners and aides.
Announcing the decision during a school debate on “Government Anti-Corruption Crusade” at the Akanu Ibiam International Conference Center, Abakaliki, the state capital, Umahi said the latecomers would also forfeit their September overheads.
It was gathered that other affected officials include Local Government Caretaker Committee Chairmen, Development Center coordinators, some personal assistants, senior special assistants, special advisers and other government functionaries who were absent at the scheduled time.
Trouble it was learnt started when the Governor Umahi arrived at the venue of the debate, slated to commence at exactly 11.am and met empty seats.
Miffed by the apparent empty seats, after checking the programme schedule to ascertain the time for the programme, the governor ordered the Head of Service, Chamberlin Nwele, to take the list of the government functionaries present at the function.
Meanwhile, there was a drama outside the venue of the event as the state deputy governor, Kelechi Igwe, and the secretary to the state government, Bernard Odoh, who arrived at the venue a few minutes after the governor’s arrival, were also locked out.
The deputy governor and the SSG were later allowed entry into the conference center, having spent more than 15 minutes outside.
Speaking after the debate competition, Mr. Umahi however expressed regret over the increase in exams miracle centres in the state and called for the arrest and prosecution of proprietors of such miracle centres.
He directed that all miracle centres in the state must be closed by the Ministry of Education, adding that such centres also increase corrupt practices in the state.
The Senior Special Adviser to the Governor on Religious and Welfare Matter, Abraham Nwali, in a paper titled, “Anti-Corruption Crusade in Ebonyi State,” said corruption did not only affect the political stability and security of societies, but also undermines principally the democratic institution, socioeconomic development and jeopardizes sustainable development and the rule of law.