*Prison officials bar journalists
*Arraignment stall screening of commissioner nominees
*Assembly says Speaker is indisposed
By Dayo Johnson, AKURE
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arraigned the Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Mr. Bamidele Oleyelogun, in court over alleged financial impropriety.
Oleyelogun is being arraigned alongside the Clerk of the house, Bode Adeyelu, the lawmaker representing Akoko South West I in the House, Felemu Bankole, and two other staff.
Their trial was, however, stalled following the the absence of the EFCC lawyer, Didanj Fredrick.
Frederick said the anti-graft commission did not get the hearing notice until late in the evening of Monday.
N2.4m ‘seminar’ money
Recall that the sacked deputy speaker, Iroju Ogundeji, had alleged that the Speaker and other principal officers collected and shared N2.4 million meant for a seminar in Lagos, which they never attended in 2019.
Ogundeji had petitioned the EFCC, asking the agency to investigate the fund allegedly collected and shared by the Speaker and others for a phoney seminar in Lagos.
The lawmakers requested for funds to be released for four members of the Committee on Tertiary Education to attend the seminar organisered on Wednesday 11 and Thursday 12, December, 2019.
Those penciled down to attend the seminar included the former Clerk, the Deputy Speaker, the Chairman of the House Committee on Tertiary Education and two members of the committee.
Consequently, the EFCC invited the Speaker for questioning over the allegation.
Detained alongside the Speaker are Adeyelu, Bankole, Olusegun Kayode and O. J. Afolabi.
However, the absence of the counsel to the anti-graft agency stalled the trial scheduled to hold at the State High court sitting at the Olokuta Correctional Centre, Akure, the state capital.
The Speaker arrived the court at about 8.30a.m. in a tinted Black Prado Jeep with a pilot vehicle and another gold Kia Jeep with number plate 95 ODHA.
Meanwhile, journalists were not allowed to cover the court proceedings because the court is located inside the Correctional Centre.
The prison officials led by the Squadron Commander, Mr Ibrahim Ayooola Ogunja who turned journalists back said he was acting on an order from Abuja, which placed all correctional centres on red alert to forestall jailbreak.
The Public Relations Officer of the correctional centre, Mr. Ogundare Babatunde also insisted that journalists would be not be allowed into the correctional centre which houses the court.
Meanwhile, the arraignment of the Speaker and others, on Tuesday, stalled the ongoing screening of the states commissioner-nominees.
The Chairman House Committee on Information, Youth and Sports Development, Gbenga Omole, said the exercise was suspended because the Speaker was indisposed.
A statement by Omole said that “the screening of commissioner-nominees by the Ondo State House of Assembly billed to continue today has been rescheduled.
“The exercise which started Monday(yesterday) was suspended because the Chairman House Committee on Selection and the Speaker of the House, Rt Honourable Oleyelogun Bamidele David, is indisposed.
Omole said the exercise will continue tomorrow(Wednesday).