News

June 11, 2024

Otti allegedly suspends Abia commissioner for health

Otti allegedly suspends Abia commissioner for health

By Steve Oko

The Commissioner for Health, Abia State, Dr Ngozi Okoronkwo, has been allegedly suspended by Governor Alex Otti.

She was said to have been suspended over allegations of lack of accountability and financial mismanagement.

According to social media reports, the embattled Commissioner was suspended indefinitely during the State Executive Council meeting on Monday.

A top Government official confirmed to Vanguard that the Governor actually asked the Health Commissioner “to step aside”.

The action of the Governor according to the source which pleaded not to be mentioned, is to give room for the investigation of the Commissioner and her Ministry concerning “barrage of complaints over financial mismanagement and lack of transparency.”

The source said:” There were issues of transparency in the delivery of duties and the Governor felt that some actions are not in tandem with his vision for accountability and transparency. He, then asked her to step aside for audit so that the process of audit will not be affected.

” It’s not as if it’s a death sentence or indictment. It’s just to strengthen the Governor’s resolve to ensure that there is accountability.

The Governor said: “Step aside let’s look through some of the issues raised against you by some people concerning some of your conducts and delivery of your mandate as Commissioner for Health.

” You know we – the Governor and those who work with him – subject ourselves to public scrutiny. People keep sending in messages, and when you see a barrage of these messages coming against one person or Ministry, the best thing to do is to look into the activities of such a person or Ministry. And that’s what the Governor has done.

” Note that the Commissioner for Health has not been indicted for anything. What the Governor said is:”step aside let’s look into your activities. The Governor is committed to transparency and accountability, and he has zero tolerance for corruption”.

Meanwhile, efforts to get a reaction from the embattled Commissioner were unsuccessful as she did not pick calls put across to her.

As at the time of filing this report, she had yet to respond to a text message sent to her phone by our Correspondent.

Her alleged suspension is coming barely 48 hours the Principal of School of Nursing, Abiriba, was also suspended for alleged high-handedness and lack of transparency and accountability.

The Students Union Government had raised a strong petition against the activities of the suspended Principal, urging the State Government to intervene.

Similarly, the former boss of the State Orientation Agency was said to have been suspended over alleged sharp practices.

Gov. Otti, had during the swearing in of the Commissioners, warned that he had zero tolerance for graft, and would not hesitate to wield the big stick should any of his Aides misbehave.

The Ministry of Health  for the first time in the history of Abia State, got 15% of the state’s budget in the 2024 Appropriation Bill.