Suspension Of Benue Council Chairmen In Line With Nigerian Constitution- Speaker

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From Lateef Taiwo

Speaker Benue State House of Assembly Mr Hyacinth Dajo has advised suspended chairmen of Local Government Areas in Benue State to rather cooperate with the ad-hoc committee set up by the State House of Assembly to investigate them by appearing to clarify allegations levelled against them to further prove their innocence if they actually have nothing to hide rather than playing to the gallery by holding press conferences, when they know that if not found culpable, they would be reinstated at the end of investigations.
The Benue speaker Mr Dajo who gave the advice in Makurdi, while reacting to a press conference recently addressed by the suspended chairmen who were quoted to have refused to comply with the order of the Assembly by vacating their offices to pave way for investigation in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary Mr Raphael Akume, described their action as ill informed and gross display of high level ignorance of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as other extant laws of the land.
He further explained that the approval of their suspension followed due process after the house considered a report on income and expenditure of all the Local Government Council’s forwarded to it by governor Hyacinth Alia to investigate them which he argued was in line with section 128 sub. Sec. 1&2 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
The Benue Speaker equally clarified that the State Assembly approved suspension of the 23 Local Government Chairmen in the state following allegations of misappropriation of public funds and open disregard to relevant financial laws.
He also alleged that the suspended Chairmen did not follow financial memorandum or instructions in handling funds under their responsibility, stressing that their flagrant abuse of office prompted the need for them to pave the way for smooth and hitch free investigation into their financial records.
Mr Dajo who explained that the Local Government establishment laws also empowered the House of Assembly to make recommendations to the governor for the suspension of Local Government Council Chairmen in case of misappropriation of public funds or gross abuse of office said the suspended Chairmen ought to have equally known that section 7 of the Constitution granted the State House of Assembly powers to make laws for the structure, composition, function and financing of the local government, arguing that it was on the strength of the above that the Benue Local Government Establishment Law was passed by the the Assembly.

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