Akwa Ibom Assembly suspends two Council Chairmen indefinitely over gross misconduct
The House directed their respective Vice Chairmen, Mr. Idorenyin Effiong Inyang, and Ukai Udeme Emmanuel to take over immediately pending the conclusion of investigations on the allegations.
The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey, read the resolution after taking reports from Chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Public Petitions; Hon. Victor Ekwere, and that of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affair, Rt. Hon. Mark Esset.
The Speaker said the House resolution was based on Section 81 (1) of the Local Government Administration Law (2017) as amended, which provides that “Where the peaceful functioning of the Local Government or its Council is hindered by a protracted crisis, the House of Assembly may, by a resolution passed by a simple majority of all its members, impose such restrictive measures in the Local Government Area or its Council as the House of Assembly may deem fit.”
According to the report, the Uyo Council Chairman, Elder Imo Okon was accused of not complying with the Governor’s directives on the welfare of council officers and failing to appear before the House Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy on invitation.
Also, the mismanagement of finances and administration of Uyo LG Councils was part of the allegation against the Uyo Chairman.
The report against Nsit Atai Local Government Chairman, Lady Emem Ibanga was on the grounds of inefficient disbursement of funds appropriated by the house and non-release of the official vehicle to the Council’s Vice Chairman, as emphasized by the House Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
The report further alleged the non-disbursement of official benefits to the Vice-Chairman and pending police case, which has caused a rift between the Chairman and Councillors, as a reason for her suspension.
“The Local Government Committee of the House received several petitions about the Chairman involving a defamatory publication on the platform of ‘Deaf Pen’ which was termed gross misconduct and unbecoming of a public officer,” the report stated.
Addressing Assembly correspondents shortly after the plenary, Chairman of the House Committee on Information, Barrister Aniefiok Dennis, also backed the House resolution with Section 12, Sub-One (a) of the Local Government Administration Law, which “gives the House of Assembly the power to direct inquiries or investigation to any matter or thing with respect to which it has the power to make laws.”
The House, however, empowered the House Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, and an Ad-Hoc Committee to look into the allegations and report back to the House within one month.