A rights group, Ebonyi Advocacy for Human Rights Initiative (EAHRI), has advised the founder of Adoration Ministry, Enugu Nigeria (AMEN), Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka, to return a sum of M30 million and other gift items allegedly given to him by the governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi.
Mbaka was, a fierce critic of President Buhari, was rumoured to have been given the said amount by Umahi who attended his religious programme at the weekend.
Reacting to the development, EAHRI, in a statement by its convener, Chief Abia Onyike, said after critically reviewing the circumstances surrounding the said gift, it thought it wise to advise the Catholic priest against accepting it, if true, given that, according to it, Ebonyi retired civil servants are still being owed.
The group said it is “opposed to the handing out of such a staggering sum of N30 million trailer loads of rice and yams by Gov. Umahi to the Adoration Ministry, in Enugu at a time when the state Government was owing Ebonyi retired civil servants their hard earned and legitimate gratuities since 2015 when Umahi came into office as Governor of the state.
“We consider Umahi’s gestures as hypocritical and sycophantic as the Governor was fond of giving out Ebonyi public funds to Nigerian VIPs and outsiders even as the citizens of the state languish in abject poverty, starvation and penury.
“Fr. Mbaka should return the money to Gov. Umahi and advice him to stop living a pretentious life as ‘Charity should always begin at home'”
The group accused Umahi government of imposing “slavish salary table on Ebonyi workers in 2015 and has been paying half salaries to workers while Gov. Umahi and his family members live in opulence and ostentatious display of affluence. This has resulted to greater poverty amongst Ebonyi youths who have reappeared in all major roads in Nigeria where they sell wares during gridlocks in the cities.”
According to it, “Gov. Umahi’s continuous regime of impunity and his wicked policies have created instalmental deaths amongst civil servants and retirees who live in perpetual agony and regularly give up the ghost since he became Governor six years ago.
“Gov. Umahi must be compelled to stop his culture of sharing public funds to all kinds of people in Nigeria including distributing lorry loads of rice. Recall that a lorry loads of rice sent by the Governor mistakenly found its way into the premises of Berekete Radio Station in Abuja in 2020 and efforts by the Governor’s aides to recover and retrieve the rice proved abortive.”