Ikpeazu enraged as DSS operative butchers former Abia deputy speaker
Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia State governor


Foundation for Environmental Rights Advocacy and Development (FENRAD), an anti corruption group, has raised concerns about what it called ‘high level of corruption’ in Abia State and asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate officials of the state government.

The group which raised the concern in a statement by its Head Legal Team, Olusegun Bamgbose, said the intervention became necessary after sighting a media publication in an online news report dated September 3, 2020, by Afnews which obtained documents of suit filed by Ken Nwankwo and Associates, Solicitors and Advocates of the Supreme Court of Nigeria for their client, Hon. Obinna Ichita, member Abia House of Assembly, (Aba South constituency) against Mr. Obinna Oriaku, former Abia State Commissioner for Finance, for making allegations of financial impropriety against the House of Assembly and its members.

In the said publication, Oriaku alleged that the state House of Assembly members receive each N3million to pass state appropriation annually, while also receiving between N9 million N10 million each monthly as against the standard in Ebonyi where members receive each N1million as take-home salary.

He also alleged that the state Assembly is run with N140 million overhead cost on monthly bases as against Enugu state Assembly which receives N36 million within the stipulated time.

“Even today, the ex-Commissioner had, as seen in media reports, urged those who have and hold contrary claim(s) to join him in the said zoom programme for debate. While this is interesting, FENRAD sees it as unfortunately alarming,” the statement said.

“An allegation like this should not be taken lightly until every detail of it is investigated and true reports or findings made.

“FENRAD believes that democracy does not thrive in an environment where claims of accountability and otherwise are not inquired into and the truth ascertained on the basis of merit.”

The group further cited a blog post by ProfJays Blog on September 3 where a group known as Abia North Stakeholders Assembly in a rejoinder to Oriaku, alleged that the accuser is also guilty of what he accuses the state legislature of and since his own hands are not clean he should not come to equity.

The Abia North Assembly had in the said post, argued that while Oriaku was Commissioner in charge of the state’s treasury, he remained silent only to come up with his claims after he was relieved of his duty.

The Abia group had further alleged that Oriaku was only a banker, but after a four year stint as a Commissioner, between 2015 and 2019, erected mansions in his Isialangwa home worth N500 million and then another duplex in Enugu said to be worth about N700 million, all being achieved while he served as state Commissioner for finance.”

FENRAD said in view of the allegations and counter allegations, it had become necessary for an external body to come in a ascertain the true state of things.

“While FENRAD does not know if evaluators had costed his properties or whether same exist, accountability demands that Obinna Oriaku be summoned before the anti-graft agency to throw more light to his claims while establishing, along that line, his innocence,” it said.

“Equally should the finances and financing of the state house be looked into. This becomes the more necessary given the position and place of the state in line with governance.

“Recently, two former governors of the state and now serving senators were guests to the commission answering questions on allegations of corruption. FENRAD believes that the best in the interest of democracy is for a thorough investigation to be carried out by commission created by law to ensure that public officials do not go against the financial regulatory frameworks.

“FENRAD is alarmed and demands justice bearing in mind that funds such as are claimed to have been diverted could be put into proper use like massive infrastructure, education, agriculture and payment of salaries, remunerations, pensions and perquisites of workers both active and retired.

“Again, financial discipline, prudence and accountability demands that no stone is left unturned in a matter as serious as this. This is why FENRAD calls for thorough investigation into this weighty claims and counterclaims on financial misappropriation on the part of the custodians of the state’s commonwealth and legislatures who are saddled with the constitutional roles of checking and checkmating the executive’s excess.”

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