Tells Ikpeazu to use funds for LG poll to clear salary arrears
Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Foundation for Environmental Rights Advocacy and Development (FENRAD), has demanded investigation into the alleged mass looting of Government property going on in Abia State.
The pro-democracy and environmental rights advocacy group in a statement issued Tuesday by its Executive Director, Comrade Nelson Nwafor, expressed concern over the apparent silence of the State Government over such grievous allegation.
“FENRAD is worried that allegation of looting of public properties in public institutions days to go in the life of the current administration is making the rounds.
“Allegations keep coming from all quarters even the grapevine, that in state-owned institutions like School of Health Technology, Aba; Abia Nursing School, Amachara; Abia State Government House; and elsewhere, equipment and facilities, including vehicles, bought with taxpayers’ money are allegedly being moved by workers and some other unnamed persons.
“This is a sad development that must not be allowed to stand. Any individual or group that loots assets acquired with state fund must be made to face the law; no two ways about that.”
It called on Government not to sweep the allegations under the carpet, insisting that those behind the criminal act should be made to face the law.
FENRAD also supported the position of Abia Elders Consultative Forum that the out-going administration of Gov Okezie Ikpeazu should not push ahead with the proposed May 19 Local Government Council poll, arguing that the time is too brief for an outgoing Government to hold a credible election.
The rights advocacy group advised the Governor to rather use the funds meant for the election and defray backlog of salary arrears of Abia workers and pensioners.
“May 29 is two weeks away, and the team of the Governor-elect Dr. Alex Otti still cries out that the outgoing government has not availed it with any handover notes or briefs that will allow Governor-Elect Dr. Alex Otti, to hit the ground running when finally he assumes office.
“More horrible is the news about a would-be local government election to be conducted by the state electoral commission, ABSIEC. This is not being done in the interest of Ndị Abia.
“While FENRAD supports grassroots government and has remained steadfastly committed to the autonomy of all tiers of government, which guarantees fiscal federalism, the Foundation wonders why the state government did not allow the election to hold before this time.
“In less than one year, especially during the general elections, appointments had been made at the seventeen (17) LGAs in the state. FENRAD understands there is a court injunction restricting the said election. The Foundation calls on all parties to maintain status quo ante and not to resort to court disobedience in any way or manner.”
It further urged Government to quickly resolve its difference with workers to end the current indefinite strike in the state which it noted, posses a threat to the forthcoming transition to a new administration.
The group also called for the resolution of the impasse between Government and judiciary workers.
FENRAD urged the out-going Gov. Ikpeazu “to look into all the concerns being raised by both political opposition and others and, see what can be done in ameliorating the situation where such concerns are proven as history, the immortal judge of all mankind, beckons.”