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Exposed: Billions Of Naira Embezzled In Rivers Councils… As Gov. Amaechi Set to Dissolve LGAs

GOV. CHIBUIKE ROTIMI AMAECHIThe Local Government Administration is indispensable in any nation that operates a Federal system of governance.

The Local Government system as a third tier is essential in the development of the rural areas.

The Local Government system brings government closer to the people at the grassroots. Therefore, the socio-economic transformation and infrastructural development depend on the effectiveness of Local Government Councils.

In Rivers State, there are twenty three (23) Local Government Areas. And findings show that in the past two years and 6 months, the various councils in the state have received not less than N240 billion naira from the Federation Account as monthly allocations.

Development is at a slow pace in almost all the 23 local government councils, due to poor utilization of funds accruable to the LGAs from the Federal Allocation. Infrastructural development is far away in some of the councils as the LGA Chairmen siphon millions of naira meant for the smooth transformation of their respective LGAs. Thus keeping the rural dwellers in a perpetual poverty.

No doubt that there is absence of total development in the Degema Local Government Area (DELGA).

DELGA is one of the oldest LGAs in the Eastern part of Nigeria. The Delgans periodically cry out over what they call, “absence of government presence.” The current chairman of the LGA, Alhaji Daddy Pokima is not performing up to the expectation.

Federation allocation accruable to the area, on monthly basis is being shared amongst some heavy weight politicians in the area. Of recent, the Chairman of the Kalabari Chapter of the Ijaw Youth Council, Comrade Sobrasua Odum condemned the manner and the way in which the council chairman administers the affairs of the LGA. The IYC leader decried the high level of abject poverty in the LGA, which according to him is being caused by the insensitivity of the Council Chairman to the plights of the local people.

In Oyigbo Local Government Area, the council boss, Mr. Felix Uche Nwaeke as The Newswriter reliably gathered frequently absent himself from duty. The Oyigbo Council Boss administers his council from Port Harcourt, the capital city of Rivers State. Developmental activities in the area are very down. Roads leading to some major communities in the LGA such as Afam and Egberu are dilapidated, and both commercial and private motorists find it difficult to ply the roads.

Several communities in the Oyigbo LGA have no access to portable drinking water and better health care delivery system. The people of the LGA are calling the attention of the government and the relevant authorities to come to their aid so as to ensure development in the area.

The Asalgans have been deprived from the essence of the creation of local government system because of lack of positive infrastructural development. The development of the area is not in the heart of the council chairman, Mr. Ojukaye Flag Amachree. No community in the LGA enjoys laudable projects and other infrastructural development. Critics, however, lampooned Mr. Flag-Amachree for not visiting any of the communities under his watch since he assumed power five (5) years ago.  Mr. Flag Amachree is serving his second term in office.

Cultists and hoodlums have taken over the entire LGA, as there are frequent clashes of cult and cult related activities. Of recent a young man, simply identified as Norman Horsfall was killed as two dreaded cult group clashed in the area.

The chairman of Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area, Dame Maureen Tamuno does not go to work to attend to her official assignment. She has turned her 1st Artillery residence in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area to office.

Officials of the council visit her at home to take directives on how to run the affairs of the council. Information reaching our political desk had disclosed that Dame Tamuno in some months hold her F & GPC meeting at her residence or in an hotel in Port Harcourt. She is less concerned about the development of the council area. Critics revealed that most of the projects she has claimed to have executed are non-existence or yet to be implemented. Funds receive by the LGA from the Federal allocation do not create positive impact on the lives of the people; as the rural dwellers are wallowing in an abject poverty.

The people of Akuku-Toru Local Government Area are yet to feel the impact of the continuous existence of their LGA as nothing seems to have taken place in terms of laudable development. The Akulgans blasted their council chairman, Hon. Theodore Georgewill for his non-challant attitude towards the progress of the area.

According to them, development is not visible in all the towns that made up the LGA, namely: Abonnema, Obonoma, Idama, Soku, Orusangama, Abissa, Kula amongst others.

The Akulgans faulted the manner in which Hon. Theodore Georgewill spent the Federal allocations that coming to the Local Government’s treasury on the monthly basis. They made a passionate appeal to the council boss to ensure that he channels the allocations to the appropriate areas in order to develop the LGA.

In Ahoada-East and Ahoada-West LGAs development is already at snail speed. The council chairmen of the two LGAs, Chief Cassidy Ikegbidi and Barr. Awori Miller have failed to initiate policies and programmes that could engineer development. Several months ago, several petitions were written against the chairman of the Ahoada-East. The petitions focused on how the council chairman, Chief Cassidy Ikegbidi misappropriated funds, meant for the development of the LGA.

Petitioners sent their copies of their petitions to the Rivers State House of Assembly. The State Assembly constituted Committee to investigate Chief Ikegbedi, but nothing came out of such investigation. The petitioners, this publication would recalled gave details on how Chief Ikegbidi mismanaged funds belonging to the Ahoada-East Local Government Area.

Barr. Awori Miller, according to the people of his LGA has done nothing to improve their lots.

Power supply and provision of pipe borne water are beyond the reach of the rural people in the LGA. Okogbe one of the major towns in the Ahoada-West LGA is yet to be hooked to the national grid. Okogbe town is still in darkness, despite the huge amount of money coming from the federal allocation to the Local Government purse.

The chairman of Tai Local Government Area, Hon. Gbenekanu Kuopie has relocated his office from Sakpewa, the council headquarters to the residence of his political godfather, Hon. Barry Mpigi in New GRA, Port Harcourt. Monthly allocation to the LGA is being decided on sharing at the Port Harcourt residence of Hon. Barry Mpigi, a Federal Lawmaker representing Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency seat in the lower chamber of the National Assembly.

In most local councils, knowledgeable sources hinted The Newswriter that billions of naira has been looted in the councils’ treasuries. According to the sources, council chairmen carefully siphoned public funds to their private bank accounts, which do not encourage development in the rural communities.

Meanwhile, information reaching us, had revealed that, Gov. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi might dissolve the Local Government Councils in the State. Though the tenure of the current council chairmen will be expired April, 2014. The rationale behind the planned dissolution of the councils is unknown as at the time of going to the press, but close sources attributed it to what they called, “lack of trust among some council chairmen”.

According to the sources, most of the LGA chairmen are secretly holding meetings with the supervising Minister in charge of the Federal Ministry of Education, Chief (Barr.) Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike, one of the arch-enemies of Governor Amaechi. If what we gathered is anything to go by, before the end of the month of November, Gov. Chibuike Amaechi might kick the  chairmen of the Rivers Councils out of office and their place appoint Caretaker Committees (CTCs) to oversee the administration of the Local Government Councils in Rivers State. ###

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