Imo Probe Panel Indicts Ex-Governor Okorocha Of N106bn Fraud

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma

 

The Justice Benjamin Iheaka-led Imo State Judicial Commission of Enquiry on Contracts instituted by ex-Governor Emeka Ihedioha has submitted its report and findings to Governor Hope Uzodimma.

While Submitting the report on Tuesday at the Government House in Owerri the state capital, the panel whose assignment is to probe contracts awarded between 2011 and 2019 under the Okorocha administration said it uncovered fraudulent contracts worth N106billion.

The panel recommended that those involved be made to return the money to the government adding that the contracts some of which the panel identified were said to be inflated or given to non-existing companies that were allegedly awarded by the Rochas Okorocha administration.

READ ALSO: ‘Uzodinma Should Wake Up’: Okorocha Replies To N106bn Fraud Allegation

According to the report, there was a flagrant disregard for due process and the Public Procurement Act, noting that there was also evidence of non-existing companies that were used to siphon state funds.

Justice Iheaka asked Governor Uzodinma to ensure that actions are taken on the report and recommendations made by the panel in the interest of the state.

In his response, Governor Uzodimma said the state government under his watch will ensure that all indicted and named in the report are made to return the state’s funds illegally siphoned.

29 Suspected Illegal Miners Arrested In Imo

File Photo of NSCDC Commandant, Danjuma Elisa.

 

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has arrested 29 suspects allegedly involved in illegal dredging and mining in prohibited sites in Imo State.

This was disclosed on Friday by the State Commandant, Dajuma Elisha in Owerri, the state capital.

While parading the suspects at the Command Headquarters, Elisha said the arrest followed ceaseless complaints and reports by the state government of the activities of illegal miners and dredgers.

He explained that their illegal mining activities have continued to deface the city thereby causing environmental hazards like pollution and land degradation.

According to the NSCDC boss, the suspects will be profiled and prosecuted accordingly.

Elisha also asked indigenes in this line of business to quit and find another legal source of livelihood.

Those Calling Me ‘Supreme Court Governor’ Are Ignorant – Uzodinma

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma during Channels Television’s Hard Copy on September 25, 2020 said those calling him ‘Supreme Court Governor’ are ignorant.

 

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma has knocked those addressing him as Supreme Court Governor, describing them as ignorant people.

The governor who was interviewed on Channels Television’s Hard Copy on Friday argued he was not the first to be favoured by a Supreme Court justice, adding that he emerged as governor of the state through legitimate means.

“It is the height of ignorance because they don’t know what they are saying. There is a reason for the Supreme Court. In the doctrine and principle of democracy, the law expected that there would be grievances and malpractices in the electoral process,” Uzodinma said.

“When this happens, the only legitimate right you have is to seek redress at the court. And of course, the court determines. Remember that this is not the first time, so many elections had held where the candidates went to court and they got justice. So, why will mine be different?

“Human beings voted and the votes were not counted. I went to the Supreme Court and INEC was unable to explain why they did not enter the result. It was a simple judgment. The Supreme Court said INEC was wrong.”

On governance, Uzodinma said his administration had been making efforts to increase the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of Imo State.

READ ALSO: Deal With Me If I Become A Godfather, Says Obaseki

He, however, regretted that following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state’s IGR nosedived.

According to the governor, a huge percentage of companies doing business in Imo have not filed in their tax returns to the state government.

“By January, we were trying to build up our Internally Generated Revenue which was on the increase. By February it was on the increase but the thing nosedived in March.

“As I speak to you, 95 per cent of the companies operating in Imo State have not filed their annual returns,” he said.

Uzodinma emerged as Imo governor after the Supreme Court sacked Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on January 14.

Gas Explosion Kills One, Injures Three In Imo State

The scene of the accident on Friday.

 

 

 

One person has been feared dead with three persons critically injured after a truck conveying liquefied petroleum gas exploded at a filling station in Irete community along the Owerri-Onitsha Expressway in Owerri-West Local Government Area of Imo state.

The Imo State Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Evans Ugoh, confirmed the incident to Channels Television.

 

Firefighters at the location of the explosion.

 

According to him, the truck after discharging its content at the filling station was about reversing and manoeuvring its way out of the premises when it was hit by a J5 commercial bus conveying pineapples on top speed coming from the Onitsha end lost control and ram into the truck, leading to a heavy explosion.

Onlookers gather following the accident 

 

Mr Ugoh confirmed that one of the occupants of the J5 commercial bus died on the spot while 3 other persons who sustained fatal injuries were immediately taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

 

 

He said, however, officials of the Imo State Fire Service, Red Cross, Civil Defence, the Nigerian Police and NEMA officials were all on the ground for rescue operations.

Wreckage of the J5 commercial bus.

 

Ex-Minister Ugwuh Emerges PDP Chairman In Imo

PDP delegates wait to vote during the party’s Congress in Imo State on August 1, 2020. Inset: Imo State PDP Chairman, Charles Ugwuh.

 

A former Minister for Commerce and industry, Charles Ugwuh, has been elected as the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo State.

Ugwuh emerged the consensus candidate for the party’s chairmanship position at the State Congress held on Saturday at the Kanu Nwankwo Sports Complex in Owerri, the state capital.

A total of 12 contestants vied for the position of the chairman but after much consultation and consideration, the former minister emerged as the consensus candidate.

With a total of 2,621 votes cast, members contested for 39 other positions and the former acting chairman, Martins Ejiogu, was returned as the deputy chairman.

Others re-elected into various positions include Ray Emeana (Secretary), Josiah Eze (Treasurer), Maria Mbakwe (Women Leader), and Godson Nwaobasi (Auditor).

After the elections, Kissinger Ikeokwu (Legal Adviser), Greg Nwadike (Youth Leader), Bede Ojinmadu (Financial Secretary) and Ogubundu Nwadike (Publicity Secretary), joined the new State Working Committee (SWC).

READ ALSO: Nigeria Records 386 More COVID-19 Cases, Total Infections Rise To 43,537

Officials and delegates participate in the PDP Congress in Imo State on August 1, 2020.

 

In his remarks, Ugwuh thanked officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and officers from PDP National Headquarters for observing the conduct of the Congress.

He also thanked all party elders, leaders, and members, particularly the delegates to the Congress for coming out to participate in the exercise.

The new chairman commended the immediate past SWC for taking good care of the party and congratulated all the winners and members of the new executive of the party in the state.

Delegates wait on the queue to cast their votes in the PDP Congress in Imo State on August 1, 2020.

 

On behalf of the new SWC, the former minister promised to manage the party in Imo to the satisfaction and appreciation of all party leaders and members.

He called for support from all party leaders and members to collectively take the PDP to greater heights and reclaim power in the state.

Ugwuh headed the Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry between July 2007 and October 2008 under the administration of late former President Musa Yar’Adua.

Before his appointment as minister, Ugwuh, who is also a former President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), contested the PDP governorship primary election in Imo in 2007.

FG To Recruit 27,000 Imo Youths Under Special Works Programme

Flood Sweeps 15 Oil-Producing Communities In Imo

 

The Federal Government is set to engage 27,000 youths in Imo State to carry out public works in their various Local Government Areas.

Chairman, Special Public Works Committee in the state, Obinna Okenze, disclosed this on Wednesday at the Federal Secretariat in Owerri, the state capital.

Speaking during the inaugural meeting of the state nominees for the Federal Government’s Special Public Works programme, Okenze said that the youths will be recruited between October and December 2020 and will be paid N20,000 monthly.

READ ALSO: Reps To Investigate $1bn Illegal NLNG Withdrawal

He noted that nobody should be charged for the recruitment, adding that anyone found charging money no matter how small will be prosecuted accordingly.

Imo Pensioners Protest Non-Payment Of Pension Arrears 

 

Members of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners in Imo State have staged a protest in Owerri the Imo State Capital over the non-payment of pension arrears and entitlements.

The pensioners in their numbers took to the streets of Owerri halting vehicular movement for hours demanding that the state government pay them their pension arrears owed to them since February 2020.

The chairman of the pensioner’s intervention committee in Imo State, Ohaneje Iyke says the union has made several appeals to the government and other relevant authorities in the state but all to no avail.

13 More Imo Lawmakers Test Positive For COVID-19

A government health worker shows a Covid-19 test at the Roli Madeira riverside community in the southwest of Marajo Island, in the state of Para, Brazil, on June 1, 2020. TARSO SARRAF / AFP

 

 

Thirteen more members of the Imo State House of Assembly have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

The spokesman for the State Task Force on COVID-19, Chinedu Iwuala, confirmed this to Channels Television on Tuesday.

This brings the total number of lawmakers in the state who are COVID-19 positive to 14.

The infected lawmakers have gone into self-isolation and the State Assembly Complex in Owerri has remained shut since the first lawmaker was diagnosed with the virus.

This comes one week after the state government shut down the Assembly for two weeks.

The Chairman of the State Task Force on COVID-19, Professor Maurice Iwu, had confirmed the COVID-19 status of the first infected lawmakers on Tuesday last week while briefing reporters in Owerri, the state capital.

The samples of all other lawmakers and their aides were taken to the laboratory for COVID-19 test, but the results of 13 more members of the Assembly came back positive.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has reported 675 new cases of COVID-19 across the country.

It noted that the new cases were confirmed in 20 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

They included Lagos – 288, Oyo – 76, Rivers – 56, Delta – 31, Ebonyi – 30, Gombe – 28, Ondo – 20, Kaduna – 20, Kwara – 20, Ogun – 17, FCT – 16, Edo – 13, Abia – 10, Nasarawa – nine, Imo – nine, Bayelsa – eight, Borno – eight, Katsina – eight, Sokoto – three, Bauchi – three, Plateau – two.

As of 11pm on Monday, Nigeria has 20,919 confirmed cases of coronavirus out of which 7,109 patients have been successfully treated and discharged while 525 have died.

Police Recover Bodies Of Two Students In Imo

A file photo of a police van.

 

The police in Imo State have recovered the bodies of two students at a Vic-Mic lodge in Nekede area of the state.

The deceased until their death were students of the Federal Polytechnic in Nekede.

Confirming the incident to Channels Television, the spokesman of the State Police Command, Orlando Ikeokwu, identified the dead as Cynthia Obieshi and Samuel Osuji.

Ikeokwu explained that the students were believed to have taken substance suspected to be drugs.

READ ALSO: 21-Year-Old Student Killed In Oyo

He noted that the Divisional Police Headquarters, Nekede/Ihiagwa acting on intelligent report moved to Room 19, Vic-Mic Lodge broke into the room and found two lifeless bodies.

According to the police spokesman, Cynthia was said to have visited her boyfriend Samuel who is the original owner of the room.

He also reiterated the commitment of the Commissioner of Police to unravel the real cause of the death, stressing that preliminary investigations revealed that the deceased might have taken substance suspected to be drugs.

Woman Delivered Of Twins Dies Of COVID-19 In Imo

The Chairman of Imo State COVID-19 Taskforce, Professor Maurice Iwu, speaks to Channels Television on June 15, 2020 of a pregnant woman infected by COVID-19 who lost her life after childbirth.

 

Imo State has recorded another death resulting from COVID-19 complications.

Although the woman’s details are unknown, the deceased was said to have been receiving treatment in the isolation centre after testing positive for the coronavirus disease a few days ago.

Confirming the incident to Channels Television, the Chairman of the State COVID-19 Taskforce, Professor Maurice Iwu, said the woman was delivered of a set of twins but after delivery, she couldn’t survive it.

READ ALSO: Police Arrest 799 Rape Suspects In Five Months

According to Professor Iwu, the babies were however fortunate as to have tested negative for the virus.

While warning the people to disregard rumours that COVID-19 is not real, he asked indigenes of the state to continue to comply with precautionary measures put in place by the state government to contain the spread of the virus.

Iwu also noted that COVID-19 cases keep increasing by the day due to an increase in sample testing in the state.

Imo Sets Up Advisory Committee On Community Policing

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma speaks during the inauguration of a Security Advisory Committee at the Government House in Owerri, the state capital on June 14, 2020.

 

The Imo State Government has inaugurated a Security Advisory Committee on community policing to complement the efforts of security agencies in tackling crime.

During the inauguration in Owerri the state capital on Sunday, Governor Hope Uzodinma asked the members to curtail the menace of kidnapping, armed robbery, child theft and other crimes.

“Government has designed this template to ensure that communities and indigenes are involved in the policing and security measures that the government has decided to carry out.

READ ALSO: Buratai Asks Troops To Remain Firm In Fighting Insurgency

“Don’t go and tell the state police (that) community policing is about the Nigeria Police or Fulani herdsmen. It is how we on our own can partner with the police and other security agencies to ensure that security in Imo State (is improved),” he said.

Governor Uzodinma also called on residents of the state to cooperate with the security agencies by providing timely and useful information in curbing crimes in the state.

This follows the agreement between the governors of the southeast and the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu on setting up a community policing structure in each state in the region.

The committee is composed up of leaders of security operatives, traditional and religious heads as well as women and youth leaders from various communities.

Imo Records First COVID-19 Death

(FILE PHOTO) Professor Maurice Iwu

 

Imo State has recorded its first COVID-19 fatality.

This was revealed on Wednesday by the Chairman of the COVID-19 Taskforce in the state, Professor Maurice.

According to him, the victim had underlying health issues before he was brought to the isolation centre.

Professor Iwu believes that the victim’s condition might have complicated his chances of survival.