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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
“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.