The Edo State Government says it has decided to take a former Governor of the state, Mr Lucky Igbinedion and some of his administration’s officials to court to recover over seven billion Naira allegedly stolen from the state’s coffers.
The Edo State Commissioner for Information, Louis Odion, and other officials of the state government told reporters after a close door meeting with the State Executive Council on Wednesday that the Council decided to prosecute Mr Igbinedion in order to raise funds to complete some capital projects in the state.
He also said that the state government had also decided to take legal actions against all the banks in the state for non-remittance of withholding tax on interest accruing from fixed deposits lodged in the banks by residents of Edo State.
The People’s Democratic Party in Edo State has alleged that the State Government spent 428 Million Naira for trips to Miami and Chicago in the United States of America.
The Edo PDP Chairman, Dan Orbih, who presented documents to support his claim, accused the state of spending so much money on trips while critical infrastructure is lacking in the state.
Orbih, who gave a breakdown of the money spent, said that he had decided against exposing the document until he was forced to, following the insistence of the Commissioner for Information that he lied.
He further said that the State Government should channel the state funds towards infrastructural development.
The Edo State Commissioner for Information, Louis Odion, in a swift reaction, said that the documents presented by the Edo PDP were fake as the state government transacts its business online.
He further clarified that the trip in question was a meeting of all Edo people in diaspora organised with the Edo people in diaspora in conjunction with government and not a picnic as alleged.
The competency test ordered by Edo government for teachers in public schools recorded low turn-out, as many teachers refused to participate in the exercise which held on Saturday.
Yesterday, the state Commissioner for Information, Mr Louis Odion, who briefed journalists, called on teachers to write the test or their salaries will be withheld adding that the state government was unaware of any injunction against conducting the test.
While the state government carried paid adverts on the media calling the unions to write the test, the unions carried a parallel advert stating that there was an injunction against the test.
The Edo State Commissioner for Higher Education, Washington Osifo, however said the state government has not been served the injunction notice and that the media is not the avenue to announce a notice of injunction.
“Government is set to conduct the assessment test. Nobody will force anybody to do what is right. The test is in the interest of the teachers and Edo children.
“We are not aware of any restraining order stopping the test. An attempt to get an order does not in itself translate to an order stopping the conduct of the test,” Osifo said
Counsel to the Academic Staff Union of Secondary School (ASSUS), Edo Chapter, Olayiwola Afolabi who brandished the court injunction said the relevant ministries were served and an attempt to serve the state Ministry of Justice was resisted, threatening that “If they go ahead with the test, we will file contempt charges against the government of Edo”.
The test however recorded a low turnout as only 73 teachers were accredited at about 11am at the University of Benin Centre which was billed for thousands of teachers.
The test was scheduled to hold simultaneously in the three senatorial districts of the state.
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Edo state has denied any planned merger or decision to present a joint candidate with the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the forthcoming July 14 governorship election in the state.
The Edo State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Louis Odion, made this known in a statement, reacting to a recent publication by a national newspaper that, there will be an alliance between Edo State branch of the ACN and CPC for the July 14 governorship polls in the state.
According to the statement, “the newspaper added that the national leader of CPC, General Muhammadu Buhari (RTD), was being expected to join the national leaders of ACN at a grand rally in Benin City on Saturday, July 7.”
The ACN debunked the report of the purported alliance between the two parties in the state ahead of the election and that General Buhari is not expected at the July 7 rally.
“It is only a figment of the writer’s imagination. Neither has invitation been sent to the CPC leader nor is he being expected at the rally” stated Mr Odion.
“Much as we are not averse to collaboration as true democrats, the truth is no such has been entered into here. It is our humble belief that the discerning Edo voters are appreciative of Comrade Oshiomhole’s sterling performance in the last forty-four months and are more than willing to not only express themselves by voting for him resoundingly on July 14 but also defend their votes” the party concluded.
Edo state governor, Adams Oshiomhole is seeking another term in office on the platform of the ACN.