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Nigeria News:Ekiti house of assembly adjourns over insecurity

The precarious security situation in Ekiti state has forced the state house of Assembly to adjourn sitting indefinetely

Punch newspaper reports that before the adjournment, the House directed its committees on Public Accounts and Governor’s Office to probe the financial activities of the Speaker, Mr. Tunji Odeyemi, during the 79 days that he acted as governor of the state.

At the sitting presided over by Odeyemi, the House blamed the security agencies for not doing enough to secure lives and property in the state in recent time.

The members premised their position on the recent burning of houses in Isan-Ekiti and the spate of failed attempts on the lives of some notable politicians within the past one month.

A member of the Peoples Democratic Party said to be nursing senatorial ambition, Mr. Kehinde Fasubaa, was killed in January, in Ado-Ekiti, while his twin brother, Mr. Taye Fasubaa, escaped assassination attempt in 2004.

A former PDP governorship, Mr. Deji Adesua; and a former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ajayi Owoseni, had recently raised the alarm over alleged failed attempts to kill them.

The immediate past Commissioner for Land and Housing, Alhaji Yakub Sanni and former Chief Security Officer at the University of Ado-Ekiti, Captain Tunde Ajayi (rtd.) were also attacked by unknown gunmen, on Sunday.

The killers of Fasubaa were yet to be apprehended while the police were yet to make any arrest in connection with Sunday’s incident.

The House arrived at the decision to probe the tenure of the Speaker as the acting governor following the manner he was booed and called names when handing over to the Governor, Mr. Segun Onion May 6.

The Action Congress Leader in the House, Mr. Funminiyi Afuye, had raised the issue of the treatment meted out to Odeyemi through a motion under Matter of Urgent Public Importance.

He had requested the Speaker to render his account of stewardship to the members to give the members a clear picture of state of the finance when he took over and by the time he relinquished the executive position.

As their leader, Afuye said that the lawmakers viewed the experience of Odeyemi as an embarrassment to the legislative arm, which necessitated the move to get to the root of the matter.

Odeyemi told his colleagues that his hands were clean, insisting that he did not engage in any underhand dealings during the period he acted as the governor.

He restated his earlier position that he inherited N4.2bn liquid cash from Oni, as against the N47bn being bandied then.

As at May 6 when he handed over to Oni, the Speaker said he left N3.9bn in the treasury of the state, declaring that he did not plunge the state to any internal or external debt during the period.

The lawmakers unanimously agreed that its Committees on Public Account and Governor’s Office should go through the financial records and report back to the House during plenary.

The House further urged concerned members of the public or corporate bodies with concrete proof of financial impropriety against the former acting governor to depose to affidavits and forward them to the committees.

Except the House reconsiders its stand on the indefinite adjournment, the naming of members of the state executive council, especially commissioners, might be further delayed.

State governors are constitutionally required to forward the list of commissioner-designates to the House for screening and clearance, while governors are also required to seek the nod of the House on the appointment of advisers.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police at the Ekiti State Command, Mr. Chris Ola, told our correspondent in a telephone interview that the lawmakers did not carry him along in arriving at their decision to stop further sittings.

He said that the Police had not reduced the number of security personnel assigned to the House to secure the members.

Ola said, “Situations that occur like this (assassination attempts) usually engender counter measures put in place. We have put measures in place to avert a repeat of the incidents.

“I liken it to politics. They (lawmakers) are the main politicians. We have always reacted to any incident of crime. We are alive to our responsibilities.

“Except any of them feels personally targeted, I don’t think there is any reason for them to blame security situation for adjourning indefinitely.”

Reminded that the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Saliu Adeoti, recently alerted the public over alleged plot to kill him and another unnamed AC member, the CP said “that would be his (Adeoti) fifth time of saying so.”

Ola added, “They have been saying they want to kill them before the election till today, but nobody has been killed. May be the people alleged to be threatening to kill them are not serious.”