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Enugu Assembly Orders Arrest of Accountant-General

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The Enugu State House of Assembly has directed the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Dan Bature, to issue a warrant of arrest on the Accountant-General, Mr. Basil Okolie, for refusing to appear before the House on Wednesday.
The commissioner of police is expected to compel the Accountant-General to appear before the legislators at their next sitting on April 21.
The lawmakers had at a sitting on Tuesday summoned Okolie to appear before the House to explain the delay in the payment of the legislators’ overhead allowances.
The legislators believe the executive is withholding the allowance to ‘punish’ them for refusing to approve a recent N11bn loan sought by Governor Sullivan Chime.
Already, the chairman of the House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Johnbull Nwagu, who is seen as Chime’s ally, has been suspended from the House for two months after the legislators alleged that he colluded with the executive to withhold the payment.
The Accountant-General’s failure to honour the House’s summons on Wednesday further angered the lawmakers, who are apparently bent on finally asserting themselves as their tenure winds up.
The lawmakers had, while suspending the Finance and Appropriation Committee chairman, stressed the need to address the negative public perception of the House as a rubber stamp of the executive arm.
And, in a manner that differed from the House’s previous conciliatory attitude towards the Chimee-led executive, the lawmakers unanimously voted ‘Yes’ when the House Leader, Sunday Ude-Okoye, moved a motion for the arrest of the Accountant-General, after it was discovered that he did not honour the legislators’ summons.
Moving the motion, Ude-Okoye noted that the Accountant-General refused to appear before the lawmakers to explain why they should not get their overhead allowances.
“He has continuously failed to obey our call to answer the House , every time he says that he is sick but we learnt that he is in his office.
“This is the third time.
“He wants to show the whole world that the House of Assembly has no powers.
“He wants to turn us like akara(bean cake),  if we don’t use our powers, I don’t think we will get the desired result,” Ude-Okoye said while moving the motion.
The lawmakers promptly adjourned the sitting after the motion was adopted, following a voice vote called by the Speaker, Eugene Odoh.
It would be recalled that, besides the suspension of its Finance and Appropriation Committee chairman, the House had, also at its sitting on Tuesday, passed a resolution, condemning some recent actions taken by the Chime administration.
The lawmakers, in the resolution, condemned the allocation of the land adjacent Enugu State House of Assembly to a foreign firm for the construction of a shopping mall.
They noted that no shopping mall is located within a three arms zone anywhere in the world.
The House also condemned allocation of parts of a plot designated for the Enugu International Conference Centre to private residents.
The lawmakers equally condemned the allocation of the old Eastern Nigeria Industrial Layout to private developers.
It warned all the allottees to refrain from developing the land as, according to them, such is against the interest of the people of Enugu State.
The House also restated its opposition to the concessioning of the state Water Corporation to a private firm, AG Gold Trust Limited.
It therefore advised the Commissioner of Water Resources to refrain from entertaining any takeover of the Water Corporation in line with the said concessioning arrangement.

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