[dropcap type=”1″]S[/dropcap]uspected thugs have taken over the secretariat of Ovia South West Local Government Area following the suspension of the council boss, Morrison Ogunrobo, and the Secretary, Oyomire Idahosa.
Morrison and Idahosa were suspended for two months by the councillors on Thursday over alleged N13.7m fraud and the Vice Chairman, Omosede Adenomo, was asked to serve in acting capacity to enable Governor Adams Oshiomhole set a panel of inquiry.
It was not clear whether the thugs were at the secretariat to prevent Omosede from assuming office but the embattled chairman said his supporters were at the secretariat to show solidarity when he resumed office on Friday.
Trouble started for Morrison after a revenue contractor, Dan Owegie (Jnr), squealed that over N8m cash sum was paid directly to the chairman through the secretary instead of the council’s coffers.
Owegie in an interview said revenue contractors were summoned to the chairman’s office two months after they were appointed and told that revenue from IGR was the only way the chairman could make some money.
He said he was to remit N1m monthly from a quarry pit but was told to pay N500,000 to the council’s coffers and the balance to the council secretary.
Dan explained that he had to petition the councillors after his contract was terminated for embezzling council’s fund.
According to him, “The head of revenue in the council accosted me one day that I have not been paying. I told her I have been paying. She said I should bring the tellers, then I went to the Chairman and he told me not to worry. He said I should go and do my work.
[quote_box_left]“I later received a letter from the councillors that I should bring my tellers that they were doing oversight function. The Secretary told me I should meet the councillors and I asked him if I should tell them that I have given him the money, he asked whether I have proof that he collected money from me.”[/quote_box_left]
Morrison on his part described the suspension as a ploy to stop his second term ambition because of his performances in office.
He said the suspension was a nullity, as, according to him, only the House of Assembly has the constitutional powers to remove him from office.
According to him, “They don’t have right. It is only the House of Assembly that can do that. They do not have right to suspend me if I am being investigated. It beats my imagination that they went ahead to be doing all this. I am happy they did not accuse me of carting away the council’s allocation. They are talking about IGR.”
Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Chief Lucky James, said he was yet to be briefed about the real issues and promised to wade into the matter.