By Ukpe Dandison
The Executive Chairman, Ikot Abasi Local Government Area, Hon. Joshua Affia has been allegedly caught in an ugly web of fraud, financial misappropriation and gross abuse of office if the details of the petition filed, signed and presented to the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly by twelve out of twelve Councilors in the area are anything to go by.
The embattled Council Chairman among other allegations has been accused by the Councilors of fraud, abuse of office, high handedness, lack of due process in the execution of projects and an unlawful refusal to pay statutory incentives to the Councillors for over a year now.
The Councillors further petition for his ‘converting of the internally generated revenues of the Local government into a top secret management where he receives and blatantly expends council funds with reckless and without recourse to approval by the Legislative Council’.
Such actions, the petition remarks contravenes Section 28(I)(c) of the Akwa Ibom State Local Government Administration Law 2017.
The petition also indicts the Council Chairman for outrightly selling the Council’s Lexus Jeep 570, which had been declared missing since December 2021 and unaccounted for by the Chairman without due process or auctioning procedures. Funds from the purported sale of the Council Official Vehicle was personally pocketed by the Council Chairman as the petitions further quotes.
According to the Councilors, that amounts to stealing of Council Public contrary to Section 391, 392 and 404 of the Criminal Code Law, 2000 Cap 38.
The petition also accuses the Ikot Abasi Council Chairman of further appropriating the sum of N850,000 for the construction of an abattoir all to himself without any bill of quantity and variation from the Works Department, contravening Section 28(1)(b) of the Akwa Ibom State Local Government Administration Law 2017.
Same Chairman equally approved road grading contract of five million without the notice of the Works Directorate nor any fiscal or technical input from the Legislative Council.
To this end, the Petition prays the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly to suspend the Chairman immediately to douse rising tensions in the Council polity and serve him as a call to order.
Meanwhile, efforts to reach the Chairman through phone calls have not been successful as the Chairman failed to respond to calls but later text ‘I am busy’ when this reporter dropped him a message on the enormous allegations.
Feelers have it that Ikot Abasi Local Government Area may be thrown into a major chaos if the Chairman is not reprimanded accordingly.