Umahi suspends commissioners, monarchs over boundary lockdown violation

Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi, on Sunday, suspended commissioners, development centre coordinators, traditional rulers in the Afikpo North and Ivo local government areas of the state, for allegedly sabotaging the government’s efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Umahi, who expressed displeasure with the attitude of his appointees in the two LGAs, also noted that aside the suspended commissioners and coordinators, all political office holders in the LGAs, would receive half salary for two months.

This was contained in a statement on Sunday in Abakaliki by the Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, who doubles as the acting Commissioner for Human Capital Development and Monitoring, Uchenna Orji.

The statement read in part, “The Governor of Ebonyi State, His Excellency, David Umahi, has noted with displeasure the unbecoming attitude of some political office holders, Task Force members, traditional rulers, and town union leaders towards the enforcement processes and laid down rules in our fight against coronavirus pandemic in the state.

“Ilustratively, the governor was on routine monitoring visit to Afikpo North and Ivo local government areas  on May 9, 2020  between the hours of 6.30 pm and 12 midnight and noticed  compromises  by  the public office holders, COVID-19 task force, traditional rulers and town union leaders at the borders and entry points, thereby  giving way for the passengers from epicentre states to come into Ebonyi State unchecked. The governor personally intercepted over 10-passenger vehicles with over 50 passengers coming from Abia, Rivers and Lagos states.

“Even the few task force members seen on the road took bribes and allowed the passengers to pass.  The governor therefore had no option but to arrest those taking bribe at those borders  and they are currently  cooling -off  at the COVID-19 Holding Centre in Abakaliki.

“While in Ohaozara Local Government Area, the governor observed that the task force did a good job at the borders  in the day but at night no one was seen on duty except  the Army and a few youths in one location.

“In another development, the governor observed that security shades are yet to be constructed at the borders   in  the said local government areas contrary to his directive.”

Consequently, the governor directed the “Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy Matters and Rural Development to give  account of the money released to each of the LGAs for the anti-coronavirus programme to the governor  before  May 13, 2020.”

He added, “All Development Centre Coordinators in Afikpo North and Ivo Local Government Areas  are hereby suspended from office effective, Sunday, May 10, 2020.  They are to hand over to most senior worker in their respective Development Centres all property including their official vehicles.”