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Ekiti Assembly alleges threats from council chiefs over probe
Source: The Nation ekiti.com News Section:  Ekiti Date: Saturday, March 27, 2010

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By Our Reporter

The Ektit State House of Assembly yesterday commenced investigation into the activities of the 16 local governments in the state with an allegation that its members had received threats from some of the chairmen of the councils.

Mr Sunday Ajibade, Chairman, House Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy, gave the warning in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.

This followed the commencement yesterday of probe into the financial activities of the 16 council areas.

Ajibade said the threats would not prevent the lawmakers from performing their constitutional duties.

He said the probe was not to witch-hunt any council chairman, but to shed light on how public funds in local governments were spent.

He said: "We have been receiving threat text messages from unknown council chairmen on the probe into their accounts. I want to say that the probe has not gotten to that level because the probe is not to witch-hunt any body but to put the records straight.

"I want to urge those who are behind the act to desist from it because no threat will stop us from performing our constitutional roles," he said.

Ajibade warned that any council chairman found guilty of misappropriation would be dealt with in accordance with the law.

The two council chairmen, who appeared before the House yesterday were those of Ekiti South-West and Ikere-Ekiti, Olu Obisesan and Sunkanmi Ogunbiyi respectively.

The House directed the chairmen to furnish the lawmakers with all relevant documents to back up the on-going projects in their local governments.

Also, the Assembly ordered filling stations to adjust the pump price of petroleum to the N65 per litre, the approved price by the government, or be shut.

The filling stations in the state have been selling petrol at between N75 and N90 per litre.

The Speaker of the House, Mr Tunji Odeyemi, gave the directive yesterday when the state Chairman of Petroleum Product Consumer Protection Agency (PPCPA), Alhaji Ademola Bello, appeared before the House.

Bello was summoned to the House to explain the rationale behind the indiscriminate increases in the pump price of petroleum products in the state by marketers.

Odeyemi said the directive became necessary due to the groaning and complaints by the people over the "unofficial increase in the pump price of petrol" by filling stations operating in the state.

The Speaker, who noted that there was no fuel scarcity in the country to justify the N90 per litre, directed the task force to ensure that all the filling stations in the state complied with the directive.

Odeyemi also directed the PPCPA chairman to hold an emergency meeting with all the major and independent marketers in the state to ensure that they adjust their pump prices or face the wrath of the law.

He said: "The issue of unauthorised increase in pump price of petrol from N65 per litre to N90 per litre by filling stations in the state is of concern to all of us and we will not fold our arms to allow shylock dealers to start reaping-off our people.

"The House has given the PPCPA directive to ensure that filling stations start selling petrol at the government approved pump price. Any filling station that fails to comply should be sealed off by the agency and the House will give you full backing for taking such a step.

"In the next 24 hours, we want to hear positive response and action from you," he said.

Bello promised that the task force would swing to action to ensure "full compliance by filling stations".

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