Local government Councillors in Ogun State on Thursday held a protest over the resolution of the state House of Assembly suspending all elective office holders in the local governments.
The Councillors from all the local government areas in the state stormed the assembly complex at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, and blocked the lawmakers and staff from the complex.
The council lawmakers brandished placards with various inscriptions, including:
‘The lawmakers are the lawbreakers’, ‘Respect Supreme Court on local government tenure’, ‘OGHA led by Rt. Hon Suraj Adekunbi, don’t rubbish Dapo Abiodun’s administration through your selfishness.”
When the Speaker of the House, Mr Adekunbi, appeared in the complex, the protesters charged at his convoy raining abuses at him for presiding over their suspension.
The speaker, however, advised the councillors to find a better way to vent their grievances.
However, the leader of the protesters, Azeez Oloyede from Abeokuta South East Local Council Development Authority, in his response to the speaker, said they were surprised at his position at a time when the issue of local government autonomy was being addressed.
Speaking on the allegation of financial malpractice against the councils cited for their dissolution, Mr Azeez told the Speaker that they did not receive any correspondence on any allegation before their sack.
“We heard the rumour that we are suspended. Why is it that when the issue of local government autonomy is being addressed is when you’re suspending us from office?
“Till this moment there’s no allegation against us. We have not received any letter to that effect and when we get to our various offices, we are being harassed by local government workers and career officers”
“As far as we are concerned, there’s nothing like suspension. What is our offence that warranted this kind of rumour that we, the legislators and Chairmen, are suspended?”
Speaking with journalists later, the Speaker said he was surprised to see the protesters at the Assembly complex since they had not received any correspondence to the effect of their suspension.
He said the Assembly acted within its powers and advised the protesting councillors to wait for communication from the executive arm of the government.
He said the Assembly had received many petitions against the administration of local governments in the state and that he had brought same unofficially to the notice of the chairmen.
Mr Adekunbi also reacted to question raised on why the petitions were not investigated before the suspension. He said it was as a result of exigencies and that the suspension was thoroughly debated by the members of the House before the decision was taken.
The Ogun State House of Assembly had last week passed a resolution suspending and inviting all the local governments’ officials in the state over allegation of financial misappropriation.
The executive arm of the government subsequently ordered the accounts of the local governments frozen pending the conclusion of the investigation by the House of Assembly.
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