By Martin Nwoko
The Imo State House of Assembly has concluded arrangements to investigate the the activities of the immediate past Speaker of the 9th House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins who was impeached from office recently following accusations bordering on financial recklessness, arrogance greed and abuse of office.
In a motion sponsored by Hon. Ekene Nnodumele, who is the member representing Orsu state Constituency during its plenary yesterday called on the house to as a matter of urgency set up an adhoc committee to investigate the matter.
Speaking over the motion, Hon. Ekene Nnodumele pointed out that the motion is not to witch hunt anybody but rather to maintain a standard the house of assembly should be known for. He stressed that the Legislature should lead by example and that public office should not be seen as a place to amasse wealth.
The Orsu state house of assembly member Hon. Nnodumele reminded house members that the former Speaker Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins during his tenure failed to account for funds meant for the office of the Deputy Speaker when the office became vacant as a result of the former deputy speaker’s resignation. He mentioned that apart from funds meant for Rt. Hon. Okey Onyekanmma when the court removed Rt. Hon. Uju Onwudiwe and ordered for a rerun the funds were not accounted for. He reiterated that funds allocated to the offices including their salaries and allowances were never accounted for, yet records showed that they were diverted.
Supporting the motion, the majority leader of the house Hon. Uche Ogbuagu opined that lawmakers should not be seen as lawbreakers and that he had expected the former Speaker, Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins to have defended himself from the allegations leveled against him which resulted to his impeachment. Hon. Ogbuagu made it clear that the house members do not know where the account of Imo State House of Assembly is domiciled and how much that comes to the house, monthly. He therefore stressed that the proposed investigation will serve as a deterrent to all political office holders.
Presiding over the sitting, the Speaker of the house, Rt. Hon. Paul Emeziem moved the motion for the house to set up an adhoc committee to investigate the activities of the house from 13th June 2019 to November 13th 2020 and the motion was adopted by majority of the house members.
The Speaker thereby set up a six man adhoc committee to be chaired by the mover of the motion Hon. Ekene Nnodumele and five other house members.
Some members who responded to Nigeria Watchdog Newspapers enquiry on the essence of the investigation described it as window dressing and shadow pursuit in a bid to cleanse the augean stable and give Chiji Collins a clean bill of health as innocent for playing along in ingloriously with his detractors and traducers.
When contacted, Rt.Hon Chiji Collins declined to comment on the issue.