Amidst security challenges in the state, the uncontrolled or rather indiscriminate issuance and wrong usage of Imo House of Assembly official vehicle number plates has become a bone of contention between the Imo House of Assembly and Security agents in the state; following the recent kidnap incident where the occupant of a Mercedes 350 4matic jeep with number plate IMHA48, security agents and Imo State House of Assembly are trading words.
According to a security agent who spoke to this reporter, there is an indication that this plate number which was later said to belong to an aide of an Imo lawmaker is not registered with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) which made it difficult for us to trace family of the kidnapped victim.
The victim of the kidnap episode was identified to be an aide to the lawmaker representing Oru west state constituency.
Security agents said that they have severally called on the leadership of the house about the issuance of official number plates but the practice remains unabated, as virtually all their staff including cooks have official number plates,” he said.
He disclosed that in some cases,lawmakers procure or provide these number plates to friends or associates who are not their personal aides.
Our source disclosed that if the number plate of the kidnap victim was registered it would have been easier to identify who was kidnapped and how to go about his release.
A house of Assembly source who spoke to this reporter, revealed that this issue has been reoccurring especially in the current house led by Hon Paul Emeziem that has not done anything to curtail the indiscriminate issuance of official number plates.
He stated that, those with these unregistered house of assembly number plates spanning from the tenure of late Senator Ben Uwajumogu, the Rt. Hon Acho Ihim and Rt Hon Chiji Collins are still with these number plates.
When contacted on the allegation or suspicion that the transport officer of the assembly may have been collecting #50,000 each to issue these numbers, the transport officer Mr Samuel Ofoegbu denied the allegation, saying that on none account did he collect money from anyone to issue number plate.
Security agents have complained that culprits use these number plates to commit various frauds or crimes including kidnapping.
When contacted Hon Nelson Ezerioha confirmed that the victim of the kidnap is his personal aide who was on his return trip from Anambra state where he went for a transaction when he was kidnapped.