Hell was literally let loose in Benin Monday morning when councillors in Oredo local government area were chased out of the council secretariat by suspected thugs to make way for the suspended acting chairman of the council. Those who refused to run were rough handled.
This caused pandemonium in the market (Oba Market) close to the Secretariat as shops hurriedly closed. Passers bye in the popular Ring Road area of the city ran for cover.
Last Thursday, the acting chairman of the council, who was sworn in last October, Mrs Sweet Ikponmwosa was suspended from office for inability to pay staff’s salaries, administrative incompetence and failure to account for internally generated revenue (IGR)
However, she returned to office this morning, with the thugs forcing everybody to admit her.
The thugs invaded the council secretariat to allow the acting chairman of the council, Mrs.Ikponmwosa, return to office.
Despite the presence of policemen the door to her office was smashed and workers who resumed for duties were searched.
However, the presence of policemen did not stop the hired thugs from descending on the councillors.
Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State had suspended four local government chairmen, including Osaro Obazee, former Oredo Local Government boss, for non-payment of staff salaries and alleged diversion of funds, among others, on October 5′ 2015.
The other three chairmen suspended alongside Obazee included: Emmanuel Momoh, Etsako Central Local Government Area; Victor Enobakhare, Egor Local Government Area; and Roland Ibierutomwen, Orhionmwon Local Government Area.
Governor Oshiomhole, in a letter to the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, through the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Professor Julius Ihonvbere, said: “I am directed by the Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to inform you that in compliance with the relevant sections of the Local Government Act which mandates consultation with Edo State House of Assembly, the governor wishes to inform Mr. Speaker and members of the House that the underlisted Local Government Chairmen are hereby suspended from office with effect from October 6, 2015.
The chairmen are: Emmanuel Momoh, Chairman, Etsako Central Local Government Council; Victor Enobakhare, Chairman, Egor Local Government Council; Osaro Obazee, Chairman, Oredo Local Government Council and Roland Ibierutomwen, Chairman, Orhionmwon Local Government Council.
“Their suspension which is for two months is to pave the way for unhindered investigation into several allegations against the chairmen, which includes non-payment of staff salaries without satisfactory explanations, inability to account for Internally Generated Revenue, diversion of funds, failure to follow due process in the award of contracts as well as illegal employment of senior officers without going through Local Government Service Commission, which is a violation of laid-down provisions.
“In the meantime, during the period of suspension, relevant panels would be constituted to investigate the allegations against the affected chairmen.
“The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to inform the Honourable Speaker and the House, of this development for record purposes”, the Governor had said.