The Rivers State House of Assembly, yesterday, set up an 8-member ad hoc committee to investigate the income and expenditure profiles of the 23 councils in the state for the periods between 2013 and 2015. The ad hoc committee, chaired by member representing Akuku-Toru II, Hon Tonye Awari Alalibo, is expected to invite HPMs, Treasurers and heads of works in the 23 local government areas to appear before it and submit its report within nine days.
Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, set up the committee due to a motion moved on the floor of the House by its Leader, Hon Martin Amaewhule on the “administration of local government councils in the state between the periods of 2013 and 2015.”
In moving the motion, the Leader prayed the House to among others; condemn the acts of financial recklessness in the local governments in the state between 2013 and 2015. According to him, local government chairmen and caretaker committees failed to execute projects in their localities within the period under review.
He said: “We are all aware that we have the Rivers State local government Law, No. 2 of 2012, which has provided for a joint account. From this account, funds are disbursed to local governments. We are also aware that local governments generate revenue internally and can also receive grants. It is debilitating and agonising that funds that have been available to councils for some time now are not properly channeled.”
Contributing, member representing Ogu/Bolo, Hon Evans Bipi, argued that the House can only take a decision after hearing from the heads of local governments. He therefore suggested that an ad hoc committee be set up to handle the matter.
Also, member representing PHALGA I, Hon Jones Ogbona, argued that while the motion is apt, there is no petition before the House alleging financial recklessness by the past LG chairmen. He called on the House to put the first prayer of the motion on hold pending the outcome of its investigation.
Meanwhile, a bill to repeal the Rivers State Traditional Rulers Law, 2009 has passed first reading on the floor of the House. The House is expected to reconvene on Thursday (today).