Nigeria News

NIGERIA: Plateau Govt in a Showdown with State Assembly

The Plateau State Government has not relented in its many frantic efforts to stop the state House of Assembly from going ahead with its investigation of the alleged gross financial misconduct levelled against it by a group, Plateau Patriotic Front.

The latest move by the state government is a directive issued by it to stop all government appointees and civil servants from appearing before the lawmakers in connection with the investigation.

The assembly had ordered its petition committee to probe the allegation. But an aide to  the state Governor, Jonah Jang, Mr. Yakubu Jang. had approached the state High Court to prevent the lawmakers from going ahead with the investigation.
The court had already served the assembly with an order halting it from continuing with the investigation pending the determination of the suit filed before it.

But THISDAY gathered that the assembly appears adamant, claiming that “no court has the power to obstruct any legislative house from performing its functions under Section 88 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) in the case of the nation and section 128 in the case of a state Houses of Assembly.”

The new order issued to all political appointees and civil servants by the government, which was contained in a memo issued by the Office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Professor Shedrack Best, and signed by Permanent Secretary, Policy and General Services, Izam Azi was a further step to halting the investigation.
According to the memo, no civil servant working for the state government or political appointees would be allowed to honour invitation from the assembly without seeking clearance from the governor.

The memo read: “I am directed to inform you that henceforth, no ministry, department or agency is to appear before any committee anywhere with respect to any petition unless you seek clearance and obtain approval from the governor.”

The memo, which was copied to all government ministries, department and agencies in the state as well as commissioners and special advisers, urged them to comply strictly with the directive.

When contacted, an Executive Assistant to the governor, said the memo was issued seeing that the assembly see adamant and may want to disobey court order and go ahead with the investigation.

He added that if the lawmakers choose to disobey the court order and go ahead with the investigation, then appointees of government and civil servants would also disappoint them by not appearing before the assembly.

He reiterated that the state government has nothing to hide, and that is why the governor has personally written letters to EFCC and ICPC, with copies of the petition attached to them, asking the anti-crime bodies to come and do their jobs, adding that

“We are only cautioning the lawmakers to follow their own rules and not to overheat the politics in the state.”
He added that very soon the state would witness massive project work being carried out by the said SURE-P fund that is causing all the ripples in the state.

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