Elected local government chairmen in Plateau, who were sacked last year by Gov. Simon Lalong, have challenged the state government to publish the document which allegedly indicted them.
Lalong, at a forum with journalists to mark his one-year in office on Saturday in Jos, had alleged that an audit of local governments’ activities conducted by his predecessor, Sen. Jonah Jang, had indicted the 17 former council bosses.
“Governor Jonah Jang left a report indicting all the council chairmen; it was on that basis that I dissolved them when I assumed office.
“In dissolving, rather than prosecuting the local government chairmen, I gave them a soft landing and expected them to be happy rather than seeking to drag the matter before a court,” he had said.
The governor alleged that the document had indicated mass corruption involving the siphoning of large sums by the former chairmen.
But Mr Emmanuel Lomman, a former Chairman of the Plateau chapter of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON ), at a news briefing on Wednesday in Jos, challenged the governor to make the document public.
ALGON is the umbrella body of all local government chairmen.
“The governor has been making this allegation for a long time; we have challenged him to publish the document that contained the alleged financial misappropriation.
“The governor illegally removed us from office before the expiration of our tenure because he claimed there was a document indicting us, yet he has refused to publish the document.
“I think all Plateau people want to know the truth and the sooner it is told to them, the better.
“As a lawyer, the governor knows that his action in removing us from office before the end of our tenure is a serious legal and political blunder.
“When he dissolved us, he cited disloyalty as the main reason for his action, why is he now bringing up a new allegation at this material time?
“From all we can remember, there was never a time any panel was set up by the past regime to investigate our activities from which a document came out that indicted us.
“Therefore, for the sake of truth and justice, I dare the governor to publish the document so that everybody will know when and how we were indicted which warranted our removal from office,” he said.
Lomman faulted the action of the governor in dissolving the elected councils, pointing out that there were procedures for such action that were not adhered to.
The former Barkin Ladi Local Government Chairman advised the governor to “shun rumour mongers and sycophants out to mislead him and distract his attention from fulfilling the promises he made to Plateau people.’’
Reacting to Loman’s call, however, Mr Mark Longyen, the Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to Lalong, dismissed it as “a mere political denial of the fact.’’
“Calling for the publication of the document does not arise because it is at the discretion of the governor to do so when he likes,” he said.