The Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, has instructed the State Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs to commence criminal prosecution of council chairmen who were sacked over corruption allegations.
The governor said this in Benin on Thursday at the swearing-in of the chairman for Esan West local government, Mrs. Ruth Osahon.
According to him, his administration would not turn a blind eye to corrupt practices at the local council level.
He said: “We have seen a trend where a few local council chairmen have not lived up to expectations. As a government that is people-focused and have made a promise to the people, we will not be afraid to take the right decisions where necessary.”
He urged the new chairman to cooperate with relevant authorities as they carryout investigation into the records of the sacked chairman of the council, Patrick Aguinede.
He said it was disheartening that the council with so much economic activity was among councils owing backlog of workers’ salaries.
Obaseki charged Mrs. Osahon to ensure payment of backlog of salary arrears owed the council workers within 12 months.
“Esan West council should be able to pay its workforce as it hosts a state university, which attracts a lot of business activity. There is no justification why Esan West local council should not be able to collect enough revenue to pay salaries and pensions and carry out other activities as a council,” he said.
It would be recalled that four local government chairmen, namely; Musa Yakubu (Etsako West), Momoh Aremiyau (Etsako East), Patrick Aguinede (Esan West) and Eghe Ogbemudia(Egor), have been sacked by the state government over alleged corruption and abuse of office.