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A petition alleging financial misconduct against Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State is generating heated debate in the state House of Assembly as members yesterday had a stormy plenary session, disagreeing over the credibility of the claims of the said petition.
Plateau Patriotic Front, a pressure group in the state, had filed a petition alleging financial misconduct running into billions of naira against the state, governor.
In a petition titled: ‘Allegation of Gross Misconduct against Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State,’ and signed by one Mr. Felix Obadiah, the group described the state House of Assembly as the “House of anything goes,” as it chronicled some financial transactions of the state government which it urged the assembly to investigate.
The Speaker of the assembly Hon. Titus Alams, at the sitting, notified the assembly of the petition before it and asked for comment from members, saying the controversial petition had been causing ripples both within and outside the government.
In his contribution, a member representing Dengi constituency, Hon. Wokdung Abbas, said the allegations raised in the petition were weighty and capable of rubbishing the assembly and the government if not properly handled and investigated.
“Having carefully read through the petition, the contents are too weighty to be ignored. In the petition, the assembly is more hit because the petitioner called us names and also alleged that we have been bribed by the governor not to check the government
“The assembly must get to the bottom of this petition in the interest of the entire people of the state. We also need to probe the allegation to clear our names. The petitioners said we are clueless, docile and praise singers of government. So we need to clear our names as an assembly,” he said.
But Abbas was interrupted by his colleague from Jos South constituency, Hon. Dalyop Mancha, who argued against the petition.
The obstruction divided the assembly as a cross section of members queried why the first speaker should be interrupted and the second speaker recognised.
The uproar created by the interjection forced the speaker to adjourn the sitting to another day to prevent the situation from degenerating further since the deliberation had polarised the lawmakers.
The speaker in his ruling declared thus: “It is obvious from the point of order raised that some members have not been served copies of the petition and it will not be fair to talk over it, we have to adjourn the sitting to discuss the issue at another sitting.”
Members who wanted the petition to be discussed were infuriated by the speaker’s position.
Hon. Istifanus Mwansat from Pankshin North constituency frowned on the manner the speaker handled the matter, saying the petition should have been read before the assembly and the discussion shifted to another date.
An aggrieved member who spoke with journalists shortly after the sitting, Hon. Abduallhi Ladan Garkuwa, from Mangu South constituency, said the petition was already a public document and wondered why the speaker frustrated attempt to discuss it.
He added that the speaker’s position that some members had not been served was just a ploy to frustrate members from discussing the issue.
“My annoyance is that the speaker has forced the assembly to adjourn without reading the petition but these kind of scandal is not the type we can sweep under the carpet; we must discuss it or we are not worth our value as legislators,” he said.