A social cultural group of concerned indigenes of Ebonyi state are demanding that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Engineer Babachir David Lawal, disclose how much of the state’s money their governor gave him as cash gift, The Union reports.
This is coming after Lawal was reported to have disclosed during a vote of thanks at a thanksgiving service held on October 17, in Abuja, that Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi state had made a gift of some cash to him after he had initially refused plan by the governor to send him some rice.
Part of his vote of thanks reads: “Another man who I just met recently; the man who read the second verse, David Umahi – what is your second name; whether Umuahia or something like that – really since the time we met, I don’t know why, our spirits locked on. And you see that he has been good; he is somebody I know that when am in trouble I can always run to him. This is a man; I don’t know but he is PDP; he’s Igbo but he sent a trailer load of rice to my governor for the IDPs in Adamawa state recently. May be he did not want me to say it.
“Again, one day I was just in my office looking and sounding broke, he just said ‘during the Sallah, I am going to send Ebonyi rice to you’. And I said I don’t want Ebonyi rice, I have too much rice in my house; I don’t even know what to do with the rice. So later his ADC comes and says oga sent me to you. And I said what is inside that thing and he said money and I said bring it my friend.”
The group however, as reported by The Union, said that it was giving President Muhammadu Buhari’s SGF 30 days to comply by disclosing the exact amount of money or face legal action, stressing that the money was given without budgetary approval and as such may have been an inducement.
The group in the petition dated November 11, 2015, and addressed to the SGF, titled ‘Request In Re: Freedom of Information Act’, believes that despite the fact that Lawal had openly spoken about the gesture, he should disclose fully what was given to him in the spirit of transparency and accountability so as to enable them put a check on the disbursement of state funds by the governor.
Meanwhile, fear has gripped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over alleged plans by two of its governors to dump the party for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).