Okey Sampson, Umuahia
Barely one month after sacking the Commissioner for Transport, Ekele Nwaohanmuo, Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has approved the immediate suspension of the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr Patrick Irokansi.
A statement by the Chief of Staff (CoS) to the Governor, Anthony Agbazuere, directed the suspended Permanent Secretary to hand over to the most senior director in the Ministry without delay.
No reason was given for the governor’s action as was the case with that of the Commissioner.
However, prior to the commissioner’s sacking, the state chairman of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Eugene Eze Job, had accused him of imposing illegal levies and forced each member of okada units in the state to pay a daily fee of N600 for registration and N500 for road rehabilitation.
‘How can Okada operators be charged N600 daily and another N500 which they said is for road rehabilitation? The Commissioner for Transport collects money to create loading units everywhere. Those who refuse to pay the illegal tolls are assaulted by thugs. This is why the Okada riders are fighting daily. He also imposed non Okada operators and thugs to lead the Okada riders,’ he told journalists.
Nwaohanmuo, while totally denying the allegations, described Eze Job as lawless man, who refused to obey regulations guiding the transport industry in the State.
It was not however clear whether it was the fallout of the accusation and counter accusations that have consumed the Commissioner and his Permanent Secretary in the Transport Ministry.