George Onyejiuwa and Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
Seven lawmakers, elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday and yesterday, boycotted sittings of the Imo State House of Assembly allegedly over discrepancies in payment of their salaries and allowances.
Daily Sun also gathered that allowances of the minority leader, his deputy and minority whip were not paid by the government.
PDP lawmakers, Okey Onyekanma (former deputy speaker), Anyadike Nwosu, Frank Ugboma, Philip Ejiogu, Paschal Okorie, Tochi Okereke and Solomon Anukam, accused Governor Hope Uzodimma of playing politics of vindictiveness.
It was gathered that the slashed salaries and allowances of the opposition lawmakers were allegedly shared by All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers.
PDP lawmakers, in a statement, yesterday, said the state government was clamping down on opposition in the state.
Describing as unlawful, the slashing of their salaries and allowances, they said they would not be deterred from speaking truth to power.
The lawmakers demanded their salaries and allowances be paid to them in full.
When contacted, the House Committee Chairman on information, Dominic Ezerioha, said he was not aware that the allowances of the opposition lawmakers were slashed.
He also denied the slashed allowances of the opposition lawmakers were shared by APC lawmakers.
Ezerioha said he received the amount he had been getting from the Assembly.
According to him, bank statements will show the amount each lawmaker receives.
Meanwhile, the state government yesterday revealed why the Somtochukwu Hospital, built by former governor Rochas Okorocha to replace the Eke-Ukwu market, was demolished.
Briefing newsmen on the development, Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Simon Ebegbulem, said the building was pulled down to avert a looming disaster.
According to him, the building, after being checked by a team of engineers, was discovered to be built with substandard materials. Ebegbulem also disclosed the building had no master plan.
He said the building would have been allowed to stand, but the cracks on the pillars and other parts of the building were too much of a risk to take. Even as he said the 1,000 bed space claimed by Okorocha as the capacity of the hospital, is false.
“It was a horrible place, it is a disaster waiting to happen, can you believe the place was built with substandard materials, the pillars were already cracking, we don’t want to have another death of Somtochukwu in our hands, our governor values life and that was why he ordered that the structure should be demolished.
“We have read comments by former governor Okorocha saying the state government demolished a 1,000 bed space, as usual, this is one in his too numerous blatant lies that even himself will find hard to believe. Most importantly, the building is not even in the greater Owerri master plan,” Ebegbulem said.
Meanwhile, Managing Director of Amanda Groups, Obinna Obi, the construction company handling the project has disclosed the project will gulp N7 billion.
While promising to do a good job, he disclosed the project will be completed in 18 months.
Similarly, Owerri Nchise President Generals Chairman, Ben Osuji, said the new market with over 1,800 stalls is a relief to the people of Owerri, especially those that lost their means of livelihood when Okorocha demolished the market.