Monday, 12 December 2016

Travail of a Benue Lawmaker Hon. Kester Kyenge

For Hon. Kester Kyenge, member representing Logo Constituency of Benue State in the state House of Assembly, it has been a difficult experience following his suspension from the Assembly over his call for an inquest into some opaque dealings by some members of the All Progressive Congress- controlled leadership of the Assembly.

Kyenge, who is a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member, was suspended for raising issues over alleged financial impropriety in the House. Trouble started for the lawmaker July this year at a session g of the Assembly, where Kyenge had raised dust over a contract awarded by the state government for the supply of 30 official vehicles for members at N13.9m each to MIA3, a company some members of the Assembly were alleged to have interest.

Rather than procure the said cars for members, some members of the leadership were alleged to have opted to shortchange members by compelling them to collect N10m each, N3.9m less than the contract amount for each vehicle, while they allegedly pocketed the remaining money.

Four members of the Assembly, including Kyange, refused to collect the money, insisting on the vehicles.

However, failure of the leadership to address the issue forced the four members to report the matter to the state governor, Samuel Ortom. The governor, according to Kyange, "intervened only to discover they had on our refusal to collect the said N10m squandered our entire entitlement. "

In a bid to ensure calm in the Assembly, the governor was said to have offered to pay N10m each to the four affected lawmakers to procure pre-owned vehicles like their colleagues.

The cause of Kyange suspension wasn't just entirely because of his call for a probe of the finances of the Assembly, also raised issues over the collapse of security in the state as at then. During the period, armed robberies and Kidnapping for ransom were taking place on a daily basis.

Outside the two issues he also sought clarification on how the state's share of the N15.5 billion bailout funds were expended. His call for inquisition obviously did not go down too well with some members of the ruling party for obvious reasons.

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