For the third time, the Chairman of Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority, (ECTDA), Hon. Josef Onoh, has declined to honour an invitation from the Enugu State House of Assembly special committee set up to look into allegations of extortion and other related matters in the Enugu Capital Territory.
The Commissioner for Lands and Urban Development, Dr. Victor Nnam, also shunned the house committee’s summons.
However, addressing newsmen over the cold shoulders they received from the two public servants, the House Committee Chairman on Information, Hon. Jeff Mbah, who is also a member of the special committee, said that they would go ahead with their onerous task of harmonising revenue collection in the Capital Territory, their invited two public officers obduracy not withstanding.
Mbah also said that they would report back to the committee of the whole house that would come up with the appropriate punishment to be meted to the duo that refused to honour their official invitation as a legislative house empowered under Section 109 (1,2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to summon public officers for accountability.
“We have resolved to go ahead with the harmonisation of revenue collection. Onoh and Nnam chose to ignore our invitation, however because we have a time limit, we are going ahead to complete our job,” Mbah said.
He appreciated other public officers that honoured their invitation.
Speaking earlier, the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Uche Ugwu while addressing staff of the Capital Territory Development Authority that appeared before the committee instead of the chairman of the Capital Territory, Onoh, said that it was unfortunate that their chairman could not come in person.
Ugwu said they specifically invited the Chairman, Hon. Onoh not his delegation.
He lamented that Onoh turned down their invitation on three occasions by giving excuses.
According to him, the ECTDA boss at their first invitation said he was attending a due process training and that the second time he said that he was having a meeting with the governor while this third and last time, he wrote them through his lawyer that he was having health challenge.
Piqued by the outright refusal to answer to their summons, Ugwu lamented that they were not out to witch hunt anybody but to find out the roles the staff of their organisations have been playing in revenue collection in the Capital Territory.
“The citizens, residents and investors are crying out against double taxation and exorbitant revenue. We have met with some others we invited in the course of our duty.
“This is an arm of government. We are not here on our own. We are not here to witch hunt anybody. We want to make the state investor friendly, ” Ugwu explains, while lamenting the inability of the two government official’s shunning of their invitation.
It could be recalled that Onoh seemed to have deliberately avoided the House Committee because of a sad experience he allegedly had in the past as he accused the house committees of extorting the Agency and demanding financial gratification.
Onoh did not stop at that as he went on social media to smear the Committee especially the head of the Special Committee, Hon. Chinedu Nwamba, who he pointedly accused of demanding financial inducement from his agency to do their statutory oversight functions.