Lalong stresses legislature autonomy, warns on embezzlement

The Plateau state governor, SimonLalong, has said the autonomy of the legislative and judiciary arms of the government across the country was overdue, but warned members of the legislature on embezzling funds meant to run the autonomy process.

Lalong said this in Calabar on Friday during a valedictory session held in honour of a former speaker of the Cross River state House of Assembly, Mike Ogar, who died on August 30, 2021.

“In the course of this battle, some of our members were attacked, some Houses of Assembly burnt down. For instance, I was detained for 40 days. I thank God that the fight for the autonomy of the Houses of Assembly has finally seen the light of day. At least sixteen States are now implementing,” Lalong said.

Advising the leadership of the House not to misappropriate funds meant for the Assembly, he said “autonomy is not a licence to steal or sit on the privileges of other members who may not agree with the leadership of the House.”

Also speaking, Governor Ben Ayade said he had already given approval for autonomy to be fully implemented, and that he was sure that in no distant time, autonomy of the legislature would become the thing of the past.

In his remarks, the speaker, Cross River Assembly, Eteng William, said Ogar’s “giant strides are enough to motivate us to work harder and achieve more,” adding and that the “House of Assembly will always remember him for the unique, purposeful and dynamic leadership he introduced.”

The Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi; a former governor, Donald Duke; Senator Sandy Onor; more than 40 former state assemblies’ speakers, 45 former House members and many other dignitaries graced the event.