Ikuku vs Ikpeazu: Assembly Slams Abia Govt Over ‘Environmental Decay’, Summons ASEPA

In what could be described as a move against the Okezie Ikpeazu led Abia State Government, the Abia State House of Assembly has summoned Hon. Victor Apugo, the General Manager of the Abia State Environmental Protection Agency, ASEPA and Chief Rowland Nwakanma, the Deputy General Manager, Aba zone to appear before it on Wednesday.

This followed a motion raised by member representing Umuahia North State Constituency, Hon. Kelechi Onuzuruike during Tuesday's plenary on alleged poor waste management in Umuahia and Aba by the agency.

Supporting the motion, member representing Umuahia South State Constituency, Hon. Jerry Uzosike said the agency had been generating much revenue for the state government but hadn't done “the needful.”

But some members of the State Assembly have disagreed with the House, alleging that the Speaker plan on using the agency to settle “scores” with the state government. 

We had  reported that the Abia Assembly is headed by Rt. Hon. Chinedum Orji (Ikuku) as Speaker. Orji is son of former governor of the state, Senator T. A. Orji.

A lawmaker of the Abia Assembly, who craved anonymity, said that the speaker is believed to have governorship ambition in 2023. 

“Mr. Speaker has a personal interest in this issue. From what we have observed so far, it's not just about the said refuse but some personal issues with the governor. 

“I think the issue started right from when he declared intentions to contest the Speakership position.”

On his part, a lawmaker from Abia Central, said his colleagues from the said Aba Constituency refused to contribute to the motion when it was brought to the House because they are also aware of the issues. 

“You see, when my colleague raised the motion and made mention of Aba, our colleagues from the zone never contributed to it because they too are aware of the politics they are trying to play.”

He alleged that lawmakers from Umuahia had cause to contribute to the motion because they had been ’sorted out' by sponsors of the motion.

Another lawmaker, who did not want his name mentioned, lamented what he described as witch-hunting on the part of the Assembly, saying, “the governor had assured the House, last week, of maximum cooperation and support when he also promised to procure new trucks for the agency.”

“The issue of refuse is not the main thing, I have asked my colleagues not to hide under ‘oversight function’, in fighting the state government.

“Remember we (the House) had passed a bill which permits ASEPA to generate funds for the state government. The House leadership is angry that the agency had not regarded them since the bill was successfully passed.”

Contacted by reporters, an official of the Abia State Environmental Protection Agency, ASEPA, dismissed the notion that the agency had not lived up to its responsibilities. 

He accused the Abia State Assembly of being insincere, alleging that the House leadership had wanted some “favours” from the agency.

“That is not true. You can see things for yourself, I believe you are a journalist and know what is right. 

“We know what is going on, at the right time, we all we speak. But I assure you, we will never succumb to their threats and pressures.”

He assured that ASEPA led by Hon. Victor Apugo, would always stand by the people and do what is right, insisting that “the agency has always lived up to its responsibilities.”

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