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Published On: Thu, May 16th, 2013

Show of Shame: Delta State Council Boss, Secretary Fight over Alleged N73m SURE-P Allocation

Transition Committee Chairman of Ughelli South local government area Chief Anthony Oviri

By Brisibe Perez, Ughelli
LAGOS, MY 16TH (URHOBOTODAY) Both the Transition Committee Chairman of Ughelli South local government area Chief Anthony Oviri and Secretary to the local government Mr. Henry Tafri threw caution into durst bin yesterday as both leaders engaged themselves in what could be described as ‘Show of Shame’ over documents purportedly related to N73m Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE P) allocation to the local government.
It was reliably gathered that both leaders abandoned their domain and took the venue of their battle to Ughelli, Local Government Headquarter of Ughelli North, Delta State yesterday as both men were alleged to have engaged themselves in a free for all fight at the Coral Govina Hotel over alleged disagreement of funds from the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P).
Our correspondent gathered that, the Council Secretary who had lodged in the hotel belonging to a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the area was allegedly attacked by thugs said to be loyal to the Council Chairman in an attempt to compel him to forcefully sign a fraudulent executive minutes to cover up alleged financial malpractices which has been rocking the council.
A source within the hotel who spoke on anonymity stated that, “Mr. Tafri was overpowered by the thugs and beaten mercilessly prior to the arrival of his loyalist and sympathizers who later came to his rescue.”
When this reporter contacted Chief Uto, he said, “As an Ughelli chief, I don’t fight. The fine for that is N500, 000 and a cow of which I do not have that kind of money, besides, the hotel actually belongs to a renowned Ughelli chief, so, you do not expect me to do that. I just went to take the file he stole from my personal bedroom and that was all,” he added.
An aide to Chief Uto who confided in this reporter stated that, “The Chairman requested the photocopies and originals of all past minutes from the Secretary to be presented at the private residence of the Chairman in Ekiugbo, Ughelli.
“The Secretary on getting there handed the documents to the driver as the Chairman was not home. After about twenty minutes, the Secretary came back again and informed the driver that he wants the documents back.
“The driver refused insisting that he has taken them to the private room of the Chairman, he forcefully went inside the room and took the documents, as he was leaving the Chairman met him outside and asked him what he was doing with the documents, at this point the Secretary said he will explain later and jumped into a waiting Okada and ran away.
“The Chairman then ordered some boys to go after him and he followed too, on getting to his hotel room, he was about checking out. When the Chairman requested for the documents, he told the Chairman that he was a fool, angered by this the Chairman gave him a slap that was what happened.”
All calls to the mobile number of the Secretary were unanswered while SMS sent was not replied.
It could be recalled that N1.6billion was shared by LGs in the State as funds from the Federal Government’s SURE-P of which Ughelli South got N73million as its share.
In April this year, a group on the aegis of Movement for Good Governance had questioned Chief Uto in a petition brought before the State Government through on allegations of financial misappropriation, mismanagement of public funds to the tune of N25million meant for the council and breach of the Delta State Local Government Transition Committee Law 2011.
The group had also questioned the qualifications of Chief Uto and Mr. Tafri saying, “It is unfortunate that in the appointment of the Ughelli South Local Government Transition Committee members, this section of the law was grossly overlooked. Apart from the Vice Chairman, Miss Stella Ogigbah, who is a University graduate, the Transition Committee Chairman (Chief Oviri Uto) and Secretary (Mr. Henry Tafri) do not hold the prerequisite qualifications as stated.
“Consequent upon this anomaly, the current occupants of the above positions are carrying out the activities of governance in a bizarre manner as a testimony of their inadequacy and ill-preparedness for the duties which is far above their scope of experience. The administration of the Committee as it were, has been characterized by falsehood, thuggery and intimidation, all in a bid to cover up for their short-comings as Executive Chairman and Secretary respectively.
“It is indeed quite unfortunate that Ughelli South Local Government known for scholarly personalities and distinguished leaders of thought would be made to suffer such public shame and humiliation by this abnormally in the name of a Transition Committee,” it added.
Chief Uto had in a press briefing frantically refuted the claims by the group stating that, “Some individuals under the aegis of ‘Ughelli South Captains’ want money from me, of which I turned them down. They are the ones hiding under the guise of this group.”
On the allegation of not possessing the required qualification, Hon. Uto owned up to the allegation saying, “I did not tell anybody or present any paper to anyone that I am a graduate. Some of my friends in the Federal House of Representatives are school leavers, I know about five of them, what is the big deal with that?” He queried.

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