Alleged N2bn entitlements: lawmakers hold Okorocha to ransom

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Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo State

With less than two months to the expiry of the government of Owelle Rochas Okorocha, Imo legislators are poised for a show down with the outgoing governor.

The major issue at stake is the payment of their outstanding entitlements which records allegedly put at whooping N2bn arising from different sources.

Daily Nigerian Horn investigations revealed that some of the sources from which the debts arose are four years Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state to which the lawmakers are entitled to a certain proportion accrued.

It was also gathered that the legislators are entitled to a certain percentage of the bailout funds received by the state from the federal government.

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The state reportedly may have received about three tranches of the funds but payments to the lawmakers were not respected.

There are also other allowances due to the legislators including the payment of the constituency projects allowances for which at point in the time past they threatened not to pass the state budget
Watching the trend of things as the time ticks away, the lawmakers felt that if no serious action is taken to recover the money they may leave office short changing themselves playing the ‘good boys’.

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They felt that the only way to secure the payment is by holding Okorocha to ransom through calling to question some of his other infractions. This was what filtered as the widely reported impeachment.

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Bemoaning their fate, most of the lawmakers regretted that they are still living in rented apartments. The situation appears worse for the legislators who are not returning to the assembly because majority of them failed re-elections.

They had feared the fate that awaits them outside the legislature.

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Besides, the few among them who got re-elected have no money to settle debts incurred in the process or prosecute the legal issues that are trailing their victories at the tribunal.

Whichever way it is looked at the Imo lawmakers are cash strapped and need funds desperately to come back to life.

Following their threats and in recognition of the implications for him, Okorocha invited about 17 of them to Abuja for a parley on the matter.

Daily Nigerian Horn investigations again revealed that Okorocha has promised to part with N400m in settlement of the outstanding.

This has not gone down well with them but majority of them elected to take what has been presented which continuing the agitations.

It was considered risky not to hold on to the funds promised them even as they ask for more. If the 400m naira is shared among the 17 legislators each would be going home with about N24m.

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It is not certain if the other legislators considered as renegades and not invited to Abuja would share in the benefits.

Feelers from political observers indicate that they are not in sympathy with the legislators who with their eyes wide open walked themselves into the problem by yielding their powers to Okorocha who bayed his fangs to hit hard on Imolites including the legislators.

We are watching how the drama may end if they will still hold the governor by the jugular or allow him to go.

Horn Nigeria

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