North local government of Delta State was yesterday mercilessly beaten up in a hotel by the transition committee.
Also beaten up as they shared the monthly allocation accruing to the council were the secretary, one Mr. Onwuka, as well as the council treasurer and the Head of Personnel Management (HPM)
Trouble, it was gathered, started when the councilors were tipped-off that the chairman, secretary, treasurer and the acting female HPM were hiding in one of the rooms at Dove Hart Hotel at the Issele-Uku headquarters of the council allegedly sharing the monthly allocation without their participation.
An impeccable council source told our correspondent that as soon as the angry councilors arrived at the hotel, they forcibly opened the door to the room where the illicit deal was allegedly taking place. The source said the four council officials were seen seated dismantling the allocation and the visibly angry councilors gave them the beating of their lives. In the process, the Secretary received head injuries and was rushed to a nearby clinic by witnesses.
According to a member of the hotel staff, shortly after the beatings were suitably delivered, men of the Issele-Uku police station arrived at the scene and arrested the councilors along with the chairman, treasurer and the HPM. They were taken to the station and statements obtained from them.
Our correspondent gathered that it took the intervention of the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Mr. Victor Ochei who is still away in the United States of America on a training course, along with other prominent indigenes of the local government, to bring the matter under control and taken from the police station.
It was also learnt that there had been a cold war between the chairman and some of the councilors who alleged that the chairman was not carrying them along in the scheme of things, especially in financial matters.
Speaking to our correspondent on the phone, one of the angry councilors disclosed that the embattled Chukwuedo, who was allegedly planted as the transition committee council chairman by Ochei, has fraudulently introduced the concept of “built-in” salary, the proceeds of which he discreetly shares with the three council officials.
Explaining what is meant by “built-in” salary, the councilor described it as the fraudulent smuggling of fictitious names into the council’s pay roll. In practice, as soon as the allocation arrives, the chairman and his cohorts would deduct the illegal salaries, running into millions of Naira and shared it. He alleged that the manipulation has been going on for several months.
Also contacted on phone, the embattled chairman denied the story, saying he was at the police station for a different issue.
Two councilors who simply gave their names as Mrs. Egbe and Mr. Buggy confirmed the story to our correspondent on the phone and promised to call back for more details which they never did at as the time of going to press.
Since the incident happened, the acting Chief Press Secretary to the speaker, Mr. Nkem Osu, have been mounting pressure and pleading with a section of the press to drop the story with a promise that as soon as the speaker returns from his leadership training in the USA, they would be “appreciated.”