Embattled chairman of Shiroro local government, Mr Suleiman Chukuba.

By Akawu Ibrahim

A three man investigation panel to sit over a petition of misconduct and corruption leveled against the suspended chairman of Shiroro local government, Mr Suleiman Chukuba, has been set up.

A source at the Ministry of Justice confided in Newsline that the Governor’s directive to the Commissioner of Justice and Attorney General of the state to set up the panel to unravel the truth surrounding the allegations had been carried out.

The source, who pleaded that his identify should not be disclosed, further confirmed that the secretariat to record proceedings have also been set up. These however he said, were yet to be inaugurated because the governor was not in town.

He said until they were inaugurated, the terms of reference and names of the members of the panel would then be disclosed to the members of the public. But he assured that the panel would soon be inaugurated to put to rest the crisis in the local government.

Last week, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mrs Mary Noel Berje, in an interview with an online Newspaper (not Newsline) disclosed that Governor Abubakar Sani Bello had directed the Commissioner of Justice to set up the three man panel of inquiry to investigate the allegations levelled against the chairman as demanded by law.

She said the governor would not allow such allegations of financial misappropriation and corruption against a public officer to be swept under the carpet. She said the governor has zero tolerance for corruption.

“The Niger state government under the leadership of Abubakar Sani Bello will not fold its arms to allow the allegation against the chairman go uninvestigated in order to unravel the true position of things and serve as deterrent to others,” she said.

He then directed the chairman to step aside to allow for unhindered investigation into the allegations.

The Shiroro local government councillors had on 29th December, 2020 suspended their chairman after accusing him of misappropriating N274m. They alleged that both the tenement rate paid by Electricity Company amounting to N100m and a Bank loan to the tune of N174m has been misappropriated by the chairman.

Newsline had reported last week that the Councillors had written to the governor reminding him to uphold the law by setting up the panel. They said by section 31 (3) of the Local Government Law 2012, the governor was mandated to set up a panel to investigate allegations of misconduct against the chairman.

Mr Suleiman Chukuba however said his suspension and removal did not follow due process.

He said his political adversaries in his political zone were up at arms against him because they failed to secure the party’s tickets during the 2019 elections therefore, accused him of playing a role in their defeat.

Yesterday, the Vice Chairman of the Council, Mr. Isyaku Bawa has taken over as the Acting Chairman.