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Constituency Fund; Ex-Lawmaker Exposes Fraud In Kogi Assembly

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Former member of Kogi State House of Assembly, Elder Friday Sani Makama has accused the leadership of the House of fraudulent management of constituency fund meant for Igalamela-Odolu constituency.

Speaking with our reporter on Saturday, the former lawmaker alleged that ten million naira meant for Igalamela-Odolu was criminally withdrawn in 2018 by a company reportedly linked to the Deputy Governor of the state, Chief Edward Onoja.

He added that another five million Naira meant for Igalamela-Odolu constituency was “criminally released one Dare Folashayo” in 2017.

These constituency funds, according to the former lawmaker, were meant for people who are in dire need of development.

“These funds were criminally released to company belonging to Edward Onoja and a front.

Throughout this period, I was forced out of the House of Assembly despite Court rulings nullifying my purported suspension.

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“In its ruling in January 2019, the Supreme Court quashed my ill-conceived suspension and ordered that I be reinstated into the House. The Apex Court also awarded one million naira each to all the parties involved in the matter. In addition, the Supreme Court ordered the immediate payment of all my outstanding salaries and allowance.

“Despite the Supreme Court judgement, the House, working hand-in-hand with the state government, has refused to pay my outstanding salaries and allowances because the funds meant for that has been embezzled.

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“The company that was paid N10million from my constituency fund, E.J. Jemdee Nigeria Limited, is owned by Edward Onoja, the deputy governor of Kogi state. His brother, Onoja Emmanuel Joshua is a registered shareholder in the company. Onoja Emmaniel Joshua is the current State Secretary of All Progressives Congress in Kogi state.

“The N5million dubiously paid to one Dare Folashayo was a hatchet job by the Speaker, Hon. Kolawole Matthew,” he alleged.

Elder Makama showed this reporter the corporate search report on the company, E.J Jemdee Nigeria Limited that confirmed that Onoja Emmanuel Joshua actually holds majority shares in the firm. He also gave this reporter the original copies of Kogi State Government payment vouchers as evidence of payment of constituency funds meant for the former lawmaker to the beneficiaries.

Kogi State House of Assembly had on Tuesday 28th March, 2017 suspended Makama on matters relating to anti-legislative activities.

This followed a matter of public importance in the House raised by Hassan Abdullahi Bello of Ajaokuta Constituency, who accused Makama of bringing the image of the House to public disrepute.

However, the Supreme Court of Nigeria, on Friday January 18, 2019, ordered his reinstatement.

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The Apex court also ordered the immediate payment of all outstanding salaries and allowance of the member representing Igalamela Odolu Constituency, Comrade Friday Sani Manama.

It could be recalled that a similar judgement was given in favour of the Kogi lawmaker when a Kogi High Court sitting in Lokoja on June 29th 2017 set aside the suspension of Friday Sani Makama by the state House of Assembly.

Justice Henry Olusuyi, in his judgment delivered in Lokoja, described the suspension of the lawmaker as an act of legislative insolence which would not be allowed by any competent court of jurisdiction.

The court maintained that the March 28 suspension of the lawmaker following which he approached the court to seek redress was “invalid, illegal and unconstitutional”.

Olusuyi held that the claimant had the right to sue the first defendant (Kogi House of Assembly) if he felt the legislature unjustly suspended him.

He noted that a member could however be suspended when found wanting under the provisions of the House Rules 37 to 39, which according to him, is not related to the case in view.

The judge therefore ordered that the rights and privileges as well as entitlements of the claimant as a member of the House be given to him.

Olusuyi however held that the House or the party had the preserve to appoint principal officers of the Assembly, especially that of the minority leader.


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