APC seeks legal advice on cars held by ex-Speaker

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Alexander Okere, Benin

The Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress has said it is awaiting legal advice from the state Attorney-General on the official vehicles attached to office of the Speaker of the House of Assembly, which a former Speaker of the House, Mrs. Elizabeth Ativie, has allegedly converted to her personal use.

Ativie, who represents Uhunmwode Constituency, was impeached as the Deputy Speaker on August 16 by 19 members of the House for alleged gross misconduct.

She was directed by the Clerk of the House, Mr James Omoataman, to return to the Assembly her official vehicles, comprising a 2016 Lexus jeep, one Prado jeep and two Hilux vans.

But the suspended lawmaker through her lawyer on August 16 told the House the vehicles were given to her for personal use by the immediate past governor, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, for the sacrifices she made for the peace of the state.

The state Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Dan Orbih, had at press briefing on Sunday accused the state government of planning to conceal the matter.

Orbih also petitioned the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission, urging it to investigate the issue.

Orbih had said, “Just days ago, information reached us that the Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, and members of his party in Edo State have concluded plans to sweep the matter under the carpet, saying they are going to treat it as an internal affair of the APC. The vehicles in question belong to the state government and not the APC.”

But the state Publicity Secretary, Mr. Chris Azebamwan, noted that though the party had initially tried to resolve the issue politically, the legal step taken by the lawmaker had prompted it to toe the path of legal action.

He said, “So having then transcended from a political platform to a legal platform, the only sensible option for us as a party was to refer the matter to the state Attorney-General, who is the legal adviser to the state government and House of Assembly, to give us a legal position on this matter.

“Any insinuation or allusion that Governor Obaseki is trying to treat it as a purely internal matter is not just being mischievous but being economical with the truth.”

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