The Plateau State House of Assembly yesterday faulted the state government’s defense that it withdrew N150 million from the joint local government account to conduct local government elections, saying the House had appropriated N800 million for the state government to conduct the same election .

This development came up when the House committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs commenced probe of the alleged N3.7 billion diverted by the state government from the local government account.
The committee chaired by Amos Gombi demanded to know who in particular got the lump sum of the N150 million that was withdrawn from the council account purportedly for the election .

It also sought to know if the state government got the approval of the House before obtaining the N1.04 billion loans it took from a commercial bank in the state, and demanded a proof that such approval had been given by the House before it took the loan.
The committee also demanded for details of the loan including the terms and conditions for which it was obtained.
Responding,the Com-missioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Chris Hassan, said most of the transactions happened before his term in office.

He however maintained that the N1.04 billion loan was obtained with the consent of the then local government transition chairmen to pay salary arrears inherited by the present administration in the state.
He explained that the other withdrawals of N47.1 million, N106.1 million, N50 million and N150 million were for cash payments for local government staff

Meanwhile, there are indications that even though the Lawmakers have gone on recess, they may cut short the recess to proceed on the alleged impeachment move against Governor Jonah Jang.
This is even as quiet political meetings are holding to douse tension in the city. The House had in a statement signed by Hon Emmanuel Jugul that though it was proceeding on recess, it would not hesitate to re-convene if the need arises, a matters of urgent importance could come up before the recess is over.

It therefore cautioned its members to be attentive. Meanwhile, the state chairman of inter-religious council and Catholic arch bishop of Jos, Bishop Ignatius Kaigama, has called on Christians and the people of the state to reflect on the need for sound socio political order and religious harmony among citizens.

Kaigama made this appeal at the opening mass of the 8 th General Assembly of Catholic Archdiocese of Jos held at Fatima Cathedral Church with a theme ‘’ the challenges of political and religious conflict to the church on the Plateau .

He called on the Christians in the state to embrace peace and show love, as the antidote to the incessant crises in the state is unconditional love to one another.

Kaigama insisted that the people must appreciate religious harmony and dialogue over hostility and violence. He attributed the misuse of power and material resources to social deprivation in the country.

According to him the last Assembly of Catholic arch diocese of Jos dwelled on the prophetic role of the church in promoting the cardinal issues of justice and peace in the society. “And the choice of this year’s theme is to address the incessant crises in Plateau State that have been recurrent since 2001”.

He said ‘’politics and religion are gifts from God; while politics must create harmonious social order and good governance , the maintenance of law and order and the protection of the common good, religion on the other hand is expected to give internal spiritual purification and transformation”.

Guest speaker at the summit, Professor Shedrack Best of the University of Jos centre for conflict studies said the issue of political and religious conflict in state could be traced back to the era of British colonialism, adding that the problem of conflict in the state is the problem of Northern Nigeria by extension.

The Deputy Governor of the state Mrs Pauline Tallen, on her part commended the Archdiocese for the choice of the topic for the summit considering the challenges that are currently facing state.

She stressed that “we will not be tired of talking to ourselves and pleading to our conscience to be patience with one another and to learn to forgive as the greatest of all is love”.

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