A coordinator nominee, Mr. Joseph Onwe for Ngbo East Development Center of Ohaukwu Local Government Area in the state has been accused of signature forgery and involvements in cult activities of Ayes fraternity to be precise.
The accusations were involved in a petition sent to the Ebonyi State House of Assembly signed by his ward PDP Chairman, Mr. Kenneth Eze, the ward councilor and woman leader and addressed to the Speaker and sent alongside evidence.
The petition was read by the Speaker to the hearing of the accused, during the development centers’ coordinators screening exercise.
The petition alleged that the coordinator nominee was sacked from the Judicial Service in the year 2017 for forging the signature of the state’s then-Chief Judge, Justice Alloy Nwankwo.
Reading the petition, it said in part: “The nominee chosen for Ngbo East, Onwe Joseph is not qualified at all. He is not qualified based on the following grounds: (1) he is a member of Ayes fraternity (2) he was sacked as a civil servant from Ebonyi State Judicial Service by a court of law in the year 2017. He was sacked for forging the Chief Judge’s signature claiming to be chief judge signing many documents on his own on many occasions. Meanwhile, assigning the position of a Coordinator to him shall lead to either forging the signature of the Governor Chief David Umahi or even that of Mr. President”.
In the words of the Speaker, “As a cultist, giving such a position of trust to him will lead to more insecurity in our development center and entire local government area. All the allegations have documents attached to prove them. Should I tell you the people that signed the petition? They are all well known Good Samaritans from your ward. Ordinarily, where a ward chairman for Ngbo, Kenneth Eze O., Ward Councillor and the Woman Leader signed the petition you are not supposed to be a coordinator. I mean in a very democratic situation. They attached all the evidence for my perusal. So put up your defense, convince us because having forged the signature of the chief judge and convicted by a court of law; you are not qualified to be confirmed by this House. A very sensible person doesn’t join a cult because if you do you are already in the grave”.
Responding, the nominee Mr. Onwe debunked the allegations, saying he was not a cultist, was not sacked from Ebonyi state judiciary but suspended indefinitely and he was not guilty as charged in 2017.
He responded thus: “Mr. Speaker I thank you very much for giving me the opportunity for defense. First of all, I am standing here in all sincerity to tell you that I am not a cultist. You know that this era of political elevation, evil people can go to any length to witch-hunt innocent people. On the issue of the sack by the judiciary, it is just a case like that of Joseph in the bible, they prosecuted me for nothing, for a case I do not know. Maybe because I am from nowhere. I was not sacked, I was only told that being suspended indefinitely”.
To that effect, Speaker Francis Nwifuru and other legislators through the motion moved by Chairman House Committee on Security, Public Petition, Justice, and Judiciary, Hon. Barr. Friday Nwuhuo stepped down his screening in order to embark on the intense investigation on the matter, since he failed to even seek redress in a competent court of justice since the pronouncement in 2017.
Consequently, out of the 64 development centers in the state only Ngbo East is without a coordinator to pilot its affairs as at the time of filing this report as other coordinators have been sworn in and assumed their official assignments in their various offices.