As the report of the Justice James Oyomire (rtd)-led judicial commission of inquiry into the Edo State Special Hospital awarded by former Governor Adams Oshiomhole keeps generating mixed reactions, a group, Alliance for Collective Progress, yesterday called on the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to probe the alleged breach of the state’s Public Procurement Law in respect of the project.
The panel, raised in January this year by Governor Godwin Obaseki, had indicted the incumbent National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) of supposed violation of an extant regulation.
During a protest to the office of anti-graft agency in Benin City, leader of the assembly, Nehemiah Omogiate, said the call had become necessary “following the indictment of the former governor by a judicial commission of Inquiry.”
He added: “We are here to register our grievances concerning the multi-billion naira Edo Specialist Hospital, a project that President Muhammadu Buhari was ‘deceived’ to inaugurate four years ago.
“We are aware that the panel of inquiry set up by Governor Godwin Obaseki has submitted its report and in the report, the former governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole administration, was indicted.
“Up till now, EFCC has not done anything about it. So, we are here to ask EFCC to act now because no one individual should be bigger than the law.
“That hospital was commissioned four years ago without equipment. We learnt that the report indicted the former governor for mobilising the contractor with 75 per cent of the contract sum which exceeded the 25 per cent mobilisation fees for contractors.”
The protesters therefore implored the commission to investigate the alleged infraction as it relates to the construction and procurement of equipment for the medical institution in the interest of justice and accountability.
Head of Public Affairs, EFCC Benin Zonal Office, Williams Oseghale, advised the group to submit a written petition for further action. His words: “I have heard you, and I am going to take your message back to the management. But I advise that you also send us a written petition.
However, the Coalition of Civil Society Organisations for Good Governance and Internal Democracy has labelled the report as “blackmail and lacking merit.”
Briefing journalists yesterday in Benin City, the spokesperson, Solomon Idiogbe, contended that the composition of the investigative committee reflected from the outset “an underhand motive geared towards indicting and demeaning Oshiomhole.” He added that the constitution of the panel “is not in all intent and purpose in the best interest of the people of Edo State.”