Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi has replaced the state former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Augustine Nwankwagu, 12 hours after sacking him.
Nwankwagu, a former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, was sacked on Thursday over “acts inconsistent with his office”.
Umahi, while swearing-in the new attorney general, Mr Cletus Ofoke, announced that the justice ministry under Nwankwagu, had performed poorly and incurred the people’s wrath in the process.
“The country’s president wrote to all the state governors on the need to decongest the prisons but I did not receive response from the justice ministry on the issue.
“I have issued the permanent secretary of the ministry a query and I believe that this and the new injections, would make him proactive.
“The justice ministry is the weakest of all the state’s ministries as I received series of complaints from judges, security agencies and the public over its activities,” he said.
Umahi alleged that the ministry did everything possible to tele-guide him in releasing hardened criminals without recourse to justice on the victims’ families and the society.
“There are cases that are supposed to be charged to court that were not done as the new commissioner should realize that he is presiding over men’s affairs and ensure justice to all.
“He should, in collaboration with his team, ensure that prisons in the state are decongested and ensure that the ministry is repositioned to gain public confidence,” he said.
He threatened to reduce the size of the state Executive Council (EXCO) because of, ‘incessant gossiping’ and laxity on the part of its members.
“Public offices are not for personal gains as the EXCO members complain that there is no money to gain from this government.
“I wonder the type of money they want when they are duly paid their salaries, allowances such as furniture allowance that they were not supposed to receive.
“I believe in reducing the size of EXCO because it is the cause of the gossiping and funny activities going on in it,” he said.
Prof. Bernard Odoh, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), noted that the change became imperative because of the poor performances of the justice ministry.
“This development is caused by poor leadership as the new commissioner and others appointed in the ministry have been tested and trusted to deliver equitably,” he said.
Ofoke, the new commissioner thanked the governor for appointing him into the position and pledged to justify the confidence reposed in him.
The governor also swore-in Mr Vincent Nwokpor as his Senior Special Adviser on Criminal Prosecution and Mr Paul Ugboloko as a member of the Local Government Area Advisory Committee.
The swearing-in ceremony was witnessed by the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Chief Francis Nwifuru and principal officers of the House who screened the appointees before the swearing-in ceremony.
Nwankwagu, the sacked commissioner had previously been suspended indefinitely in early 2017 for negligence of duty.