The appointment of Mr. Victor Apugo as the General Manager (GM) of Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA) would most likely be brought to an abrupt end as Governor Okezie Ikpeazu moves to sack him this week.
Apugo was said to have succeeded his elder brother, Martins Apugo, but become a monumental failure, in the discharge of his duties despite receiving monthly subventions from government.
Already, keen watchers of Victor Apugo in Abia State Government House said he had been jittery in recent times and nursing fears that he would be fired this week.
A source said, “It is only a matter of days before Governor Ikpeazu fires Victor Apugo. Stakeholders and commentators in Abia politics are unanimous in demanding his immediate sack or resignation to pave way for his investigation for diversion of funds meant for sanitation in Umuahia.”
A former senior government official said that since his appointment as GM of ASEPA, Apugo has shown lackadaisical attitude to the task of cleaning up the city but had instead been buying exotic cars and traveling monthly out of the country as soon as he receives subventions from the government.
According to the source, since the issues around non-performance of Apugo is within public domain, Governor Ikpeazu, who was himself former Deputy General Manager of ASEPA in Aba, has resorted to sack him.
“There has been pressure before now on the governor to sack him. But the governor who has been making excuses for him, thinking he would change, has made up his mind to sack him.”
Sources told journalists that that Apugo was summoned by the Abia State House of Assembly to explain why Umuahia, the state capital and its environs were overtaken by heaps of refuse.
He was said to have touched the tail of the proverbial python when he shunned the parliamentary summon but issued a statement accusing governor Ikpeazu of starving ASEPA of funds.
Apugo in the statement by his Media Aide, Vincent Ogbonnaya, entitled: “Without prejudice, when not to play politics, ASEPA in focus”, said under Chief Cosmos Ndume, a whooping N200 million and above were being released monthly to ASEPA as monthly subvention.
He had said, “Under Hon. Martins Apugo, monthly subvention came to about N66 million to N70 monthly considering the carving out of ASEPA Aba Zone. Under Hon Victor Apugo, it started revolving around N22 million till date. A curious person should remember that at the time subvention was about N200 million, the price of diesel was below N100 per liter.
“Under Martins Apugo, diesel was a little above N100 per liter. Now that the price of diesel sells at N220 per liter, the monthly subvention is N22 million per month. How do one justify paying both permanent and contract staff, buying tyres, servicing compactors and the ad-hoc staff cum sweepers?”
But in swift reactions, the two former GMs of ASEPA, Cosmos Ndukwe and Marthins Apugo refuted the claims by Victor Apugo.
While describing his younger brother’s claims as false, Marthins Apugo, who was also the All Progressive Congress (APC) House of Representatives candidate for Ikwuano/Umuahia Federal Constituency during the 2019 election, said he was receiving N22 million monthly and not N70 million as claimed by his brother.
Also, another former GM of ASEPA and the immediate past Deputy Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Cosmos Ndukwe, also denied the claims made by the current ASEPA boss, describing it as “outright falsehood.”
“The highest subvention I received as ASEPA GM for the seven years I spent as GM was no more than N6.5 million (Umuahia) and N13.5 million (Aba) for a single month totaling M20 million”, he explained.