Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
Bauchi State Governor, Mohammed Abubabakar, has denied reports that he misused the N8.6 billion bailout fund given to the state by the federal government.
Speaking with State House Correspondents after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Aso Rock, the governor said the fund was utilised for the purpose for which it was given.
He said the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) both at the national level and the Bauchi State branch had commended him for utilising the fund to take care of workers’ salaries.
He said when he was away abroad a week ago some members of the House of Representatives and Senate led by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara went to the headquarters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to report him to the party.
He said: “In the process, they made some spurious allegations which I feel it’s appropriate to let the president know first hand evidence regarding all the allegations they made against me.
“Major among the allegations is that I misapplied the bailout funds and I thought that was a matter of common knowledge in Nigeria. ICPC investigated the bailout and gave a report in which it said Bauchi State utilised all funds but N165 million. I wrote to them to check their facts again. I utilised all but N88 million out N8.6 billion and shortly before I left for China and Hong Kong the Vice Chancellor of the state university came to me that he has a back log of salaries which I gave an approval of N70 million out of N88 million, all in all Bauchi State has utilised N8.6 billion remaining N18m which is in a dedicated account
“I have documented evidence to prove and will give it to anybody who is interested. The NLC both at the state and national level sent me a letter of commendation on the bailout funds.
“A little over a month ago, civil society groups in Abuja had a meeting with all the governors that utilised the bailout funds and it was only me that attended, I opened up my books to them that I have utilised the funds very well.”
The governor said in terms of salary payment he was among the best.
According to him, in Bauchi, the state civil servants are owed just one month salary while local governments are owed two months.
The governor said he had not reduced salary and had been paying the minimum wage and above the minimum wage.
He said: “I pay N18,500. This has been going on and I have documentary evidence to prove. When NLC called out a strike in support of Nasarawa, Bauchi workers did not strike.
“My problem with Dogara started during the elections of the leadership of the National Assembly. I stood on the side of the party, I said every Bauchi lawmaker should tow the line of the party,you know that Bauchi has a candidate but I said irrespective of that we should tow the line of the party. At that 9 out of 11 did that. Later the candidate of Bauchi won and it’s common knowledge. Now in a position to dispense favours and all the lawmakers went to his side. The fact is politics in Bauchi State is played in Abuja and not in Bauchi, the people of the state are intact with the party.”
He said he was open to reconciliation and that some elders in the state were trying to reconcile the warring factions.