Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has offset the 20-month salary arrears owed some categories of traditional chiefs in central senatorial district of Kwara State.
Saraki represents the district in the National Assembly.
The payment of the salary arrears of the affected traditional chiefs by Saraki might not be unconnected with the inability of the local government councils that make up the senatorial district to meet their financial obligations because of the drastic shortfalls in their allocations from the federation account.
Â The affected local government councils are Ilorin East, Ilorin South and Asa.
The 220 affected traditional chiefs received a total sum of N49,438,000
The beneficiaries received their arrears at a brief ceremony held at Sarakiâ€™s constituency office in Ilorin, the state capital yesterday.
Addressing the district heads, the Director- General of the constituency office, Alhaji Musa Abdullahi, who represented Saraki at the event, said the senate president undertook the payment in order to provide succour for the district heads.
Saraki said he was concerned by the plight of the communityâ€™s heads and decided to set up a committee to look into the issue and acted promptly on the committeeâ€™s recommendation to pay the 20 monthsâ€™ salary arrears to the monarchs.
Saraki noted that the district heads are the eyes of the community and advised them to continue to support him to enable him attract more dividends of democracy to the state.
Releasing the stipends to the monarchs, the Chairman of Advisory Council of the ABS Constituency Office, AlhajiÂ AbdulRaheem Olesin, said the Senate President decided to offset the arrears toÂ alleviate the sufferings of the traditional rulers.
He said as the custodian of customs and heritage, the senate president holds the traditional institution in high esteem.
Responding on behalf of the traditional rulers in Ilorin East, the Alangua Ibagun, Alhaji Jimoh Alabi, said they were elated with the gesture of the senate president, saying this would reduce their sufferings drastically.
Also speaking on behalf of traditional rulers from Ilorin South, the Magaji Mosudo, Alhaji Saliu Mohammed, said after the meeting of the Forum of Magajis and Alanguas, the Emir of Ilorin demanded for their list and promised to talk to the senate president on the payment of their salary arrears.
According to him, he was surprised with the step taken by Saraki, saying majority of them had lost hope on the payment of the salary arrears.
He thanked Saraki for solely taking up the responsibility of paying them their backlog of salary arrears.