- Fund was budgetary allocation for capital projects, state govt replies
Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano
Kano State Civil Society Groups yesterday called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe the state Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, for allegedly withdrawing N235,500,000, from the state government treasury ahead of the supplementary election due in nine days’ time.
But in a swift reaction, the state Commissioner for Local Government, Murtala Sule Garo, described the allegation as politically-motivated to dent the government image, stressing that the fund was part of budgetary allocations meant for capital projects in the state.
The groups stated this in a petition to the anti-graft agency yesterday titled: ‘Petition against Kano State Government over attempt to buy votes ahead of the March 23, 2019, rRerun gubernatorial election in Kano’.
The petition signed by Co-conveners of the group, Kabiru Saidu Dakata and Abdulrazaq Alkai, urged the crime commission to probe the suspicious withdrawal.
According to them, “We wish to draw your attention to a suspicious withdrawal ofN235,500,000, from Kano State Government treasury through the Ministry for Local Governments.”
They also alleged that “the said amount has been allocated to different local governments where INEC is scheduled to hold the re-run election in the state.
“The coalition is aware of the effort your commission in curbing the menace of vote buying, especially by encouraging Nigerians to report incidents of votes buying to your commission, either through the already shared phone numbers or through other means.”
The Kano based CSOs explained in the petition that “it is in recognition of EFCC’s commitment to curb this menace that this information is contained in a leaked document dated March 12, 2019, that is now available in the public domain.”
They also alleged that “on March 13, 2019, arrests of some votes buying agents have been made in some communities where gubernatorial re-run election will take place, and some of those agents confirmed that they were working for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, as one of them confirmed on a popular local radio programme in Kano last Wednesday.” The groups appealed to “EFCC to investigate this matter, while also putting some measures in those communities to ensure that votes buying, before and during the election, does not influence the gubernatorial re-run election in the state.”
They, therefore, assured EFCC of its commitment to continue to support the efforts of the commission to curb votes buying and any other form of corruption in the state and Nigeria at large.
However, in a swift reaction, the state Commissioner for Local Government, Murtala Sule Garo, refuted the claim, insisting that the groups are political motivated to dent the image of the government.
Murtala told THISDAY in Kano that no money was allocated to compromise election, explaining that the money released was part of budgetary allocation to fund capital projects.
Dismissing the claim that the funds was released specifically to places where rerun will hold, the commissioner posited that only nine local councils benefited out of the 30 areas where rerun will hold.
“It is not true and it gross misinformation. The money released is part of normal allocation from government treasury since both state government and local council operate joint account.
“We need not to buy votes because the people are already with the state government. And if they say we released money to compromise election, the allocation was meant for 13 LGA’s, and out of these councils, rerun will hold only in nine,” he stated.