Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja
The Kogi State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party has called on the Federal Government to pay the balance of the N30.8billion bailout funds directly into workers account, pointing out that any money released to Gov. Yahaya Bello would go down the drain, unaccounted for, leaving workers more pauperised.
The PDP in a statement signed by Bode Ogunmola made available to THISDAY on Friday acknowledge the sufferings of Kogi State workers who are being owed for between seven and 30 months as the case maybe, however called on the Federal government not to look at the crocodile tears of Bello that when released the balance of N30.8billion would be used to offset workers’ salaries, pointing out that the federal government should fashion out a process to directly pay into the account of the workers.
The Party warned Kogi NLC not to fall cheap to Gov. Bello’s antics that the bailout funds would be used to pay arrears, pointing out that, aside the bailout funds, the governor had accessed close to N70billion Paris club refunds, aside commercial loans, lamenting that Gov. Bello had plunged the state into debt of about N200billion since he assumed office.
According to the party, the administration of Capt. Idris Wada applied for N50 billion, even though the state was not indebted to that amount, and knowing full well that all the requested money may not be approved.
The funds which got approval during the Capt Wada’s administration was however not released to him for political reasons but was released to Gov. Bello who rather than have the arrears of the workers paid, accumulated more arrearsl because the money accessed by the present administration allegedly went into private pockets.
The PDP disclosed that following the drastic drop in oil prices in 2008, and in 2013, with oil selling for as low as $32, a situation that made most States not to be able to pay salaries, said states like Kogi with less internally generated revenue became faced with the challenge of salary payment.
The PDP said it had no confidence in Gov. Bello, having allegedly exhausted over N200billion loans outside statutory allocation it had received, advised workers not to help cry too much for Gov. Bello to access the bailout balance, which in his characteristics he would not use to pay them.
The PDP appealed to the federal government, working through the CBN to carry out an investigation into how the past bailout, Paris club refunds and other loans meant to pay workers were spent, leaving the arrears to increase astronomically, with workers owed for as much as 30 months despite all the accrued resources.
PDP lamented that despite all the resources accrued the state under the governor Bello’s administration, no single project or meaningful development can be pointed to by the Gov. Bello’s administration.