- Opposition party doesn’t want us to pay, says state govt
Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja
The Kogi State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has warned the federal government against the release of bailout funds to Kogi State Government, saying Governor Yahaya Bello has intensified efforts in lobbying the All Progressives Congress (APC) government to secure the release of further N50 billion bailout.
The PDP in a statement issued and signed by the state Publicity Secretary, Bode Ogunmola, which copy was made available to THISDAY, yesterday, said the question that needed to be asked was how the government of Bello had utilised past funds released to him.
The party noted that the state is hugely indebted and owes workers’ salaries for upward of 38 months after it has taken several loans from banks without any development to show for it.
According to the PDP, “: All the administration has embarked upon is reckless looting of state resources”, warning that any attempt by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to compromise by releasing the fund, would be a great disservice to the suffering people of Kogi State.
The PDP disclosed that the bailout itself is not a free fund, but that the money is a loan that will be paid back over a period of time with nine per cent interest.
The party also warned that any government that prides itself in probity will ask questions of how past releases were utilised before committing Kogi State into further debt.
The PDP explained that it is not against the payment of workers’ entitlements, but wants the CBN to initiate moves to probe past utilisation of earlier releases and make arrangements to pay workers directly.
The PDP warned that any further release to Governor Bello would amount to a disservice to the poverty-stricken workers of Kogi State, pointing out that the government is financially reckless, with a penchant for looting state resources without paying salaries.
The PDP asked the CBN to pay Kogi workers directly stating that any attempt to release the balance of bailout to the governor would amount to giving him his pay off because the government has been rejected and would be voted out in November.
Meanwhile, in a swift reaction, the Director General, Media and Publicity to the governor, Mr. Kingsley Fanwo, said it means PDP doesn’t want them to pay the few months arrears they owe civil servants despite the fact that it was the PDP government that left many months unpaid before leaving in January 2016.
“Their thinking is that if those arrears are not paid, the civil servants won’t support the second term ambition of the governor.
“They are free to continue to play politics with the welfare of the civil servants while we continue to work towards ensuring the welfare of workers is taken care of.
“The bailout was approved and it will be released so that we can pay workers their entitlement. The workers have cooperated substantially with the policies of our administration.
“They have shown great understanding of our intentions and efforts at reforming the civil service. This administration will, therefore, ensure their arrears which are a carryover from the previous PDP administration are paid.
“PDP should know that the CBN under their administration is no more the CBN under the Buhari administration.
“The CBN under the Buhari administration is credible and accountable. It doesn’t wait for a bribe to do its work,” he said.