The Kogi State Auditor General, Alhaji Yusufu Okala, has said that the state lost a colossal amount of money, approximately N213,034,857,280.44, to a category of entities he called “Ghost Workers/Unintended Beneficiaries.”
The Auditor stated this when the Staff Screening & Validation Committee, jointly led by himself and the Auditor General of the Local Governments Areas, Mallam Usman Ahmed Ododo, submitted their report to the State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, at a Stakeholders Forum held in Government House, Lokoja, today, July 25th 2016. This committee was set up by the Governor with the mandate to review and authenticate the report earlier submitted by the Staff Screening and Verification Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. Jerry Agbaji.
According to Alhaji Okala, “As at the time of inaugurating the Staff Screening and Verification Committee on February 22, 2016, the total staff on the nominal payroll of the State (State MDAs and Local Governments) was 88, 973 with monthly wage bill of N 5,809,578,703.72. However, after the conclusion of this exercise on July 24, 2016, the cleared and validated workforce is 63, 870.”
Gov. Bello lamented the colossal loss recorded by the state through the syndrome, said his administration has put a permanent stop to financial theft in the state. The Governor said the screening exercise is the first layer of civil service reform, which his administration is embarking on, adding that he is determined to re-position the State Civil Service to play a vital role of facilitating economic drive growth in the state.
The State Auditor General, who presented the report before the large turn out at the forum, said, his committee, which had the State Commissioner for Finance, Alhaji Idris Ashiru Asiwaju and the State Accountant General Alhaji Jibrin Momoh, made certain recommendations to the Governor. These recommedations include the Computerising the Payroll System of the State, Local Government workforce& Pensioners, Centralising Payroll Processing, Biometric for All State& Local Governments Staff, and Introduction of PreDisbursement Audit for Salary Payment among other recommendations.
Meanwhile, Governor has set up a review Committee to entertain complains that may arise from the screening exercise. The 11-man committee ?is expected to submit its report within 21 days.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Kogi State, Mr. Kingsley Fanwo, has carpeted the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) National President over comments made concerning the status of workers salaries in Kogi State.
Addressing a group of pressmen in Lokoja this morning in his office, Fanwo said the inability of the NLC President to find out the facts before making those “uncharitable” statements underscores the “inability of the factional leader of the NLC to win the confidence of majority of Nigerian workers.”
“Our attention has been drawn to the reckless and tactless statement by the national leadership of the NLC, describing Kogi State as one of the labour unfriendly states in the country. He was definitely not referring to Kogi State.
“It is only the national leadership of NLC who understands the parameters used in arriving at such a fallacious and imbecile conclusion. The administration of Alh. Yahaya Bello has paid six months salaries, less than six months into his administration. Is that how to be labour unfriendly?
“When the administration came on board, it was discovered that Kogi State was paying thousands of ghost workers, who are contributing no labour to the economy of the State. Government met with labour to harp on the need for a holistic staff verification exercise. Labour had their representatives in the screening committee.
“At some point, the leadership of the NLC expressed dissatisfaction in the manner the erstwhile chairman of the panel was handling the exercise. They demanded for his removal, which government graciously granted to show its respect to the labour community. Is that a way be unfriendly to labour?
“As far as government is concerned, the screening committee has been highly successful. Wabba should ask Kogi labour leaders what they are hiding. Government is in possession of facts on how labour leaders wanted to sabotage payment of bailout and how they were begging to left off the hook by the Screening Committee after their glaringly established maleficence. Has Wabba asked labour leaders why they submitted statements of account from a microfinance bank to hide away the tens of millions in their commercial bank accounts?
“The landmark failure of the industrial action called by labour was as a result of the lack of confidence in labour leaders who are almost as rich as the State; and the confidence workers have in the Governor Yahaya Bello administration. Workers have been reporting to work everyday. They said they can’t stay at home after the Governor has paid them salary arrears ranging from three to four months. This is excellent patriotism.
“Jolted by the failure of the strike, Kogi labour brought in their uninformed godfathers from Abuja to save face. Again, their misrepresentation of facts has collapsed like a pack of cards.
“Governor Yahaya Bello needs no reminding by Wabba before he will do what he is elected to do for the Kogi people. He has recently put smiles on the faces of pensioners by paying four months pension arrears to them. He won’t be intimidated by leaders who are still struggling for legitimacy. He is committed to the welfare of Kogi people and come Monday July 25, 2016, the full report of the screening exercise will be laid before the Kogi people. The Governor has already directed that the program be covered live on local and national broadcast stations. He is transparent and committed. Government has never said their were no issues with some people accessing their salaries. But such issues are being handled by the authorities concerned.
“No one should test the will of this administration to right the wrong of the past. The New Direction Agenda has been possessed by the people and will serve the Kogi people.”
Fanwo thanked the leaders and members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Kogi State University chapter for their “coming to the light after weeks of disagreement.” He said the union took a patriotic step by calling off the strike, pledging government commitment to their welfare.
He said the agricultural policies of the present administration will make the State the food hub of Nigeria, hailing the self-declaration of the Governor as the Chief Farmer of Kogi State.
“Government is determined to reposition agriculture as the oil of Kogi State. The New Direction policy on agriculture will start yielding practical steps in the coming weeks and the people will love the initiative that will make Kogi State the best food producing state in Nigeria.
“The Governor has declared himself as the Chief Farmer of the State and mandated all his appointees to own farms. He said the agricultural revolution must start from him. The Board of Internal Revenue has also perfected a plan to go digital and ensure Kogi can match the technology Lagos is deploying to generate revenue.”
The Kogi State Government has been awarded $1, 500, 000 by the World Bank to meet set health targets.
The Honourable Commissioner for Health, Dr. Saka Haruna Audu, represented Kogi State at the ceremonial launch event for the first disbursement of funds to states on the “Saving One Million Lives Program for Results” (SOML-PforR) of the Ministry of Health held on the 14th of July at the Lagos/Osun Hall, Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
The SOML-PforR is an initiative aimed at reducing maternal and child mortality rates in the country by providing financing to the states based on the results they achieve. It is a response to the slow progress witnessed in the past in an attempt to curb this alarming situation of child and maternal death. That has been chiefly attributed to the focus being on the input rather than the results achieved therefrom.
The program is supported by a $500 million credit from the World Bank, which rewards states with an untied fiscal transfer (grant) from the Federal Government when they achieve improvements in the coverage and quality of key maternal and child Health (MCH) services. On the overall, 82% of the funds would be available to states based on their performance in four continuous disbursements, implying that any state that does not attain improvement at the end of the year would not receive any further funds from the Federal Government.
The Program Development Objectives (PDO) are “to increase the utilization and quality of high impact reproductive, child health and nutrition interventions”. This objectives would be measured by the following indicators:
i)Increase in the combined coverage of six key SOML-PforR services
a)Vaccination coverage among young children
b)Contraceptive prevalence rate (modern methods)
c)Vitamin A supplementation among children 6 months to 5 years of age
d)Skilled birth attendance
e)HIV counseling and testing among women attending antenatal care
f)Use of insecticide treated nets (ITNs) by children under five and
ii) Improved quality of care index at health center level.
Disbursement-Linked indicators with regards to payment to States and Federal Government are based on
?Quantity of Services (61%)
?Quality of Care (11%)
?Data Collection and Utilization (16%)
?Private sector innovation (4%)
?Transparency in Primary Health Care (8%)
This disbursement of the funds and the implementation of the SOML-PforR objectives would be strictly monitored such that states that fail to meet up or who divert the funds to other uses, be they genuine or not, are likely not to get further disbursements next year. Moreso, States who perform the best in respective zones (called zonal champions) will receive additional $500,000 as reward for their effort! Further disbursements would be done based on an elaborate performance-based calculation plan contained in the program brochures.
The Honourable Commissioner for Health reiterated that the SOML-PforR is a peculiar health intervention program as it is developed with the principle of transparency and accountability. He further states that the administration of His Excellency Governor Yahya Bello is committed to honoring memoranda of understanding, fulfilling counterpart funding and making sure that whatever fund or donation, received from the Federal Ministry of Health and development organizations is used strictly for the purpose it is meant for and therefore assures that not only would Kogi State be ready for the next disbursement, but aims to go beyond being just zonal champions but overall champions as all hands would be on deck in the State Ministry of Health and no stone would be left unturned in achieving the program set objectives.
The present economic challenges, which were necessitated by the downfall in oil revenue, undoubtedly compelled all tiers of governments to look elsewhere for their survival and continuous existence. Absent of the present challenges would have rendered the ongoing economic diversification unrealistic and this explains why some persons warmly embraced and considered the challenges as a blessing in disguised.
While other States (particularly Northern States) are struggling to adapt to the current economic reality, Lagos State, due to its efficient tax administration and collection system, have little or nothing to worry about. The monthly Internally Generated Revenue of Lagos State has drastically grown from N3.6B in 2006 to N24.5B in January 2016. In 2015, Lagos State recorded the total revenue generation of N268.22B, the closest State, River State, generated N82.10B while Kano State generated N13.611B.
The boost in the Internally Generated Revenue of Lagos State was as a result of the consolidation of real property with land based charges and rates, to wit, Tenement Rates Law, Land Rates Law, Neighborhood Improvement and Assessment Law into the Land Use Charge Law of Lagos State, 2011.
The recent One Day retreat on the review of Kano State Land Use Charge Bill 2016, organized by the State Government is indeed a milestone of the expected achievement. Though long overdue for a State that should be competing with Lagos State in terms of Internally Generated Revenue, the Bill and the retreat are moves in the right direction. The passage of the Bill into law would drastically boost Internally Generated Revenue of Kano State, ensure financial independent Kano State and further serve as an eye opener and yardstick to other Northern States.
The Kano State Government and the tax authorities need to prepare for the likely impediments that may curtailed the attainment of the targeted revenue boost. To ensure the revenue boost, all hands must be on deck to address the likely impediments which may include: fraud and corruption, non-availability of property statistics and information, poor tax enforcement, administration and policy, multiple taxation, lack of awareness and infrastructural development, problems of assessment and evaluation, lack of modern technology, poor compliance and non-engagement of experts.
The Bill, if duly passed and effectively implemented, would place Kano State on its rightful position in the ranking of financial independent States in the Country and further better the life of the taxpayers.
MUSA IDRIS TALLE
” I Like To See A Nigeria Where We De-Emphasise Ethnicity”
Nigeria is a major concept, it’s a huge thing, there are many issues surrounding it. For example, I have always been a strong believer in fiscal federalism that is to say, that the states must have more resources and we went to the Supreme Court. I actually went to the Supreme Court as Attorney-General of Lagos State, no less than ten times on issues of fiscal federalism.
As a matter of fact, one of the things we said at that point was that we are trying to structure Nigeria’s federalism by court action. We went to court several times. For example on the issue of whether states have the right to certain degrees of autonomy, we fully supported that and said the state have right of autonomy with (regards) even to their resources.
VAT for example: we believe VAT must be a state matter, sales tax ought to be a state matter. I strongly believe in that and we’ve always fought for those issues.
State police: I strongly believe that we must have state police.
Dividing Nigeria, going back to regions and all of those kinds of things, I do not believe that at all. I don’t think that we need to go back to regions.
So, if there are people who believe that we must structure ourselves again along ethnic lines I don’t accept that that is the right way to go. So, when you say restructuring, even seated there with you (the interviewers on the tv set) I am sure that for many of us there are certain aspects of this restructuring that you may agree with or that you may not agree with.
But as a general position, Nigeria always needs to be re-engineered, we have to keep restructuring, re-engineering.
For example look at (some of the current) questions today, around whether or not a state should have rule over its resources. That is a major point.
Of course, states ought to have a good measure of control over their resources but we must have to agree how do you then ensure that the federal government itself functions. Do you need a federal government or do you not need a federal government?
But to say restructuring, I am sure that even Mr. Otitoju, with whom we ‘ve worked very closely will agree with me, even if he does not agree, I don’t think he wants Nigeria to be restructured along ethnic lines.
Is that the restructure we want?
What do you mean by power sharing, you must be specific. Is it the rotation of the presidency? As far as I am concerned whatever the political arrangement the political party makes, wherever they want the presidency to go should be left entirely with the political parties and should be a political arrangement.
But I don’t believe that we should go and write it in our constitution that there must be… that the presidency must go from zone to zone. I dont think that should be a constitutional issue. I think we should leave that to the parties themselves.
If a party decides that we want zoning its a party thing, let it be so. But I don’t think we should go and write that into our constitution.
And I very strongly believe that the time will come when we will no longer be emphasizing geo-political zone and that is the kind of Nigeria I will like to see. I like to see a Nigeria where we are all able to work together, where we are able to de-emphasize ethnicity, de-emphasize geo-political zone. That is the kind of Nigeria that I’ll like to see.
I believe that sometimes, you know, we pre-occupy ourselves with some of these issues you know, but let’s take a close look at today when we’ve had problems in this country.
Whatever problems we had today, we have serious economic problems. Is it on account of geo-political arrangement that we have serious economic problems?
Corruption for example, which is crippling Nigeria, is corruption a geo-political problem?
Because what I have seen, just looking at the case files, what I have seen is that when there is corruption in Nigeria, any case of corruption, you will find federal character, every geo-political zone is represented.
If somebody steals today, if you find somebody stealing $200m or $2b as we see, you will find that everybody is represented. You will find Yoruba man, Housa man, the man from South-South, you find the Igbo man. There is equal representation. I think we must also interrogate our elites, Nigerian elites.
Let me say that you know, with respect to constitutional reform I’m one for continuously reviewing our constitution especially because there are many faults that are in the constitution. There are many different problems, many different issues.
I believe that we must continue to take a look at the constitution and look for ways of modifying it, we should not be shying away from constitutional amendment or revisiting our constitution but what I am against is anything that is vague.
You know for example, if you take a look at our constitution, and say well let us just look at it again. Some people say it is not our constitution because it does not originate from the people. Most constitutions as you see all over the world, are usually from elites. The elites come together draw up a set of rules and regulations, and everybody accepts it. There are very few places where even a man on the street don’t understand half of what you are saying in the constitutional document.
So what our elites and our representative ought to do is to provide for the people the very best that will ensure the welfare, the safety of the vast majority of the people. That is the responsibility of the elites.
I’m a constitutional lawyer, I know that regarding the constitution, generally speaking, how many people get involved? Even if you do a referendum you, you can’t do a yes or no on a constitutional document.
We have continued to advocate for state police. I continue to advocate for state police, I believe very strongly that we must have state police…Community policing, we can’t achieve it without a constitutional amendment. So I very strongly believe that we must have community policing.
Certainly that is something that I want to see -appellate jurisdiction of the court. Those interlocutory appeals must stop at the court of appeal. So you don’t have somebody because he wants to delay a case from going forward by appealing all the way to the Supreme Court.
…Loan solely to prosecute July 30 rerun election
The Rivers State chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, has condemned as unconscionable and wicked the approval given to the governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike by the Rivers State House of Assembly [RSHA] to obtain yet another loan of
N9 billion from Zenith Bank PLC.
The party in a statement signed by its State Chairman, Chief Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, JP said, “the APC is convinced that, just like the governor committed Rivers people to a
N10 billion loan to host and write off the failed PDP national convention in Port Harcourt last May, Gov. Nyesom Wike is, this time, borrowing N9 billion to prosecute the forthcoming July 30 rerun election in Rivers State as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC].”
The APC believed that this action accentuates the level of feverish desperation that has enveloped the governor who is infamous for coming to power at the needless expense of several lives of innocent Rivers people and Nigerians.
Continuing, the party said, “beyond going for the loan to be able to buy his way through, Gov. Wike has, under the guise of amnesty, primed his killing machines ably commanded by his murderous field commanders in the ONELGA, Ahoada East & West, Abua/Odual, Gokana-Khana-Tai and ASALGA-AKULGA-DELGA axes of Rivers State under the guise of illegal amnesty.”
“Gov. Nyesom Wike is obviously frightened by the prospect of his candidates losing in the forthcoming rerun elections especially in the Rivers South-East axis where his morbid fear for the rising profile and popularity of erudite lawyer, politician and grassroots man, Senator Magnus Ngei Abe has become unbearable for him hence the need to go back to his killing strategy” the statement noted.
The APC called on the Commissioner of Police in Rivers State, Mr Foluso Adebanjo, the acting Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Kpotum Idris and heads of other security agencies to step in to halt another killing spree before, during and after the forthcoming rerun elections by Gov. Nyesom Wike’s private soldiers across Rivers State.
“The APC is convinced that the recent changes in the nation’s security apparatus will prevent a repeat of the orgy of killings in Rivers State especially during the forthcoming rerun elections” the statement concluded.
Kano state government has said it did not offer any of its students scholarship to study in public universities in the country, throughout the past for years, the state governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has revealed.
In a statement by Salihu Tanko Yakassai, Director General of Media and Communications, the governor said right from the 2012 academic session, thousands of bonafide Kano students whose bursaries now run into billions of Naira have not been settled by the immediate past administration in the state.
Yakasai said the governor made this known while receiving the Emir of Kano, Malam Muhammadu Sanusi II , during the traditional Hawan Nassarawa homage to mark the end of Ramadan fast, at the Government House in Kano, however assured that his administration is doing all it can to ensure that the students are paid as soon as possible.
He further stated that his government inherited huge liability of unpaid bursaries and other fees, on students from the state in overseas institutions, assuring that efforts are being made to settle the debt gradually, so that their academic pursuit is not disrupted.
The governor, however, advised that because of the present financial position of the state government, parents whose children are studying abroad should endeavor to assist their children within limits of their means, assuring that the government would continue to make determined efforts to revive its bursary scheme.
In a bid to widen access to education and to ensure a well-informed society, Governor Ganduje explained said his administration introduced Education Promotion Committees at state and local government levels, pointing out that because of this initiative, community participation in reviving education at public schools is so far encouraging.
Governor Ganduje, who dwelt extensively on efforts of his administration to transform the state through revolutionizing Internally Generated Revenue as well as making huge investments in infrastructure, agriculture, health, job creation and sanitation, despite financial challenges, requested the continued support of the people to attain maximum success.
On his part, Emir Muhammadu Sanusi, who acknowledged the achievements of the government, despite the present economic situation in the country, stressed the need for public enlightenment on the need to support the administration to achieve its mission and vision.
He also reminded the well to do in the society to assist the needy especially in the prevailing difficult times, to attain Allah’s pleasure, and stressed the need for youth to take advantage of the government numerous skills acquisition programmes to improve their lot.
The Emir also urged the people to place more premium on education, especially girl-child education, in view of its importance, adding that they should also be mindful of the sanitation of their environment, to avoid outbreak of diseases.
BEING A PRESS RELEASE TO THE MUSLIM UMMAH AND THE ENTIRE CITIZENS OF KOGI STATE BY HIS EXCELLENCY, ALHAJI YAHAYA BELLO, EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF KOGI STATE TO MARK THE 2015 EID-EL-FITR CELEBRATIONS.
Eid Mubarak to my fellow muslims in Kogi State, around Nigeria and all over the world. I pray today for our State and our Nation that the sacrifices of the Ramadan and the joy of the Eid-El-Fitr will bring benefits to every one of us. As we observe our prayers today, let us ask the Almighty God to help Nigeria so that as fasting in Ramadan is followed by Celebrations during the Eid, so may the current sacrifices required to rebuild Nigeria by the Administration of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, be followed by a prosperous and functional country that we will be proud of and be happy to celebrate.
From the very beginning of my Administration, I chose to govern by only democratic precepts and I promised in my Inaugural Speech to be open and transparent with you. In fulfillment of these promises, on Monday the 4th of July, 2016 to be precise, we held an interactive session with Kogi People at Government House, Lokoja. Attendees came from the 21 LGAs, including representatives of numerous Community-Based Organisations, Traditional Institutions and Trade Associations.
The Government activities were outlined and the reason behind some of the decisions taken so far. The recent events in Kogi State were x-rayed from everyone’s perspectives, attendees asked questions on any issue bothering them and answers were provided openly and satisfactorily. It was a very fruitful session which addressed burning issues in the minds of attendees and the cross-section of people they represent.
Since I believe that anyone committed to the prosperity and progress of Kogi State will find that meeting interesting, I crave your indulgence to address some of the issues raised for the generality of all Kogites.
CIVIL SERVICE AND PENSION REFORMS
In my inaugural speech, I made a solemn promise to priotise Civil Service and Pension Reforms. We all know that the system had become very rotten and criminally bloated. Our monthly wage bill was more than the monthly Federal allocations at a time Crude Oil dependent economies like ours were suffering a global crash in prices.
We responded by setting up a Screening Committee to tackle the menace of ghost workers, clean up the Civil Service and free valuable funds for the business of governance. Labour had a front row seat in that Committee and we have treated them with great respect throughout. When they reported problems with the style of the former Chairman of the Screening Committee and after we promptly looked into their complaints, the Chairman was removed and replaced with another candidate almost unilaterally chosen by Labour.
The screening exercise is gradually winding down and I give you my words that it was worth every effort and resources we put into it. There was no way our Civil Service would not have collapsed under the weight of the fraudulent manipulations and overburdened by the past Administration. It was only a matter of time before a total non-payment of salaries and emoluments or the tiny part-payments, which had become the norm in successive past administration. The grave consequences of which would have been eruption of massive uprising by suffering Civil Servants and a crippled State.
It is a disappointment that the Labour leaders went ahead to call a strike even though they were in the forefront of the screening exercise and saw firsthand the corruption that was found nearly everywhere. The supposed strike was ill-fated because our workers turned up for work as usual, while those not physically in their offices were found at the screening centre or the Banks, putting their houses in order. We want to believe that happened because they understood that we are working hard for their benefits.
Many Questions come to mind:
1. Should the Administration not have conducted the screening exercise at all and let it be business as usual?
2. Should we have overlooked the daylight robbery uncovered and pretended that we did not find all those conduits for siphoning the resources of our State through ghost workers?
3. Or maybe, having discovered these acts of unpardonable criminality we should have taken our cut, looked the other way, and allowed the rape and dispossession of our people to continue unchecked?
Well, anybody who knows Yahaya Bello will also know that I cannot stop without getting to the bottom of the matter. I swore to always act in the best interests of Kogi State and by the help of God, that is what I will continue to do. I was threatened, I was the subject of highly toxic calumnies but I choose to remain intrepid and focused. I am undeterred and I cannot run from my duties, no matter the obstacles.
Let me try to set the records straight:
Like most other States in Nigeria, the monthly FAAC Allocations constitute the major bulk of our income. The money is almost entirely made up of the Federal Government’s Crude Oil earnings. The result is that now the global price of crude has slumped, there is also the inevitable slump in the monies that accrue to the States. Everyone is feeling the pinch, including Kogi State where the monthly salaries of about 25,000 Civil Servants amount to nearly twice the current monthly allocations – technically leaving nothing for the rest of our 3.5m residents.
A comparative analysis of the January to June allocations to Kogi State in 2015 with what we have received over the same period in 2016 paints the bleak picture more. In 2015 it came to a total of about N22.06bn while in 2016 it is just over N13.1bn. Our Local Government Areas got about 10.8bn in 2016 as against N15.1bn received by Captain Idris Wada for the same period in 2015. Anyone can see the harsh reality. The situation will suggests that we would be justified if we do only half of what those before us did, no matter how bad, but our mindset at all times is to not only do our best, but to make sure that our best answers the challenges of the times.
Do not think the temptation was not there to hide under the dirty skirts of the past PDP Administration in the state to start paying minor percentages of salaries or none at all. I certainly had the precedent left by my predecessor and the excuse of dwindling allocations and could have had a field day at the expense of the workers. I just did not have the hard-heartedness required to do it. I sympathized with the plight of our workers. While campaigning, we promised them as much welfare as our resources would allow if I ever made it to the Government House, how could I have turned around to worsen their sufferings as the Governor? God forbid.
Shortly after my swearing-in I started paying full salaries, even multiple times in a given month while we worked to get the bailout funds. Happily, our efforts paid off and we were able to accessed 40% of our Bailout funds, a little above one month ago. Between Zenith and Access Banks we have been able to commenced draw down on N20bn out of the N50bn approved for us by the President through the Central Bank of Nigeria. As at today, there is no genuie civil servant in Kogi State who will say he or she has not received salary payments. Some have received 3 months payment or more.
We started payments with the the Judiciary and the Tertiary Institutions. They received 4 months salaries leaving only one month outstanding. All the Local Government Areas have paid staff 3 months salaries and are currently in possession of funds to pay another 2 months once the formalities are done. All MDAs have also been paid as at today. That means we have paid every category of workers who have scaled screening.
Zenith Bank and Access Bank funded the bailout for Kogi State. Of course we could have rejected Zenith Bank and Access Bank and looked to other Banks for the money, but that means we may still be looking for money now. To be honest, we too do not completely like the conditions one hundred percent, especially the requirements for account openings. However, the integrity of the entire Screening Exercise depends a lot on it to round off the exercise. We cannot compromise that.
Like we have reiterated many times before, the bailout funds are not a grant of money from the Federal Government to be spent without obligations. It is a loan which must be repaid to the financing banks on stipulated terms. What we do with it has implications for our posterity. This means the funds must be judiciously applied to the purpose.
The vast majority of our genuine workers have their money in their hands, and I promise those that are yet to complete screening that they will be. No genuine worker will lose his or her job under me. However, there are people who will never see our monies again. These are persons who have posed as our staff, some for many years, and collected our monies fraudulently. They know that any attempt to show up now may spell the last time they enjoy liberty for a while.
Many of these people have voluntarily disappeared but the security agents are on their trails. It is this category of people and their sponsors who have been scandalizing the Administration and trying to throw a spanner in the works. We are however undaunted and will continue to work till they are apprehended, reveal their accomplices and vomit what they have stolen and swallowed.
It has come to our notice that some Banks operating in Kogi State lent active support to the failed attempt at strike action last week. Some of them actually ordered their workers to stay home in misguided attempts at solidarity. They also went so far as to illegally reprogrammed ATMs in their premises to reject cards issued by certain Banks, thereby throwing the populace into unnecessary suffering.
Other category of businesses in the private sector opened as usual, and remained unmolested by Labour. These recalcitrant Banks are therefore without excuse. Their said actions amount to deliberate breaches of the banking regulations which ended up undermining the authority of the Kogi State Government. We shall definitely have a hard talk with them soon but in the meanwhile, I hereby direct any financial house still engaging in such ill-advised misconduct to retrace steps immediately and desist from a repeat in the future.
May I also remind these Banks that they have profited for long from doing businesses in Kogi State, including carrying salary and other state accounts and the least they can do is give back in these difficult times. That will certainly be more proactive and profitable than sulking and instigating revolt. Our doors are open and we are willing to hold conversations on how to move forward together.
We also believe that Labour can be of help by leveraging members’ mass market appeal to pressure some of these Banks to do their bit for Kogi State. They ought to be initiating competitive products of their own which the Administration can access on the right terms to improve the lot of our workers and the generality of our people.
Our State is under attack from wicked people. Some of them are hiding in plain sight among us while others steal in from outside to wreak their havoc. Some act personally, others by proxy. Their chief weapon has been lies and deliberate falsehoods. They use the media and they go from community to community, and person to person. In all cases, their aim is to create misunderstanding around the actions of Government in order to engender mischief and disaffection among the governed.
For as As you can all attest, ours is a divine mandate safeguarded by the Hands of the Almighty. We know God and good are with us at all times and we have developed an iron will to contend with all who try to foist on us anything less than the Will of the Almighty.
I address you today to make assurances that with us you are on the winning team to arm you with the weapons of truth. When you leave here your questions will be answered, your worries assuaged and your capability to answer the questions of your constituents strengthened. After this speech, several key functionaries of the Administration will brief you on aspects of our governance that impinged on their portfolios and you can ask questions, any question.
The ongoing strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Kogi State University Branch is very unfortunate to say the least. The Tertiary Institutions were the first line charge in the disbursement of the bailout. They have received 4 out of the 5 months of salaries outstanding. We cannot accommodate more now. Other sections of the service need to be considered too. Happily, we have only accessed 40% of the bailout funds approved for Kogi State. We will continue to proportionately revisit ASUU members’ entitlements as we access more.
Right now I urge ASUU to return to the classroom. Our children need to be taught. Money can be paid but lost lives and opportunities cannot and our students are in danger of both each day they remain out of the classroom. These times call for sacrifice and I am confident that ASUU, composed of our finest brains and most educated personnel, will show leadership in this regard.
ASUU has also approached us to grant her members tax waivers and rebates. We have had to regretfully decline. Taxes are the way forward globally, and more particularly so in the present socioeconomic challenges in Nigeria. It is the the heart of our reinvented Internally Generated Revenue Policy. Anyone who loves the progress of Kogi State will not ask for tax rebates or exemptions of any kind now. Our position has not gone down well with ASUU and others and they have made it clear. Their displeasure is noted, but the answer is still NO.
The past Administration does not cease to amaze us with her fecklessness in governance. How a government that could not pay her existing workers could find wisdom in further bloating the workforce in the twilight of her tenure is a major puzzle. All appointments made in 2015 remain suspended till further notice. We will dispassionately review them in the light of the current realities and decide way forward with compassion.
NEW DIRECTION AGENDA
The Kogi State New Direction Agenda of my Administration is firmly on course. The New Direction Blueprint is finally out and has been unveiled to key stakeholders. It will be made public very soon. The Blueprint is a roadmap for Accelerated Development of Kogi State during my tenure. We are working with the Blueprint Team to organize Training, Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Masterclasses for the Administration’s functionaries, MDAs and LGAs. Kogi People will begin to see more and more development in the days ahead as we synergies and focus our efforts.
I have gone to this length to update us in this manner on the activities of government so that all people of goodwill will have the insights they need to interpret events. By putting this information at your disposal, I trust you are better positioned to make informed decisions concerning programmes and efforts of government and to communicate same clearly to your circles so we can combat the pernicious lies peddled by our detractors together.
I felicitate with the Muslim Ummah again on the Eid-El-Fitr and pray for God’s blessings on Kogi State and each citizen. I task all and sundry to live in harmony and maintain the peace in the fear of God.
God bless you.
God bless Kogi State.
God bless Nigeria.
GOVERNOR YAHAYA BELLO
4TH EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR ,
6TH JULY, 2016.
Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose got left kickbacks from contractors and lavished the cash on mansions, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has alleged.
The governor’s N1.299 billion bank account has been frozeen. He is in court contesting the order, which the EFCC has defended. The case is coming up September 30 at the Federal Gigh Court, Ado-Ekiti.
The agency did not state how much kickback Fayose got, but it named some contractors who allegedly paid him.
Besides, said the EFCC, the properties were qcquired in other peoples’ name, among them the governor’s sister, the EFCC said.
In an affidavit in support of its freezing of Fayose’s account, the EFCC said.
The EFCC said: “That apart from fraudulently retaining the sum of N1, 219,490,000.00 being part of the N4, 745,000,000.00 stolen from the treasury of the Federal Government through the office of the National Security Adviser, the Applicant (Fayose) has also received gratification in form of kick back from various contractors with the Ekiti State Government, such as Samchese Nigeria Ltd, Tender Branch Concept Nig. Ltd, Hoff Concept Ltd, Calibre Consulting Ltd.
“That the Applicant received these kick-backs and gratification through Still Earth Ltd and Signachorr Nigeria Ltd.
“That, in turn, the Applicant (Fayose) instructed the Still Earth Ltd and Signachoor Nigeria Ltd to use the funds to acquire properties for him.
“ That in complying with the Applicant’s instruction, Still Earth Ltd and Signachoor Nigeria Ltd acquired properties on behalf of the Applicant in the name of a company known as J.J. Technical Services Ltd belonging to the applicant and his wife. Attached and marked Exhibit EFCC 08 are copies of the deeds of assignment for the said properties.
“That the Applicant also used the name of one Mrs. Moji Ladeji (the applicant’s sister) to acquire a property situate at No.44, Osun Crescent Maitama Abuja from the proceeds of the alleged offences of receiving gratification and kick.”
The agency opened up on how N1, 299,490,000.00 was wired into Governor Ayodele Fayose’s accounts by one of his associates, Abiodun Agbele, who collected the slush funds from a former Minister of Defence, Mr. Musiliu Obanikoro.
Obanikoro ferried the cash to Akure Airport in a chartered aircraft with Registration No: HS125-800 5N-BMT belonging to Gyro Air Limited.
About N300million was put in a fixed deposit account No. 9013074033 in the name of Fayose on the 7th day of April, 2015.
But Agbele retained N263million on the instruction of the governor.
The anti-graft agency also uncovered a mansion in Abuja which Fayose allegedly bought in the name of his sister, Mrs. Moji Ladeji, after collecting kickbacks from some contractors with the Ekiti State Government, including Samchese Nigeria Ltd, Tender Branch Concept Nig. Ltd, Hoff Concept Ltd, Calibre Consulting Ltd.
The mansion is located at No.44, Osun Crescent Maitama Abuja, one of the posh districts in the Federal Capital Territory.
Others linked to either the movement and sharing of the slush funds include Ibrahim Babajide Obanikoro; the ex-Minister’s company, Sylvan Mcnamara Limited; two Zenith Bank officials, Mr. Alade and Mr.Lawrence Akande; Lieutenant Colonel A.O. Adewale; Fayose’s company, Spotless Investment Ltd; Gyro Air Limited and De-Privateer Limited, which is owned by Fayose’s associate, Agbele.
These disclosures were contained in an affidavit deposed to by an Investigating Officer, Tosin Owobo, in the Federal High Court, Ado-Ekiti.
The affidavit revealed the blow-by-blow account of how the EFCC traced the arms purchase funds from the Office of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.) to Fayose’s accounts.
The affidavit was in response to an application by Fayose to the court praying for the de-freezing of his accounts by the EFCC.
The anti-graft commission said it took action after “receiving a damning oral intelligence report showing that the 2nd Respondent herein (Zenith Bank) was in custody and in fact had in its possession the sum of N1, 299,490,000.00.”
The affidavit reads: “That contrary to the paragraphs 5-16 of the Applicant’s Affidavit in support of the Originating Summons, I know as a fact that the 1st Respondent received an oral damning intelligence report showing that the 2nd Respondent herein was in custody and in fact had in its possession the sum of N1, 299,490,000.00 (One Billion, Two Hundred and Ninety Nine Million, Four Hundred and Ninety Thousand Naira) being proceeds of economic and financial crimes.
“That upon the receipt of this intelligence, the Commission analysed it and found same to be worthy of investigation.
“That so far our investigation has revealed as follows: That between the 5th and 17th day of June, 2014 the former state Minister of Defence, Mr. Musiliu Obanikoro, in grand conspiracy with the Applicant and the former National Security Adviser, Col. M.S Dasuki (retd.) fraudulently removed the sum of N2,260,000,000.00 from the account of the office of National Security Adviser which sum was fraudulently transferred to a company known as Sylvan Mcnamara Limited with account No. 0026223714 domiciled with Diamond Bank Plc. Attached and marked Exhibit EFCC 01 is copy of the mandate of the account belonging to Sylvan Mcnamara Limited and the extract of inflows from the Office of the National Security Adviser to the said account.
“ That the principal signatory to this account is one Ibrahim Babajide Obanikoro, the son of the said former State Minister of Defence Mr. Musiliu Obanikoro.
“That on the receipt of these proceeds of crime, Mr. Musiliu Obanikoro, fraudulently conveyed the sum of N1,219,490,000.00 (One Billion, Two Hundred and Nineteen Million, Four Hundred and Ninety Thousand Naira) to Akure for the use of the Applicant.
“That before the conveyance of the funds to Akure Airport Mr. Musiliu Obanikoro, one Mr. Alade Oluseye, a staff of the 2nd Respondent was informed by his colleague in the bank, Lawrence Akande, that a particular customer of the 2nd Respondent will be bringing cash to the Akure Airport for lodgment and that since the volume of the cash is quite heavy, there will be a need for the said Alade Oluseye to use the 2nd Respondent’s Bullion Van to convey the cash.
“That on the 17th day of June, 2014 Mr. Alade Oluseye in the company of one Abiodun Agbele, a front of the Applicant, went to the Akure Airport wherein they took cash delivery of the sum of N724,500,000.00 from Senator Musiliu Obanikoro and his acclaimed Aide-de-Camp Lieutenant Colonel A.O Adewale.
“That on the 18th day of June, 2014 another sum of N494, 990,000 was also delivered to Mr. Alade Oluseye by the said Minister in the same manner.
“ That the total sum of N 1, 219,490,000 was conveyed to Akure Airport by Senator Obanikoro through a chartered aircraft with Registration No: HS125-800 5N-BMT belonging to Gyro Air Limited.”
The EFCC also confirmed how Fayose instructed, Agbele to transfer the N1, 299,490,000.00 into various accounts.
The commission said: “That on the 19th day of June,2014, after Mr. Alade Oluseye took delivery of the money being the proceeds of crime, Mr. Abiodun Agbele, the front of the Applicant, received an instruction from the applicant to collect the money and made cash deposit in the sum of N219,000,000.00 to De-privateer Ltd account No. 1013835889 domiciled with the Zenith Bank Plc. Attached and Marked exhibit EFCC 02 is a copy of the statement of account of DE- Privateer Ltd domiciled with the 2nd Respondent.
“That on the same day, Abiodun Agbele made another cash deposit of N300million being part of the proceeds of crimes to the said De- privateer Ltd’s with the 2nd Respondent(Zenith Bank)
“That on the 23rd June, 2014, N200million, being part of these proceeds of crime, was also deposited to the said De-Privateer Ltd’s account domiciled with the Respondent by Biodun Agbele whilst acting in concert with the Applicant.
“That on the 26th day of June,2014, the said Biodun Agbele on the instruction of Applicant further dissipated the proceeds of crime by depositing N137,000,000.00 into account No. 1003126654 domiciled with the 2nd Respondent in the name of the Applicant. Attached and marked exhibit EFCC 03 is a statement of account of the said account domiciled with the Respondent.
“That on the 22nd and 27th day of August, 2014 Biodun Agbele also deposited N50, 000,000.00 and N118, 760,000.00 into the said account which sum formed part of the proceeds of crime.
“That in further dissipating the proceeds of crime deposited and retained in the account referred to in paragraphs (d) and (g) above, the sum of N300,000,000.00 was put in a fixed deposit account No. 9013074033 in the name of the Applicant on the 7th day of April,2015. Attached and marked as exhibit EFCC 04 is a copy of the statement of the said account.
“That this N300, 000,000.00 (three hundred million naira) is still in the account. That on the 17th day of June, 2014, Abiodun Agbele made another cash deposit in the sum of N100,000,000.00 being part of this proceeds of crime to a company known as Spotless Investment Ltd with account No. 1010170969 domiciled with the 2nd Respondent. Attached and marked as exhibit EFCC 05 is a copy of the statement of account of the said Spotless Investment Ltd.
“That on the 23rd day of June, 2014, N 49,000,000.00 being part of the proceeds of crime, was also deposited to the said Spotless Investment Ltd Account with the Respondent.
“That there is still a balance of N89, 454,765.00 in this account, being part of the proceeds of the crime.
“ That Abiodun Agbele, whilst acting in concert with Alade Oluseye of the 2nd Respondent and the Applicant, after fraudulently receiving N1, 219,490,000.00 (One billion, two hundred and nineteen thousand, four hundred and ninety thousand naira) from Senator Obanikoro also fraudulently retained cash in the sum of N263, 000,000.00 (Two hundred and sixty three million naira) on the instruction of the Applicant.
“That we have interviewed Mr. Alade Oluseye Sunday and his colleague Lawrence Akande and have informed us in writing about how these transactions were conducted. Attached and marked exhibit EFCC 06 and 07 are copies of their statements.”
The anti-graft agency said it had also uncovered how Fayose received kick-backs from some contractors with the Ekiti State Government, including Samchese Nigeria Ltd, Tender Branch Concept Nig. Ltd, Hoff Concept Ltd, Calibre Consulting Ltd.
Part of the cash was lavished on a property at No. 44, Osun Crescent, Maitama, Abuja, which was bought in the name of Mrs. Moji Ladeji ( Fayose’s sister)
The EFCC said it decided to freeze Fayose’s accounts in line with its mandate in Section 34 of its Establishment Act.
It also said it followed due process in freezing the accounts by applying to a court for an order of interim attachment.
The commission said: “That the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, in the exercise of his statutory mandate contained in Section 34 of the EFCC Act, having satisfied himself that the various sums of money in the account No. 1003126654, 9013074033, 1010170969 and 1013835888 domiciled with the 2nd Respondent were made through the commission of the an economic and financial crimes, to wit: stealing and receiving gratification approached the Federal High Court Lagos Judicial Division, for an order directing the manager of the 2nd respondent to freeze the said accounts.
“That in his wisdom, Hon. Justice M.B Idris granted the 1st respondent’s application wherein an order of interim attachment was made on the aforementioned accounts. Attached and marked exhibit EFCC 09 is a certified true copy of the said order.
“ That the said order was a preservative order to prevent further dissipation of proceeds of crimes.
“ That I was informed by Rotimi Oyedepo Iseoluwa of counsel in our office, 15A, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos at about 8:40 p.m. on the 2nd day of July,2016 and I verily believe him as follows:
“That the 1st Respondent is statutorily empowered to investigate all economic and financial crimes in Nigeria.
“ That it is within the statutory powers of the 1st Respondent to preserve exhibits and proceeds of economic and financial crimes during investigation for possible prosecution.
“ That the 1st Respondent(EFCC) has statutory power to investigate the Applicant. That the 1st Respondent has not encountered the Applicant by instituting any proceeding against him.
“That the Applicant cannot use this Honourable Court as a shield against criminal investigation. That the order of interim attachment was neither directed at nor instituted against the Applicant.
“That whilst the Applicant enjoins immunity against civil and criminal proceeding being a serving governor, proceeds of an economic and financial crimes allegedly committed by the Applicant do not enjoy such privilege.
“That the 1st Respondent has the power to direct the 2nd Respondent to place a stop order on any account if it discovered in the course of its duties that such accounts are suspected to be involved in any crimes. That the Applicant will not be prejudiced should this application be dismissed.
“That it will serve the course of justice to refuse this originating summons.. That I make this counter affidavit in good faith, knowing and believing the facts deposed herein to be true and correct and in accordance with the Oaths Act of Nigeria.”
The semi-finals of the GTBank Ogun State Principals Cup, Season 4, kicks off Thursday, July 7, 2016 at the Dipo Dina Stadium, Ijebu-Ode with 8 secondary schools in Ogun state competing for a final berth in both the male and female categories.
Established in 2012, the GTBank Ogun State Principals Cup is an annual football tournament geared towards the development of grassroots football, the discovery of young football talents and fostering camaraderie amongst secondary school students. It also provides a platform for identifying, nurturing, grooming young and talented players as well as helping students actualize their dream of becoming professional footballers.
The season has already produced an exciting display of football skill and talent, and the semi-finals promises to raise that excitement with eye catching match ups in the male and female categories. The first semi-finals in the female category will see Iganmode Grammar School, Ota tackle Our Lady of Apostles, Ijebu-Ode, while Muslim High School, Isolu will face Makun High School, Sagamu in the second match of the day. In the male category, Alamuwa Grammar School, Ado Odo will battle Adeola Odutola College, Ijebu Ode as Pakoto High School, Ifo challenges Methodist Comprehensive College, Sagamu for the second slot in the finals.
Commenting on the tournament, Segun Agbaje, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, said that “over the years this tournament has helped pave the way for youth to cultivate their sporting talents and work towards actualizing their dream of becoming professional footballers, while fostering and building a healthier lifestyle at a critical stage in their lives”. He added that “GTBank will continue to invest massively in youth development through education and sports.”
Guaranty Trust Bank plc is one of the few Nigerian financial institutions that have maintained a defined Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy since its inception in 1990. The Bank actively supports in-classroom and out-of-classroom.
SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY, GOVERNOR YAHAYA BELLO OF KOGI STATE AT A STAKEHOLDERS INTERACTIVE SESSION HELD AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE LOKOJA
I welcome you all to this interactive session. It is a timeout for heart to heart talk amongst stakeholders in the Kogi New Direction Agenda. Everyone here is a leader at one level or the other in the State and while the buck stops at my table as the Governor, I choose to govern by only democratic precepts which require that consultations such as this one be frequent and frank. I called for this meeting because there is a need for us to tell ourselves some home truths.
Ordinarily, we should be slowing down for Sallah and allowing the muslim ummah to focus on their devotions and last minute preparations. However wisdom and good governance demand that we respond quickly and decisively to some recent events. I am therefore glad you could make this meeting despite the short notice. Your selfless response to this invitation is, in my opinion, a signal of your commitment to the prosperity and progress of Kogi State.
Chief among the ‘recent events’ I referred to above is the fact that our state is under attack from wicked people. Some of them are hiding in plain sight among us while others steal in from outside to wreak their havoc and vanish. Some act personally, others by proxy. In all cases, their main aim is the distortion of the actions of both the government and the governed in order to to cause mischief and disaffection. Their chief weapon has been lies and deliberate falsehoods.
We have handed them defeat after defeat and we will not stop. At the polls, they failed, some twice. At the Tribunals and courts, they failed a record 9 times in one week. In their brand of petty politics they have failed innumerable times as again and again as their stratagems collapsed. As you can all attest, ours is a divine mandate safeguarded by the Hands of the Almighty and our own iron will to contend with anyone or anything that tries to foist on us anything less than the Will of the Almighty. For as many times as they are foolhardy enough to come after us by any way or means at all, for so many times will they continue to lose with ignominy.
We have therefore summoned you today assure you that you are on the winning team and to arm you with the weapons of truth. When you leave here your questions will be answered, your worries assuaged and your capability to answer the questions of your constituents strengthened. After this speech, several key functionaries of the Administration will brief you on aspects of our governance that impinge on their portfolios and you can ask questions, any questions.
CIVIL SERVICE AND PENSION REFORMS
In my Inaugural Speech, Civil Service and Pension Reforms were a key promise. We knew the system had become very rotten and criminally bloated. The monthly wage bill was outstripping the monthly Federal allocations at a time Crude Oil dependent economies like ours were suffering from a global crash in prices. We set up the Screening Committee to tackle the menace of ghost workers, clean up the Civil Service and free up valuable funds for the business of governance.
We ensured that Labour had a front row seat in that Committee and we have treated them with the requisite respect up till now. At a point they reported problems with the first Chairman of the Committee and after we looked into their complaints, we found reasons to change him and fill his position with another candidate almost unilaterally chosen by Labour. The screening exercise is gradually winding down and I give you my words that it was worth every effort and resource we put into it.
There was no way our Civil Service would not have collapsed under the weight of the fraudulent outgoings it was overloaded with in past Administrations. It was only a matter of time before total non-payment of salaries and emoluments or the tiny part-payments which had become the norm in successive past administrations would have erupted in a massive uprising by suffering Civil Servants that would have crippled this state.
Our disappointment is that as we speak, the Labour leaders seem to have turned their backs on the spirit of camaraderie with which we started. There is supposed to be a strike ongoing in Kogi State called by the very same Labour leaders who we placed in the forefront of the screening exercise and who saw firsthand the corruption that was unearthed nearly everywhere by the exercise. I am glad to use the word, ‘supposed’, to describe the ill-fated strike because our workers turned up for work as usual while those not physically in the offices could be found at the screening centre or the participating banks putting their houses in order.
Frankly, we do not frankly understand the motivation of our labour leaders for trying to instigate an industrial action at this critical point, and we have tried really hard to understand their motives so that we may empathize and perhaps make amends. As at this moment, we still cannot find cogent reasons for it. Maybe they can help us clear that up today. I trust the Labour Delegation who were duly invited to this emergency meeting like everyone else will enlighten us on what we have done wrong as an Administration at any time during the Screening Exercise to provoke their anger.
Many Questions come to mind but we invite them to address these few:
1. Should we not have conducted the screening at all and let it be business as usual for the godless and gutless looters who have masqueraded as our leaders in the past? Should we have left these heartless murderers to continue in business at the expense of our people while workers and pensioners continue to drop dead from avoidable sufferings?
2. Should we have overlooked the daylight robbery we uncovered and pretended that we did not find all those conduits for siphoning the resources of our state through ghost workers by inhuman people who basically turned our Civil Service into personal ATM Machines for themselves, their wives, concubines and other privies?
3. Or maybe, like some ‘leaders’ tried to advise us, we should have learnt from the bitter lessons Labour taught past administrations and let sleeping dogs lie so that having discovered these acts of unpardonable criminality we should have taken our cut, looked the other way, and allowed the rape and dispossession of our people to continue unchecked?
Well, anybody who knows Yahaya Bello will also know that I cannot do any of these things. I was threatened, I was the subject of highly toxic calumnies but I choose to remain intrepid. I am undeterred and I cannot run from my duties, no matter the obstacles. I swore to always act in the best interests of Kogi State and by the help of God, that is what I will continue to do.
I will try to set the records straight and let our assembled people judge for themselves.
It is the sad situation of Kogi State, like most other states in Nigeria, that the monthly FAAC Allocations constitute the major bulk of our income. The money is almost entirely made up of the Federal Government’s Crude Oil earnings. The result is that now the global price of crude has slumped, there is also the inevitable slump in the monies that accrue to the constituent parts of the Nigerian nation. Everyone is feeling the painful pinch including Kogi State where the monthly salaries of about 24,000 Civil Servants is nearly twice the current monthly allocations – technically leaving nothing for the rest of our 3.5m residents.
A comparative analysis of the January to June allocations to Kogi State in 2015 with what we have received over the same period in 2016 paints the bleak picture more. In 2015 it came to a total of about N22.06bn while in 2016 it is just over N13.1bn. Our Local Government Areas got about 10.8bn in 2016 as against N15.1bn received by Captain Idris Wada for the same period in 2015. Anyone can see the harsh realities. The situation will suggest that we would be justified if we do only half of what those before us did, no matter how bad, but our mindset at all times is to not only do our best, but to make sure that our best answers the challenges of the times.
Do not think the temptation was not there to hide under the dirty skirts of the past PDP Administration in the state to start paying minor percentages of salaries or none at all. I certainly had the precedent left by Captain Idris Wada and others and could have had a field day at the expense of the workers. I just did not have the hard-heartedness required to do it. I sympathized with the plight of our workers while campaigning, promised them as much welfare as our resources could provide if I ever made it to Government House, how could I turn around to worsen their sufferings as Governor? That is certain to draw God’s punishment on anyone and his posterity.
Shortly after my swearing-in I started paying full salaries, even multiple times in a given month while we worked to get the bailout funds. Happily, our efforts paid off and we were able to access 40% of our Bailout funds a little above one month ago. Between Zenith and Access Banks we have been able to commence draw down on N20bn out of the N50bn approved for us by the Central Bank of Nigeria. As at today, there is no Civil Servant who will say he or she has not received salary payments. Some have received 3 or more.
To be more specific, we started payments with the the Judiciary and the Tertiary Institutions. They received 4 months salaries leaving only one month outstanding. All the Local Government Areas have paid staff 3 months salaries and are currently in possession of funds to pay another 2 months once the formalities are done. All MDAs have also been paid as at today. That means we have paid every category of cleared workers. Some may be in the bank waiting to access their monies but as an Administration we are done with our end and what remains are the normal banking processes between workers and their bankers.
Only Zenith Bank and Access bank stepped up to fund the bailout for Kogi State. Like we have reiterated many times before, the bailout funds are not a grant of money from the Federal Government to be spent without obligations. It is a loan which must be repaid to the financing banks within stipulated terms. What we do with it has implications for our future generations. This means the funds must be judiciously applied to purpose. For the records, we too do not completely like their conditions one hundred percent, especially the requirements for account openings, but everything dovetails into the Screening Exercise, and that is our priority.
Of course we could have rejected Zenith and Access and looked to other banks for the money but that means we may still be looking for now. It also means that as no other bank has indicated interest till now our workers may still be waiting endlessly for their money. Additionally, the Labour leadership could not guarantee that the long-suffering workforce was willing to remain patient if that were to be the case till we found other financiers, if at all. We did what we believed was best in the circumstances. We will keep trying to renegotiate the terms as the conditions change.
While genuine worker have their money in their hands, there are people who will never get our monies again. These are persons who have posed as staff, some for many years, who had no business collecting our monies even once for the simple reason that they are in the system fraudulently. They know that any attempt to show up for salaries after now may spell the last time they enjoy liberty for a while. Many of them have voluntarily disappeared but the security agents are on their trails. It is this category of people and their sponsors who have been scandalizing the Administration and trying to throw a spanner in the works. We are however undaunted and will continue to work till they are apprehended, reveal their accomplices and regurgitate what they have stolen and swallowed.
As an aside:
It has come to our notice that some banks operating in Kogi State lent active support to the failed attempt at strike action last week. Some of them actually ordered their workers to stay home in misguided attempts at solidarity. They also went so far as to illegal reprogramme ATM Machines in their premises to reject cards issued by certain other banks thereby throwing the populace into unnecessary suffering.
Their said actions amounted to an undermining of the apparati of State, as well as deliberate breaches of the Banking Regulations and operational codes of conduct applicable in Kogi State. Every other category of business in the private sector opened as usual, and remained unmolested by Labour. They are therefore without excuse. We shall definitely have a hard talk with them soon but in the meanwhile, I hereby direct any financial house still engaging in such ill-advised misconduct to retrace her steps immediately and desist from a repeat in the future.
May I also remind these banks that they have profited for long from doing business in Kogi State including carrying salary and other state accounts and the least they can do is give back in these difficult times. That will certainly be more proactive and profitable than sulking and instigating revolt. Our doors are open and we are willing to hold conversations about how to move forward together.
We also believe that Labour can help here by leveraging members’ mass market appeal to pressure some of these banks to do their bit for Kogi State. They ought to be initiating competitive products of their own which the Administration can access on the right terms to improve the lot of our workers and the generality of our people.
1. Tax Rebates: We have been approached to grant tax rebates and reduce the taxes payable across board but we have had to say a firm NO. Taxes are the way forward globally, and more particularly so in the present socioeconomic challenges in Nigeria. It is the the heart of our reinvented Internally Generated Revenue Policy. Anyone who loves the progress of Kogi State will not ask for tax rebates or exemptions of any kind now. Our position has not gone down well with some people and they have it clear. Their displeasure is noted, but the answer is still NO.
4. Continuing Strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), KSU Branch: This is very unfortunate to say the least, especially as Tertiary Institutions were the first line charge in the disbursement of the bailout. They have received 4 out of the 5 months of salaries outstanding, but they keep asking for preferential treatment which we cannot accommodate now. Other sections of the service need to be considered too. Happily, we have only accessed only 40% of the bailout funds approved for us. We will continue to proportionately revisit ASUU members’ entitlements as we access more, but right now I urge them to return to the classroom. Our children need to be taught. Money can be paid but lost lives and opportunities cannot and our students are in danger of both each day they remain out of the classroom.
5. 2015 IMPROMPTU EMPLOYMENTS: The past Administration does not cease to amaze us with her fecklessness in governance. How a government that could not pay her existing workers could find wisdom in further bloating the workforce in the twilight of her tenure is a major puzzle. All employments made in 2015 remain suspended till further notice. We will dispassionately review them in the light of the current realities and decide way forward with compassion.
6. LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUTONOMY: We have granted autonomy to the 21 LGAs of Kogi State and there is no going back on that. Every lobbying to reverse this should be deemed a failure from inception. We have a firm handle on the Administrators and their Teams and will know if they embrace corrupt practices and we will deal with them appropriately.
This meeting was conceived to bring all participants of goodwill up to speed on the activities of government so they can interpret current happenings in the light of the facts and inform their constituents appropriately. By giving you information today, we expect you will be better positioned to make informed decisions about the programmes and efforts of government and communicate same clearly to your constituents so we can combat the pernicious lies peddled by our detractors together.
Thank you once again for coming.
God bless Nigeria.
God bless Kogi State.
God bless you.
GOVERNOR YAHAYA BELLO
4TH EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR
4TH JULY, 2016.