Niger probes N4.4bn bailout funds to LGAs

Posted by News Express | 20 February 2017 | 1,836 times

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•Governor Sani Bello.

Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, has inaugurated a seven-man administrative panel of enquiry to ascertain the utilisation of the N4.4 billion bailout to 12 local government councils for payment of salary arrears to workers. 

The panel headed by a retired Permanent Secretary in the state Civil Service, Mr. Daniel Clifford Tarachi, is to unravel why the affected local government councils failed to pay staff salaries despite the bail out by the state government.

Governor Sani Bello said the setting up of the panel became necessary following high level of financial recklessness and impunity at the grassroots level and the need to curtail the development from further causing more havoc.

He frowned at what he called “irresponsible behaviour of some of the local government chief executives” for refusing to pay their staff even when the state government has released funds to assist them.

He observed that some of the affected local government councils have started paying when they heard of government’s move to look into the immediate and remote cause of their failure to pay.
Jibrin Baba Ndace, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, quoted his principal as saying: “I find it necessary to set up this panel to know what really happened, what went wrong, how the fund given was disbursed and what it was used for. I cannot understand why primary school teachers and local government staff will be owed 3, 4 or 5 months salary after the councils have been given money to pay. 

“We used the proceeds from the Paris Club recovery to bail out the affected councils but some Chairmen diverted and use the money for some flimsy things like, claiming to have used it for security matters some even borrowed the money.

“This is not acceptable. We are going to get to the root of the matter and any chairman found wanting will face the law.”

Ndace, in a statement issued on Monday in Minna, said that Governor Sani Bello then charged the panel to be thorough in carrying out the assignment, stressing that no stone should be left unturned in the course of carrying out the assignment.

“I demand for a thorough job. A clear picture of what happened without sparing anyone.
Let me know if you have any problem or you are not getting the needed cooperation, even if the Ministry of Local Government is not because there are arguments by some LGAs that they have not receive their fund and the ministry says it has release. The panel must work hard to unearth the truth,” the governor was quoted as saying. 

Ndace disclosed that the panel has one month to complete its assignment.

Source: News Express

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