*says liabilities stand at N137bn
By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
Bauchi State Governor-elect, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed has expressed dismay that an estimated N250 billion loans and liabilities are hanging on the necks of poor people of the state orchestrated by the out-going administration.
“I don’t know how we are going to repay this huge debt, but we are going to take steps to ascertain the veracity of the loans with a view to making sure that we come out with cash-flow that will defray the liabilities while providing infrastructure and services at the same time”, he said.
The Governor-elect who was speaking while receiving the report of the State transition Committee on the eve of his swearing-in ceremony Wednesday, said that he had already warned banks in the state against giving spurious loans to the out-going APC administration.
“I have already told the banks, any bank that gave spurious loans, known that we have not seen the source or the beginning and the end of it, we are not going to be liable, and we will take the best of lawyers to go and fight for the rights of the people of Bauchi state”.
Senator Bala Mohammed wondered how the out-going administration took a loan of N3.4billion to purchase vehicles when it was unable to pay April 2019 salaries and pensions of civil servants and pensioners, coupled with serious gap in the provision of infrastructure and services in the state.
“We also estimated that every year we get a counterpart funding of N3 – 4billion in addition to what we have, but today all our primary schools have their roofs blown off, even the teachers we have are not there, we have nothing to show with the interventions from the federal government”.
To this end, the governor-elect disclosed that his administration will set up a powerful assets and property recovery committee to be composed of people of proven integrity to ensure that the state is not short-changed.
He noted with regret that at the last minutes of the out-going administration houses are being sold and vehicles carted away, stressing that his government is poised to ensure that the about 100 vehicles said to have been purchased are really on ground.
“One of the take away that I always celebrate Bauchi state for was the law to fight corruption, but unfortunately on the verge of the exit of the APC administration, that legacy has been reversed by the same administration whereby the law to recover public property enacted and signed by the same administration was reversed in a kangaroo legislation that had gone through 1, 2, 3 readings and signing into law within 24 hours”, he cried fault.
The governor-elect described it as shameful to be part of that misnomer having being a citizen of Bauchi state, saying however that as a Senator he knows how laws and regulations are being brought up, hence his administration will do the same legislation to repeal the obnoxious law.
He assured the people of the state and indeed Nigerians, which they have passed through the process of accountability so that whatever they are going to do will be with an open mind, recalling that he was one of the most investigated public officer in Nigeria after leaving the FCT as a Minister.
“That has shown to you that if you subject yourself to accountability, definitely it is a painful process, but if you are innocent, you will prevail”, governor-elect contented.
He further assured that his administration will do whatever it can in terms of investigations with an open mind, and will not be a party to joining issues with the out-going administration with a view to making sure that justice and equity is done in the course of investigations.
Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed however assured that despite all these odds, his administration will establish structures within the system to be able to provide services and infrastructure, and good governance in Bauchi state.
Presenting the report of the committee earlier, its chairman, Senator Adamu Ibrahim Gumba said that his committee established that the out-going administration in the state accumulated a liability of over N137 billion within a period of only four years.
Gumba said, “It is worthy of note that the administration proceeding the out-going left a liability of about N96 billion for the period of eight years to its successor, the out-going administration. In contrast, the out-going administration has accumulated a liability of over N137 billion within a period of only four years”.
According to him, the committee similarly found out that contract for roads construction was spitted without a proper synergy between the contractors with the consequent result of either poor quality of work or even abandonment.
He further revealed, “Contracts for the roads were awarded at very exorbitant rates ranging from N50m to over N80million per kilometer as against the standard and genetic rate of N35 million per kilometer.
Senator Adamu Gumba said the committee also noted that SUBEB is one of the government agencies that regularly receive large inflow of funds, but denied the committee access to relevant information which made its work inconclusive, hence the need that the agency be investigated by a high powered committee.
“The transition committee found out that a lot of Government vehicles and other properties were taken away by both government officials and political office holders of the out-going administration.
This, committee chairman frowned, is not acceptable, more so that the out-going administration personally took it as a duty to retrieve most of such vehicles from its predecessor when it took over, hence the recommendation that a committee be set up to identify and retrieve such vehicles and other government properties as quickly as possible.
He also noted with dismay that BASGIS completely usurped the duties of Ministry of Lands and Survey, as for the two years of its establishment operated without a Board and Land Use Allocation Committee with its DG carrying out revocation and allocation of lands at his whims and caprices.
Gumba also recalled that the out-going administration put in the public domain the purchase of 500 units of tractors during one of Mr. President’s visit to the state, but the whereabouts of these tractors are unknown, hence the committee recommended for an inquiry into their whereabouts.