NGSG Pays N4.45B Bailout To 12 LG …Workers Still Owed

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By; Bala B. Bitrus, Minna.
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger state has expressed anger over the refusal by some council Chief Executives to pay their workers salaries even after the state government had provided bailout funds to them for that purpose.
The Governor deconstructed the falsehood and deceit being spread by the affected council Chairmen that the councils had not received funds from the state government.
Angered by the apparent sharp practices and corruption going on in twelve council areas of the state, the Governor has directed an immediate probe of the council areas to ascertain what was done with the monies disbursed to them by the state government to offset the backlog of unpaid salaries to their workers.
A statement from the government disclosed that the sum of N4.45 billion was remitted as bailout funds to the twelve councils between July last year and January this year purposefully for the payment of the salaries.
The statement from the spokesman of the Governor said the state government had cleared all the backlog of unpaid salaries in all the 25 local government councils in the state. It wondered why the issue of unpaid salaries was still hydra-headed.
To buttress the statement, Commissioner for Local Government, Community Development and Chieftaincy Affairs in the state, Haliru Zakari Jikantoro told newsmen on Thursday after the state’s executive council meeting that the state government had cleared all the backlog of unpaid salaries in the council areas.
 Jikantoro refuted as lies and deceitful, the rumours and insinuations making the rounds that the state government has not released funds for the payment of salaries to some local government councils as well as for for primary school teachers.
The Commissioner explained that “it is true that there were initially four months backlog of accrued salaries to twelve local government councils for council workers and for teachers in the the Education Departments.
He said however that the Governor, via an executive fiat, had instructed the Ministry of Finance to pay the money and that the money had since been released for the payment of salaries in the affected councils.
The Commissioner gave breakdowns of the releases as follows; “in July, last year, N748,000 was released as bail out to the affect councils. In August N778,000 was paid while a whooping sum of N2,190,000 was released as bail out in November and another N587,000,000 went to the councils in December 2016 for salary payment”.
He disclosed further that “the sum of N146 million was equally paid for the allowances of ex-councillors in all the 25 councils of the state.”
The Commissioner insisted that the state government had at no time, held on to the local government funds. He wondered why anyone could accused the state government for the non payment of the salaries of workers at the local councils.
The Commissioner disclosed that the state Governor has equally directed the immediate release of January, 2017 salary to the councils.
The twelve affected councils who have been defaulting in the payments of salaries to their workers include Agaie, Bida, Bosso, Chanchaga, Gbako, Katcha, Lapai, Lavun, Mokwa, Paikoro, Shiroro and Suleja.
The Commissioner said the Governor is appalled by the disturbing developments in the councils and had directed the Ministry of Local Government to set up a Commission of Enquiry to ascertain how and when the funds were released and to unearth how the funds were utilised.
The probe is to bring to book any erring council officials found wanting. Many heads amongst the affected council executives may soon row if the stance of the Governor on zero tolerance for theft and misappropriation is anything to hold.

It would be recalled that Governor Bello had last November sacked the Chairman and Vice Chairman of Suleja local government Council over gross abuse of office and misappropriation of public funds.

The Governor had vowed while swearing in a new council Chairman for Suleja that any pubic officer fund to have misappropriated public resources would be brought to book.

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