Tuesday, 12 September 2017
NLC to name, shame Govs not using Paris Club refund well
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said on Tuesday that it was prepared name and shame state governors who failed to utilize the Paris Club refund for the purpose it was meant for, insisting that the President demand the state governors to account for the money before any further release is made to them.
Reacting to a statement by President Muhammadu Buhari accusing the governor of misdirecting the Paris Club refund, NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba said it was unfortunate that despite their promises to use the money to pay workers salaries and pension, the governors have refused to live by their words.
He said that some of the state governors have even refused to disclose how much they received and how it was utilized, pointing out that the Chairman of the Governors Forum who made a commitment on behalf of his colleague has, himself not utilize the money judiciously.
Wabba said the President was actually reacting to its letter asking him not to approve the release of the third and last tranche of the fund to the governors until they account for what they have received.
He said: “It is our letter he was reacting to. At our CWC meeting, we called on him not to release the last tranche of the Paris Club refund to the states because the governors have not kept their word.
“You remember that Chairman of the Governors Forum alluded to the fact that they are committed to using the money to address the issue of liability of pension and salaries. Unfortunately, the Chairman of the Governors Forum has not lived up to those words.
“As you are aware, our workers in Zamfara have shut down the state. He himself that ,are the pronouncement could not honoured the words that he pronounced on behalf of his colleagues. That is to show the level of deceit that is actually in the system and that is why we decided to write to the President to ensure that, there is a level of accountability to show that he is actually on the same page with the governors.
“Before the second tranche was released, they made commitments and used the payment of workers salaries and pensions as a bait to get the President to approve and get the money across to them. But immediately they got the money, majority of them diverted the money. Right now, we have a standard data as to what the situation is in all states of the Federation.
“Let me make the point that some has actually judiciously untilise their own, but states like Ekiti, Kogi, Benue, Zamafara among is even refused to make available how. Ugh they received.
“You remember what happened at the Kogi state House of Assembly where a member raised a motion to demand accountability on the issue of the Paris Club refund and that resulted in the chaos we witnessed in the Assembly. That member had his head broken and the Speaker removed. That is the level of decay that is prevailing in some of those states.
“It means that Mr President is in touch with the real issues that is happening in every state. The fact that he is aware that some of the governors have not utilized the money in the direction that he appealed to them means that he is aware of what is happening.
“So, I think that going forward, we must demand for accountability. We are also aware that a lot of information is already in the public domain where a lot of them resorted to the use of consultants.
“We learnt that about 5 percent was deducted from source and used for the payment of consultants which eventually ended up in peoples pocket. We are also aware of those that diverted the money to build hotels and pay mortgages. It is really a bad situation.
“If we must fight corruption, those issues are issues that we must follow up and fight the, to their logical conclusion. Having made that pronouncement, I think k he should be commended, but we must also demand accountability from these people.
“In some of the states, our members used the freedom of information act to demand how these money were utilized, but there has been no responses and I think that is most unfortunate. We have records of those states. We have also promised that we are going to name and shame those states that has not adequately utilized the bail out.
“We are working on the data and once they are ready, we will make the, available and we are going to engage states that has not transparently utilized the bail out fund for the purpose that it was meant for and for the benefit of their people. That is where we are now and it is not a good situation at all and that is why the situation of workers have not improved.
“Despite the fact that some efforts have gone in, the situation of workers have not I proved because there has been no transparency in some states in the utilization of those funds. Let me emphasized that some states have done extremely well and we are going to point this out very clearly.”
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