…PDP urges NASS to channel N10bn presidential fund to Kogi workers
…insists Gov Bello should face probe over squandered N700bn
By Ayo Fadimu
The Senate on Tuesday received a request from President Muhammadu Buhari for an approval to pay Kogi State Government N10.069 billion being refund of money spent by the state on behalf of Federal government.
The request was contained in a letter dated 10th October, 2019 and read by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, during plenary.
The requested amount is for the settlement of inherited local debts and contractual obligations of the Federal Government to the State for projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government.
President Buhari recalled that 24 out of 25 State Governments had received the approval of the National Assembly for the settlement of claims on projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government.
He added that the sum of N10.069 billion is outstanding amount due to Kogi State Government which is the only State yet to receive a refund.
The letter reads: “The Distinguished Senate President would recall that, based on my request for the Resolution of the National Assembly approving the establishment of a promissory note programme and a Bond Issuance to settle inherited Local Debts and Contractual Obligations of the Federal Government, the 8th National Assembly passed Resolutions approving the Issuance of Promissory Notes to refund State Governments for projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government.
“The Resolutions of the 8th Assembly were conveyed through three different letters from the Clerk of the National Assembly as follows: Letter dated July 27, 2018 and referenced NASS/CAN/106/Vol.10/277 which approved the Issuance of Promissory notes to 21 states.
“Letter dated January 29, 2019 and referenced NASS/CAN/106/Vol.11/004 which approved the Issuance of Promissory Notes to Delta and Taraba States; and letter dated May 23, 2019 and referenced NASS/CAN/106/Vol.11/164 which approved the Issuance of Promissory Notes to Bauchi State.”
“The three Resolutions approved the Issuance of Promissory Notes to 24 out of the 25 State Governments requested, and the only State for which approval has not been given is Kogi State, with an outstanding claim of N10,069,692,410.15.
“The Senate may wish to note that, subsequent to Resolutions of the National Assembly approving the refunds to the 24 State Governments, the Federal Government has issued Promissory Notes to all the approved States for the settlement of their claims.
“Accordingly, the Senate is hereby requested to kindly approve, the Issuance of a Promissory Note in the sum of N10, 069,692,410.15 as refund to Kogi State Government for Projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government.”
The Senate President referred President Buhari’s request to the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts for further legislative work.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged the National Assembly to invoke its statutory powers and directly channel the N10.069 billion Presidential funds for payment of salaries and pensions of suffering Kogi state workers.
The PDP says it is scandalous that the Buhari Presidency, with its claims of transparency and integrity, would seek to mislead the National
Assembly by asserting that the fund is for projects done by the state government on behalf of the Federal Government, when in reality no one can point to any such project executed by Governor Yahaya Bello in the last four years.
The PDP describes as endorsement of corruption and inexcusable injury to the people of Kogi state, for President Muhammadu Buhari to seek to direct funds to Governor Yahaya Bello, for phantom projects, and neglect the Kogi workers many of whom are owed salaries and pension in arrears of 36 months.
Such action by Mr. President further confirms that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is directly in league with Governor Yahaya Bello to strangulate the people of Kogi state.
The PDP holds that if there are no intensions of pushing the fund to Governor Bello for anti-people purposes, the Presidency is challenged to name and point to the particular project executed by Governor Bello as well as make the terms and payment agreements public for Nigerians to see.
If the Buhari Presidency means well for Kogi state, it should reword its request and put the interest of the masses ahead of all selfish and parochial political considerations, particularly as the state approaches a critical election in which the people have made up their minds to vote out Governor Yahaya Bello.
Mr. President cannot claim to be unaware of the critical situation of workers in Kogi state. He cannot claim to be unaware that workers in Kogi State are being owed, in some cases up to 36 months, and that retirees and seniors are dying over non payments of their pensions after giving the best of their lives in public service.
The PDP therefore urges President Buhari to resist attempts by his handlers and Governor Bello to drag his Presidency into this shameful attempt to steal fund that ought to go to the suffering masses in Kogi state.
Furthermore, the party charges the legislature to be on the side of the people by applying its legislative instruments to commence an immediate investigation into the alleged squandering of over N700 billion Kogi state funds by the Bello administration in the last four years.
The PDP also calls on the people of Kogi state as well as financial watch organizations to be at alert, monitor all disbursement of funds to Kogi state and ensure that Governor Bello and the APC do not achieve their aim of diverting the N10.069 billion for their selfish purposes.