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Wike, Okowa, others dare Buhari to name governors stealing local governments’ allocations

Some governors have challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to name state governors he accused of stealing from the monthly allocation to local government councils in their states.

Recall that the president on Thursday, December 1, 2022, after delivering his speech at an event hosted for members of the senior executive course 44 (2022) of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) at the presidential villa in Abuja indicated that governors steal from local government council allocations.

He lamented that the governors treat the local government level unfairly.

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The president made reference to “fraudulent acts” carried out by some governors in the distribution of funds intended for the management of local councils.

He said it’s unfathomable that some state governors would collect money on behalf of council areas, and only remit half of such allotment to the council chairpersons.

“If the monies from the federal government to state governments is N100 million, let’s put it at N100 million — N50 million will be sent to the chairman with a letter that he will sign that he received N100 million,” he said.

However, reacting on Friday, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike dissociated himself from state governors, who dipped their hands into local government fund, received from the Federation Account and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to name the culpable governors.

Wike, who spoke at the inauguration of Mgbuosimini Ring and Internal Roads in Rumueme Kingdom of Obio-Akpor Local Government Area (LGA) on Friday, said the generalisation done by Buhari was unfair.

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The governor stated that since 2015, he has never had any reason to tamper with local government funds, saying, “Mr. President, as a true leader to tell Nigerians those governors pilfering council funds. Please, spare me, tell Nigerians that the Integrity Governors are not part of them. We have integrity. And do us a favour to announce all those states that are taking local government money because you have the records.”

Wike said when he was a council chairman under the administration of former governor Peter Odili, the governor never touched their funds, and that was an example he has continued to practice.
Ordinarily, he noted, majority of the road projects his administration carried out should have been done by local government councils, but he has never asked any council for partnership to fund any project.

Governor Wike informed that his administration has also given optimal consideration to the payment of pension and gratuity. According to him, over N3 billion was spent monthly by the state to cater to that concern.

Similarly, Okowa challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to name state governors he accused of stealing from the monthly allocation to local government councils in their states.

Okowa who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, said it was unfortunate for the president to have made such a blanket statement.  

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, according to him, supports Local Government Councils with N300 million on monthly basis and Okowa cannot therefore be counted among governors pilfering local council funds.

He said: “Okowa does this religiously. For a man who does that, how can he be among those stealing LG money? Our governor is not part of it. If a roll call is taken about the governors that fall in that bracket being referred to by the President, certainly Okowa will not be there. He will be among those whose names will be written in gold for being very fair and magnanimous for LG in Delta State.

“He makes sure that JAAC meets regularly to ensure that things don’t go wrong”.

Noting that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa was not demanding apology from the president for the declarative statement, he said; “the reactions that have so far greeted it showed that it injured some states”.

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