Bello’s N10b salary loan stirs more controversy in Kogi
The N10 billion loan obtained by Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello to pay workers salary is stoking another controversy, as some stakeholders have again, questioned its legality and appropriateness.
They are questioning the three principal officers of the state House of Assembly for secretly approving the N10 billion supplementary budget.It was gathered that officers endorsed the supplementary budget of over N10 billion without following due process.
Governor Bello, who disclosed what should have remained in government circles in an interview with State House correspondents, declared that he took the loan to pay a backlog of workers salary.
The executive director, Center for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR), Miliki Abdul, condemned the governor for taking the loan without following due process.
Abdul who made the observation in a statement queried the state government’s decision to unilaterally take loans without the approval of the State House of Assembly, adding that the issue was not a subject of debate at the House.He said: “The biggest issue here is the N10b claimed to have been borrowed to offset the salaries of Kogi workers. Who approved it and when? Can a state government obtain such a loan without the approval of the House of Assembly?
He said, as a civil society organisations working in the Kogi State House of Assembly in the last nine years and having participated in various public hearings, organised seminars and workshops for the Assembly, initiated bills that had been passed by the Assembly, he never witnessed when such loan request on the floor debated and approved by the relevant committees.
He challenged the Kogi State House of Assembly to respond to the issue or it would be considered that the Assembly approved the loan secretly without the knowledge of the Kogi people.
Bello had sent a letter to the Assembly on July 31, 2017 seeking approval for a supplementary budget of N11 billion.He had stated in the request letter that the supplementary budget would take care of certain areas of economic development that were not previously captured in the approved budget, adding that when approved, it would enable the administration execute its programmes.
Former Speaker of the House, Ahmed Imam, after reading the letter before his colleagues, directed the Majority Leader, Mathew Kolawole to slate it on the order paper for consideration at the next legislative day.
Imam was forced to direct Kolawole to slate it for business of the next day because of its opposition by 99 per cent of the members, who had accused the governor of spending recklessly.
Governor Bello had earlier in the year signed a N175 billion appropriation bill into law as approved by the Assembly.Efforts to reach the governor’s spokesperson, Kingsley Fanwo, did not go through as his line was switched off.
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