The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL has charged Governors to direct and channel the Paris Club loan Refund recently ordered to be released to the states by President Mohammadu Buhari to the real beneficiaries.
The Fund according to the President is specifically for the settlement of unpaid salaries and pension arrears of their workers in the respective states. He said “I will not rest until I address those issues that affect our people. One of these basic things is the issue of salaries. It is most important that workers are able to feed their families, pay rent and school fees, then other things can follow.”
The Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran who spoke on behalf CACOL said the news of the release of the second tranche of the Paris Club loan Refund enthralled the organization. He however expressed fear and suspicion concerning the possible mismanagement and misappropriation or outright embezzlement of the funds by some Governors.
He said “we are impressed by the decision of the President to order the release of the loan Refund and the further instruction given by him that Governors should make sure that the funds gets to the end beneficiaries. But we recall the bail-out funds given out to some states previously by the Federal government never got to be used for the purpose they were meant to serve, that is, to pay arrears of workers’ salaries. The funds which were given to governors then in order to help people out of economic hardship were mismanaged by some state governors which increased the sufferings of the end benefiaries at the end of the day.”
Adeniran further highlighted the unfairness and wickedness of governors who divert or mismanage funds meant for pensioners who die on daily basis die while queuing for their pensions or workers who are left to hungers because of unpaid arrears and salaries. “Such funds are supposed to be ‘sacred’ given the fact that the beneficiaries had served the country so loyally and diligently for years only to die of hunger at the hands of the operators of the states.” He averred
He concluded that “The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offence Commission, ICPC and other anti-corruption agencies should be pro-active by keeping their lenses on the movement and handling of the funds and how it is been allocated in each state. This will help in reducing the impunity with which some the governors divert, mismanage or embezzle funds meant for specific purposes leading to socio-economic crisis that increases the sufferings of the ordinary Nigerian.”