…el-Rufai yet to release LGAs Share
…Lawmakers urged to investigate
… Traditional rulers starved of salaries for months
Several weeks after the Nigerian government refunded monies that were excessively deducted during the servicing of Paris Club debt, there is suspicion over the where about of N14.3billion meant for Kaduna state.
Over USD12 billion was refended to the federal government and president Muhammadu Buhari immediately ordered the sharing of the money to federal, state and local governments.
In Kaduna state, despite public declaration of autonomy for Local governments by governor Nasir el-Rufai, the Paris club fund has not been shared.
Elanza News reports that the development is breeding suspicion over the where about of the funds meant for local governments in Kaduna state.
It was gathered that Kaduna state got over N14.3billion Naira from the share of the Paris club fund.
To this end, members of the Kaduna State House of Assembly have been urged to unravel the mystery behind the inability of the state government to share the funds to the local governments.
Some of the LGAs, Elanza News gathered, can barely operate for non-release of funds despite public declaration of Local government autonomy by the state governor, el-Rufai.
It was gathered that most of the LGAs in Kaduna state are just managing to run their day-to-day offices for lack of funds.
Sources said the inability of some local governments to settle the salaries of those that were unjustly removed from their payrolls during the seeming endless verification exercises and that of the traditional council was as a result of poor funding of the councils by the state government.
Kaduna state LGAs have not had elected chairmen since the present administration came to power.
“Most of the District and Village heads have not been paid for a long time. In some local governments, they have stayed for over a year without pay. Others are indebted for six or seven months, depending on the financial strength of such councils.”
“The inability of some councils to pay the traditional institution what is rightly due to them have contributed in no small measure to escalate the security challenges in the state. Instead of the traditional rulers to focus on maintaining law and order in their communities they are struggling with different ailments without source of income to treat themselves, those with little strength have abandoned their jobs and have resorted to farm to make ends meets.”
“Funds for their payments (Paris Club Refund) is either lying dormant in Treasury Single Account or in a Fix Deposit account for the benefit of some microscopic few at the loop of power. While I don’t have any reason to doubt the governor’s commitment to remit what is rightly due to Local governments, I don’t know what has happened midway to make the government of Kaduna state to reneged on her earlier commitment to readily release funds to local governments as her sign of commitment to local government autonomy,” a source said.
According to one Mustapha Haruna Farakwai, the inability of the state government to release funds to local governments is not only having negative implications on civil servants and traditional council but also the political class, especially the governors trusted persons he sent to hold forth those councils in trust for him.”
“Many of them never got funds to execute any project. The Paris Club refund money would have given them the opportunity to touch lives and communities, which will later serve as their political capital. Some of them don’t have any project to show for their either six, twelve or seventeen months on the helm of affairs as council chairmen.”
“If nothing urgent is done to release the funds due to the councils, APC and the local government chairmen should as well forget about any aspiration for now. The State government will reap from it when it is time for election as the class of the Interim Management Committee that coordinated his campaign would be rejected by their people,” he said.
He said there was no better time for the state government to release those funds for either construction of roads, drainage, culvert, rural electrification or borehole than now.
“Raining season is at the window where construction sites are largely put on hold. In the business of restoring the greatness of our dear state, we don’t have the luxury of time to waste, every moment count,” he said.
“We are calling on the members of Kaduna State House of Assembly to urgently look into the matter, as the people that elected them to represent them are suffering while funds that would bettered their lives is laying fallow in a strange account, doing nothing.”
As at the time of filing this report, Kaduna state government is yet to make an official statement on the development. The governor’s spokesman, Samuel Aruwan could not be reach.