Niger State governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello has warned that there will be no escape route for any local government chairman or public office holder who engage in administrative impunity or financial recklessness.
He reiterated his decision to hands off local government funds, stressing that local government chairmen found wanting for misappropriation of public funds belonging to their councils will be dealt with according to the law.
He gave this warning after swearing in the new Suleja Local Government Council Chairman, Alhaji Abdullahi Shuaibu Maje in Government House, Minna.
The governor who took a swipe on some undisclosed council chairmen, who were in the habit of diverting funds meant for payment of salary and provision of infrastructural development under the guise of using such funds on security, noted that such practice was inimical to the development of the state.
“We noticed that some council cannot pay salaries, even when we gave them autonomy and some of them are not making efforts to improve. We still try to support them because they were owing workers salary.
“We helped them but some have refused to pay their workers the outstanding salary and they go about telling lies after the have diverted the funds under the disguise of using it on security. Any chairman found diverting public funds is on his own. ” the governor stated.
The governor then challenged the people to make their leaders accountable for money put in their trust on behalf of all.
“You are elected to serve the people. And not for your own selfish interest. If you don’t want to be accountable to the people, then, don’t seek elective office or take political appointment.”
He then directed Commissioner for local Government and Chieftaincy affairs to conduct a forensic audit of the account books and financial transactions of all local government affected in non-payment of salary with a view to bringing them to book.
“I want a forensic audit of each local government council by the office of the Auditor –General for local government. And any local government chairman found wanting will be suspended. ”
Gov. Sani Bello, then congratulated the new Suleja Local Government Chairman and advised him to be fair to all and carry everybody along in the council so as to ensure open door policy.
Justice Aliyu Maiyaki of the State High Court administered the oath of office and oath of allegiance on the new Chairman. Abdullahi Maje replaced the former Chairman, Ahmed Diko Kazeem who was removed in November last year over allegations of abuse of office.
Jibrin Baba Ndace
Chief Press Secretary