Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has warned against any act that would lead to misuse of the second tranche of the Paris/London club refund to the state, which stands at N10 billion from the federal government.
He noted that out of the money, N919 million is meant for the eight local government councils.
This is contained in statement by the Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Iworiso-Markson made available to journalists in Yenagoa.
The Governor’s spokesman said that the governor made the confirmation at the Government House in Yenagoa on Wednesday, when he played host to labour leaders in the state.
Dickson directed the State Commissioner for Finance, Maxwell Ebibai to immediately release the money to enable them carry out their obligations, especially to clear some outstanding salaries.
The governor warned that, the money for the councils should be properly utilized and not be shared by a few to further enrich themselves at the expense of the various workers in their respective councils.
Dickson said, “I have directed that the money should be transferred to them latest tomorrow (Thursday). As for this money, let me make it clear that is not for them to share and chop. It is not free money, so those who will be celebrating that money has come to be shared will be disappointed.”
“One of the greatest problems we have in this state is the fact that people always think that any money that come is free money for them to share and chop. They don’t want the state to be developed. We have had leaders after leaders, year after year. Twenty years after the creation of the state it is now we are building good schools, health institutions.”
While thanking the labour leaders for their support and understanding, the governor said, the disclosure of the refund from the federal government is in line with his administration’s open policy on public finance, which has been maintained since 2012.
“You people should know me by now. I have been here for almost six years and any money that comes we always announce it. Month after month, we disclose our income and expenditure in the Transparency Briefing. And I think we are the only state doing that,” Dickson said.
The State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Hon. Jonathan Obuebite, who briefed journalists after the interactive session between the governor and the labour leaders, said it was agreed that, part of the money should be used to clear backlog of salaries.
“I am happy to announce that after a peaceful, fruitful and candid meeting, it was resolved that the government will use part of the fund to pay one and a half month salary. Initially we had thought that it was N14 billion that will come in, so we can pay two months, but that was what came in. Pensioners are also going to be paid,” he said.
The Chairman, Bayelsa State council of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), John Ndiomu and his counterpart of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Tari Dounana commended the government for disclosing the share of the state in the latest fund and for inviting them to interact on how to utilize the money.
They assured all workers that, every outstanding salary owed by the government will be paid to them and urged them to continue to give their best.