Kogi Paris Club Refund; Stolen, Lost or Mismanaged?

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January this year, Federal Government released N388.304 billion out of N522.74 billion to 35 states as refunds of over-deductions on London-Paris Club loans. My dear Kogi State got N11,211,573,328.19.

Again, on Tuesday, 18th July, 2017, another tranche of Paris Club Refund totaling N243,795,465,195.20 was released to the 36 states and the federal capital territory upon the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari on May 4, 2017. The gap-toothed Governor of Kogi State pocketed N6,027,727,595.80.

In total, Kogi State government has collected N17,239,300,923.99.

The question on the lips on many Kogi indigene is, What happened to these funds?

The rumour in town suggests that the second tranche of the Paris Club Refund ‘entered voicemail’. It is been alleged that the second tranche of over N6billion was used to service part the humongous debts owed by the state. But in what looked like a grand deceit, the Commissioner of Finance, Asiru Idris Asiwaju released a press statement on Saturday, 29th July, 2017 that N2 billion has been released to the 21 local government councils in the state as their share of the N6.2 billion of the Paris Club refund the state received from the Federal Government. He claimed state government got N4.2 billion from the windfall. However, Asiru’s ‘film-trick’ statement did not materialize into bank alerts of paid salaries.

It is worth mentioning that salaries were no paid to any worker in that same month of July. Just yesterday I read that lecturers at Kogi State Polytechnic are going on strike for non-payment of July salaries. Omaye mi, the few workers that were paid July salaries got 50% of their sweat. Same July we got over N6 billion!!

I am constrained to ask, what happened to the two tranches of Paris Club refund we got in Kogi state? Has it been stolen or it got lost between Abuja and Lokoja? Was it mismanaged by the government? One thing is very clear, the over N17 billions collected by Governor Yahaya Bello as Paris Club refund was not used for salaries of workers and pensions for retirees.

We will continue to ask to know the whereabouts of these funds till we get satisfactory answer from Kogi State government.

Patriotic Kogites, please help me ask Governor Bello, where is Kogi Paris Club Refund? Has it been Stolen, Lost or Mismanaged? We can no longer tolerate this ‘Yahoo-Yahoo’ approach to governance.

– Adamu Ojonugwa writes from Lokoja


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