APC faults Kogi’s claim on failure to access bailout funds



22 parties sign gender commitment pact

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has faulted the Governor Idris Wada led Kogi State Government’s claims over its inability to access the bailout funds required to settle outstanding salaries and allowances of workers in the state.

APC National Publicity Secretary and newly sworn in Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in Abuja, described as cheap blackmail the decision by the Kogi State Government and the PDP Governors’ Forum to blame political interference for the delay in releasing bailout funds for the state.

The party denied, saying it had no business with the release or otherwise of the bailout funds to Kogi state. ‘’This accusation is in line with the new-found propensity of the PDP to blame everyone but itself for the woes that have befallen the party in recent times.”

APC said, “our investigations have revealed that the Kogi State Government has not been able to justify the over N50 billion it is asking for as bailout funds. It is curious that the chunk of the funds, which the state is asking for, over N40 billion, is for the payment of the salaries of Local Government workers.

‘’The state is saying the backlog of salaries owed to these categories of workers dates back to 2011. How can that be, when Nigeria was not even broke in 2011? How can the state owe local government workers when it has been collecting N2.2 billion monthly in allocation for local governments, amounting to over N100 billion in four years?

‘’The figures and explanations tendered by the Kogi State Government to justify the request for N50.8 billion in bailout funds are not tenable, especially because only N4.9 billion of the amount is for the payment of workers in the state civil service.

Meanwhile, the Women Advocate Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) brokered a gender dialogue debate in Lokoja, with the United Nations Democratic Programme (UNDP) and civil society groups, where the twenty-two political parties affirmed commitment and signed a pact focusing on health, education, decision making, child abuse and violence against women, poverty alleviation and others.

UNDP Democratic Governance specialist and Project Director, Mintwab Zelelew Tafesse, said that the issue of gender equality is core to any democratic setting. “Gender equality is a basic human right for women to enjoy full legal equality and equality of opportunity.

Executive Director, WARDC, Dr. Abiola Afolabi-Akiyode, lamented that there is limited attention to gender and women issues from the political actors and more disturbing is the very few women candidates emerging during this electoral dispensation.

“The INEC report shows that for the 2015 General Elections, Kogi state updates register of voters have 1, 351, 313 registered voters in the 2,548 polling units in the state, women represents 50 per cent of the total number of registered voters.

“However, amongst the 22 contestants, there are only two women candidates for the coming gubernatorial polls, in the house and national assembly, there is no woman representative who won elections in the 2015 General Elections and so we need to redefine the gender relations in the state.”

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