Bank seizes N3.9b Paris Club loan refunds of Adamawa
•Edo pensioners protest against non-payment of gratuities
•They are sponsored, says government
An alleged confiscation of N3.9 billion received by Adamawa State from the Paris Club Loan Refunds has created anxiety among workers in the state.
A source at the Yola branch of a bank, which was responsible for the confiscation said the money was part of the N6 billion naira that the state received from the Federal Government.
The situation has allegedly dashed the hope of teachers and health workers, whose salaries were among those slated to be paid from the refunds.
According to a source who did not want his name in print, the amount represented the overdraft that the state government took from the bank. “We had to deduct the money because there are no practical signs that the state would pay us, especially as we are approaching political campaign years.
“As a business organisation, we have to be smart in recovering our money. After this Paris Club refunds, we don’t know when the government would receive such a huge amount again.”
An official of the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) confirmed that Governor Mohammed Umaru Bindow, informed members of the National Union of Teachers ( NUT) about the confiscation.
He said the governor explained his inability to pay the salaries of teachers and health workers due to the challenge. Efforts by The Guardian to make the Commissioner for Finance, Mahmoud Salihu to confirm the matter were unsuccessful as he failed to respond to text messages sent to his phone.
Governor Bindow had earlier hinted that the commissioner was arrested by the Gombe State office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged contract scam.
Meanwhile, pensioners in Edo State yesterday protested against the state government’s alleged non-payment of the arrears of their pensions and gratuities.
The protest caused traffic gridlock in the city centre as they marched through Oba Ovonramwen Square for several hours. Their spokesman, Gabriel Osemwekha lamented that many of their members have died because they could not afford medical treatment.
But the state government described the protest as stage-managed. A statement by the the governor’s Special Adviser, Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie said the genuine pensioners were satisfied with government’s efforts at paying them promptly.
The statement warned suspected bad eggs among the pensioners to desist from allowing disruptive elements to use them as tools of propaganda.
Osemwekha said: “Governor Godwin Obaseki is relunctant to pay the pensioners, many of whom have health challenges.
“Since the money is our only means of livelihood, we are frustrated by the pressure from our creditors to pay them the accumulated debt that we owe them.”