Taraba: Workers, Ex-LG Chairman Accuse State Govt Of Mismanaging Councils’ Fund
The rights of council workers in Taraba state have not only been trampled upon, it has been pushed to the wall to the extent that many of them are now left with no any other options than to drag before the anti-graft commissions the council chairmen.
The situation was necessitated by the alleged meddlesomeness of the state government in the funds meant for the third tiers of government from the federation account is presently at the verge of crippling government activities in the council areas.
Like the workers, the chairmen, are as well not finding it easy following the continued refusal of the state government to make available to the councils the exact amounts allocated to the councils from the federation account.
The sad situation as observed by The Guardian makes it impossible for council workers to get their monthly salaries as at when due.
Embarking on projects such as grading rural roads, renovation of schools, as well as making health facilities available in the various council health clinics is now a mirage in the state.
Even when the council workers alongside their chairmen were observed to be avidly ready to contribute their quotas to the growth of their various council areas, the state government is fast frustrating such efforts.
Some past chairmen who would not want their names disclosed said rural growth would have been taken to greater height, if not for the lukewarm attitudes of the state government.
According to one of the ex-chairmen “ for the much needed growth to be attained in local government, the federal government would have to come in by giving directly to the councils their monthly federal allocations.”
Citing the way and manner the Taraba state government has been tampering with allocation meant for local governments from the federation account “ if that continues” council workers in the state will continue to go cap in hands begging for food.”
He revealed how council chairmen in the state are often made to sign huge amounts of money without such monies released to them.
Worried by the ongoing development, he said “ my friend, I don’t think there is any local government council in this country that is experiencing the predicaments council chairmen are facing in this state.”
He said: “I am talking from experience because I have been there before and may likely go back there. Could you believe that whenever our funds from the federation account arrived, the state government would make us to sign for what we did not receive?
“ For instance, if what is due for your council from the federation account is N100million, they will make you sign for that amount but at the end, if you are lucky you go back to your council with N40 or N55 millions.”
“Tell me what would such amount be use for. How can you embark on meaningful projects when even to pay salary is difficulty? How possible is it for you to even pay contractors.”
One of such councils that have decided to take the bull by the horn by dragging their former chairman to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC) is Donga Local Government Council.
In their petition which was made available to The Guardian, they expressed dismay that workers of the council have not been paid salaries for months now.”
It was alleged that the said council chairman who is now a member of the State House of Assembly single-handedly mismanaged the council funds and took several loans with high interest rate.
Signed by the NULGE chairman of the council, Museh Kefas Ezekiel, the workers urged the commission to as a matter of urgency investigate the evil practice in the council.
Rather than seeking ways of putting smiles on the faces of the workers before leaving for the State House of Assembly seat, the said ex-council chairman, according to the petition employed the services of thugs to beat and caused disharmony among the workers.”
A top government functionaries, told The Guardian reporter, to “ hands off the affairs of the council because there is no state governor in this country that does not tamper with local government funds from the federation account.”