REVIEWED: See The 35 Out Of 36 State Governors Hiding Palliative Money -Anti-Corruption Group Alleges

Leading anti-corruption body, Follow The Money (FTM) has accused 35 state governors in the country of hiding the N9 billion palliative and infrastructure development funds provided by the Federal Government, saying that only Plateau State has been open on the money....READ FULL ARTICLE

FTM co-founder, Hamzat Lawal, speaking in an interview said Nigerian governors have kept mum following confirmation of the receipt of the money which came as N2 billion for fuel subsidy removal palliatives and N7 billion for infrastructure development.

Noting how FTM sent Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to all 36 governors to confirm their receipt of the money and the utilization of the same, he said:

“It is only one governor, which is the Plateau State Governor that responded to our FOI request,” who he said asked for time to respond.

“After two weeks, I got a detailed correspondence from the executive governor’s office giving us details of the beneficiaries for the N2bn and also details on how they were intending to spend the N7bn on capital projects for infrastructural development.

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“We have also deployed people within Plateau State to go and verify one on those who were beneficiaries of the palliatives and two on the deployment for the infrastructural development projects.”

Noting the failure of the 35 other governors to account for the money, Lawal said:

“As I speak to you, 35 state governors have not acknowledged let alone provide information. Mind you, under the law they are mandated to respond within seven days but as I speak to you, they have not acknowledged let alone respond.

“And they have collected N7b for infrastructural development and N2b for palliatives support for the removal of fuel subsidy which is N9b. why are they not saying anything. Why are they not accounting for this money.”

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Noting that focus had been on the Federal Government and not on States, he said:

“This is where the state assemblies come into play. I always say that without the state House of Assembly and the National Assembly we don’t have a democracy because that’s where they ensure check and balance.”

“What’s supposed to happen is for the state assemblies to call for public hearings. Mind you we have public account committees that are chaired by opposition parties. Why are the public account committees not calling for public hearing and holding the executive governors accountable?

“We cannot have 35 state governors and think that they are above the law. The FOI Act is clear, they are mandated and compelled to respond to us. This is worrisome; when you have executive governors who think that they have undertaken or have collected a state that is mired with debts.

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“If we cannot hold our state governors accountable what will happen is that we will now have state captures and that will lead to anarchy. That is totally unacceptable. I hope that organisations like SERAP will hold the governors accountable.

“When the minister of finance first made the announcement some of them (governors) came forward to say that they didn’t get the money. But now that they have all gotten the money, they have all kept mute, gone deaf, they don’t want to respond.

“Obviously, there is something for them to hide because when public officials are not willing to give information that is tantamount to corruption. That means they have something to hide. If they don’t have something to hide like the Plateau State governor, they would have provided this detailed information,” the group said....READ FULL ARTICLE

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