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We can’t blame governors for diverting bailout funds, lawmaker says



The lawmaker representing Akure North/South Federal Constituency of Ondo State in the House of Representatives on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hon Afe Olowookere Wednesday in Abuja held brief for state governors who used part of their bailout funds for other projects outside the payment of outstanding salaries and pensions.

Speaking in an interview with our correspondent on Wednesday, Olowookere said the need for increased commitment to infrastructure necessitated governors’ demand for more bailout.

The bailout fund was given to states, especially those who owed several months of salaries and pensions to the workers and retirees.

However, some of the states had used a larger part of the fund for other projects while still owing several months’ salaries.

Olowookere, while defending the governors, expressed concern over the bad state of infrastructure in the country.

“This may not go down well with the civil servants, but the concern of some of these governors is that certain money was given as bailout, but some of them are conscious of the percentage of civil servants in their states.

“If every money received is spent on paying salary and issues as important as roads and other infrastructure are not attended to, then what will be their legacy?

“I think that is why some of them are diverting the bailout funds to attend to infrastructure which the generality of citizens of the states will enjoy,’’ he said.

The lawmaker said deplorable road condition aided kidnapping in the country.

“For over six months, I have not been bold to go home with my vehicle. It makes it easier for them to operate because of the bad road.

“There are certain portions that you have to slow down to cross, and that is where the kidnappers are hiding and that affects civil servants, non-civil servants, farmers, artisans and others.

“Much as I sympathise with the workers that are not being paid, the fault is not that of some governors but as a result of the dwindling oil fortunes both in price and quantity,’’ Ajisafe said.

Punch, October 4, 2017

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