Contrary to claims, Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello says his government has cleared all salary backlogs in the state. He revealed to State House correspondents that the Kogi State government cleared four months salary arrears at a stretch before Christmas. JONATHAN NDA- ISAIAH was there.
What is the workers’ salary situation in Kogi State?
In Kogi State today we are up to date as far as salary is concerned. In the month of December, Mr. President magnanimously assisted us with another tranche of Paris Club Refund. Our own figure was N1.2 billion and some other change on top. We didn’t just stop at that, we borrowed up to N10 billion and added November/December allocation to our figures and we were able to clear four months at a stretch before Christmas and some leftovers were cleared before this January in Kogi State.
As you all know the salary was very bogus and according to the figure we had we were able to distribute it among these months. So glory to God as far as Kogi State is concerned. Moving forward from this January, we have decided that we are going to make use of our clock-in device for every civil servant in Kogi State both at local government and state levels. So that as you come to work and clock-in, that is exactly how your salary will be generated. It is online; it is automated so nobody is going to cheat anybody. That is how we are going to go in the state; so Kogi state civil servants, pensioners are all happy with this administration. Thanks to God and Mr. President for this magnanimity.
How are you facing up to security challenges in your state, especially kidnapping?
In Kogi State today we have done tremendous work as far as security generally is concerned. In the months of November, December and this January, there has not been any single case of armed robbery, kidnapping even mere stealing in Kogi State.
One attempt was made, as I speak the DSS in collaboration with army and police have apprehended a particular gang that attempted to snatch a vehicle from a citizen. The security operatives are collaborating with us, we are spending a lot on security. There is collaboration between us and the security agencies and a lot of understanding from the people in giving us a lot of information and we are treating them with utmost secrecy. We are working harmoniously together.
Let me digress a little. The Fulanis in Kogi State are equally collaborating with against the criminal elements amongst them. They are even the ones apprehending the criminal elements in their midst and handing them over to the security agencies. So we are living very harmoniously with the Fulani herdsmen, farmers and the citizens. Travelers are safe day and night because anywhere you go, you see security operatives and we have even vigilantes and hunters that are equally assisting us in our farms and so many other deserted areas. So Kogi is very safe.
What was the rationale behind giving masquerades N2 million and vehicle each that you are being criticized for?
I think I’m just hearing that for the first time. But let me just tell you that in Kogi State, first we promote culture, two we didn’t give millions to masquerades. In our culture masquerades are ancestors. I don’t know how a masquerade will go and spend money? Is it in the grave? They are supposed to be spirits and I don’t know how masquerades will spend money. There is nothing of that nature at all.
What are your thoughts on Buhari and 2019?
I’m sure you are following us as we are receiving defectors from PDP and all other political parties. And any time we hold any defection rally in any local government you will see the mammoth crowd that turns out. So Kogi State has already endorsed President Buhari for second term, we are just waiting for the time to come. You are going to see the votes that will come out of Kogi State, it will dwarf that of Katsina State I can assure you.
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