The Panel of Inquiry on the Finances of the 16 local government areas of Kwara State has described allegations that the state government diverted or deducted N300million monthly from the coun- cils’ funds since May 2019 to date as false and baseless.
The panel also said that it found no evidence that the AbdulRahman Abdul- Razaq administration has borrowed to pay salary or pension since it was inau- gurated on May 29, 2019.
“We want to state categorically that there is no evidence either oral or doc- umentary to support the allegation of N300million monthly deduction from the local government funds by the state government. The allegation of such deductions is therefore baseless, un- founded and false,” its chairman retired Justice Mathew Adewara said when the panel submitted its report to the gover- nor in Ilorin, the state capital.
AbdulRazaq had on August 11 inau- gurated the panel to investigate the al- legations of diversion of local govern- ment funds or borrowings from the bank to pay salaries of local govern- ment workers.
Adewara said a total of 35 witness- es testified before the panel while sev- eral documents were produced and tendered by them. He said the panel also visited some of the local govern- ments to see what projects they have done as had earlier been submitted by the director of personnel management (DPMs) who appeared before them.
The report of the panel meanwhile has found that the state government “does not deduct money from the SUB- EB account while salaries of teaching and non-teaching staff are paid as and when due from May 29 to date”
The Deputy President of the Senate
and chairman, Senate Adhoc Com- mittee on Constitution Review, Sen- ator Ovie Omo-Agege, has said that state creation is possible if the propo- nents lobby stakeholders from all the geo-political zones of the country.
This is even as he stressed that the National Assembly only has the pow- ers to amend the constitution and not to overhaul the law book.
Omo-Agege spoke in Abuja yes- terday when he hosted a delegation from Katagum, Missau and Jama’are Emirates in Bauchi State led by a for- mer Head of Service of the Federation and one-time Secretary to the Govern- ment of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed.
The delegation was in Omo-Agege’s
office to submit a memorandum call- ing for the creation of Katagum State from the present Bauchi State.
Speaking after he received the mem- orandum of the group, Omo-Agege disclosed that the panel would har- vest from its data bank, stressing that the 2014 confab report, El-Rufai pan- el report of 2018 as well as constitu- tion alteration Bills already referred to the committee would enrich its as- signment.
“Irrespective of my personal views, the views of members of this commit- tee, you will need to do a lot of lobbying. No matter what we think as members of this committee about the appropriateness ateness and justness of your cause, I want to plead with you to reach out to our colleagues from all of the geopo- litical zones because not one state or geopolitical zone can give you a state. But it is about lobbying.
If you do this, there is no reason why you should not be able to pull this through,” he said.
Members of the Steering Committee who joined Senator Omo-Agege in re- ceiving the guests included the Senate Majority Leader, Senator Abdullahi Ya- haya; Minority Leader, Senator Enyin- naya Abaribe and Minority Whip, Senator Phillip Adu- da.
Earlier, leader of the delegation, Al- haji Yayale Ahmed, said the call for the creation of Katagum State dated back to 1980s, adding that the Second Sen- ate in 1981 and the 2014 National Con-
ference had already approved the crea- tion of the state.
While affirming his confidence in the 9th National Assembly, Ahmed declared that the proposed state was economically viable in the areas of ag- riculture, solid minerals, livestock and water resources.
According to him, when created, it would bring development closer to the people.
Other members of the delegation included Ambassador Jibrin Chinade, Amb. Adamu Aliyu, Captain Bala Ji- brin, Alhaji Buba Gamawa, Alhaji Nadada Umar, Dr. Waziri Mo- hammed, Rt. Hon. Umar Sarki, mem- ber representing Katagum Federal Constituency, among others.