The Peoples Democratic Party, on Tuesday, urged the National Assembly to invoke its statutory powers and directly channel the N10.069bn requested by President Muhammadu Buhari for payment of salaries and pensions of Kogi State workers.
Buhari had in a letter to the Senate on Tuesday had sought the Senate’s approval for the payment of N10bn to Kogi State for the state government to settle debts it claimed to have incurred as a result of the projects it said it executed on behalf of the Federal Government.
Buhari had said his request was based on the resolution passed by the eighth Senate
But the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement said it was scandalous that the Buhari Presidency, with its claims of transparency and integrity, would seek to allegedly mislead the NASS by asserting that the fund is for projects done by the state government on behalf of the Federal Government, when, according to him, in reality, no one can point to any such project executed by the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, in the last four years.
He alleged that it was an endorsement of corruption and inexcusable injury to the people of Kogi state, for Buhari to seek to direct funds to Governor Yahaya Bello, for phantom projects, and neglect the Kogi workers many of whom are owed salaries and pension in arrears of 36 months.
Ologbondiyan said, “The PDP holds that if there are no intensions of pushing the fund to Governor Bello for anti-people purposes, the Presidency is challenged to name and point to the particular project executed by Bello as well as make the terms and payment agreements public for Nigerians to see.
If the Buhari Presidency means well for Kogi state, it should reword its request and put the interest of the masses ahead of all selfish and parochial political considerations, particularly as the state approaches a critical election in which the people have made up their minds to vote out Bello.”
The PDP spokesman said Buhari cannot claim to be unaware of the critical situation of workers in Kogi State.
He added that the President cannot claim to be unaware that workers in Kogi State are being owed, in some cases up to 36 months, and that retirees and seniors are dying over non-payments of their pensions after giving the best of their lives in public service.
He, therefore, urged Buhari to resist attempts by his handlers and Bello to drag his Presidency into an alleged attempt to steal fund that ought to go to the suffering masses in Kogi State.
Ologbondiyan also urged the NASS to be on the side of the people by applying its legislative instruments to commence an immediate investigation into the alleged squandering of over N700bn Kogi State funds by the Bello administration in the last four years.
He said, “The PDP also calls on the people of Kogi State as well as financial watch organizations to be on alert, monitor all disbursement of funds to Kogi State and ensure that Bello and the APC did not achieve their aim of allegedly diverting the N10.069bn for their perceived selfish purposes.”