BY SONI DANIEL
VANGUARD, NIGERIA, APRIL 23, 2016
MOST of the 23 states that got bail out cash from the federal government for the settlement of arrears of workers' salaries and emoluments, diverted the funds for other purposes, thereby defeating the purpose of the government's effort to provide succour for the workers.
A comprehensive analysis carried out by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission, ICPC, in conjunction with the Nigeria Labour Congress, revealed last night that many of the states deliberately lied that they were owing their workers huge debts when the reverse was the case.
A major feature of the analysis released by the ICPC and signed by its Commissioner for Public Enlightenment, indicated that many of the states failed to apply the amount received from the federal government to settle their indebtedness to their workers, leaving them enmeshed in huge arrears of salaries to the staff despite collecting the bailout cash.
A breakdown of the analysis indicates that out of the 27 states that applied for the fund, only 23 had been paid by the Central Bank of Nigeria as at the end of December 2015.
The benefiting states are: Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Cross River, Ekiti, Katsina, Gombe, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Ondo, Osun, Ogun, Plateau, Sokoto, Kwara, Bayelsa and Imo.
Others are: Enugu, Oyo, Delta, Kebbi and Zamfara.
Of particular concern to the ICPC, is the case of Zamfara State, which applied for N32.5bn but as at the time of collecting N10 billion from the federal government for workers' arrears, the state was reportedly not indebted to any of its workers.
But after receiving the cash, the state government made overtures to its House of Assembly to approve the use of the money for the settlement of indebtedness to contractors and other purposes.
The House of Assembly thereafter approved the disbursement of the money as follows:
*Outstanding of payment to 14 LGS of the State: N4,262,560,629.83
* Outstanding payment of fertilizer for 2014 farming season: N3,056,300,000.00
*Outstanding certificate for construction of Bungudu-Nahuche Kyabarawa Road 22.6Km: N265,256,342.76
* Outstanding certificate of Hostel Block at Abdu Gusau Polytechnic. T/Mafara:N55,000,000.00
* Payment of outstanding cost of Vehicles supplied to State: N319,430,000.00
* Outstanding certificate of construction work at K/Namoda Juma'at Mosque: N20,4 79,100.39
* Outstanding certificate of construction work at Emir's Palace. Gusau: N6,020,000.00
* Share of 14 Local Government Councils Bailout: N2,035,705,000.00.
In a different dimension of misuse, Imo State, which collected the sum of N26,806,430.000.00 from the CBN, paid the amount into two commercial banks and transferred part of the money into uses not related to workers salaries.
The ICPC said it discovered that N2 billion was lodged into a Government House Account, N2 billion paid into Imo State Project Account, while another N2 billion was lodged in a micro-finance bank and a 'management fee' of N21 million paid into an unspecified account out of the bailout fund received by the state. Similarly, Adamawa State got N9,578,360, 000.00 as bailout cash but disbursed only N2,378,360,000.00 with a balance of N7,200,000,000.00. According to the report, the state could not adduce any reason for the slow process of off-setting the debt as at the time of the report. However, the state claimed not to owe outstanding salaries as at September, 2015.
In the case of Bauchi State, the report shows that out of the N8.609.100.000.00 it received as bail-out fund, it disbursed N8.4I4.088,383.26 with a balance of N95.011.616.74. The State claimed not to owe salaries as at September. 201 5.
Also, Benue State received N 12.503,439.787. 48 as bailout fund and disbursed N10,852.536.702. 96 with a balance of N 1.650.903.084.52. Analysis of the documents submitted revealed a double payment of N37,760,000.00 in favour of Office of the Deputy Governor. The ICPC said it was investigating the double payment to the Deputy Governor.
Cross River State is said to have received N7.856,400.000.00 as bailout fund and disbursed N3.140.883.040.77 with a balance of N4.715,516.959.23. However the State claimed not to have outstanding salaries to workers as at 19/11/2015.
Ekiti State according to the report, received N9.604.340.000.00 as bailout fund and disbursed N9.213. 816.252.44 with a balance of N390.613.747. 56. The State owed one month salary as at 28th October 2015.
Katsina State got Nl1, 086.630.000.00 as bailout fund and disbursed N2.512.214.530.71 with a balance of N8.574.415.469.29. The State claimed to have cleared all outstanding salaries as at 18lh February, 2016.
Gombe State got N11,000,000,000.00 and disbursed N6,321.684.423.67 with a balance of N4,678,315,576.33. The state claimed it was not owing salaries as at September, 2015, according to the report.
Nasarawa State received N8,317.167.368.87 in two tranches of N3.956.047.519.60 and N4.361.119.848.27 as bailout fund and disbursed N3.956.047.519.60 with a balance of N4.361.1 19.848.27. The State claimed not to have paid Local Government Workers' salaries due to an on-going verification exercise.
Niger State received N4.396.810.000.00 as bailout fund and the entire amount was claimed to have been expended in off-setting salary debts.
Ondo State received N9.443.059.226.92 as bailout fund and disbursed N7.905.484.176.60 with a balance of N1,537.575.050.32. The State reportedly owed one-month salary and several months arrears of gratuity/pension as at 30th September. 2015.
Osun State received N34.988.990.000.00 as bailout fund and disbursed N18.677.224.582.20, leaving a balance of N16.311,765.418 billion as at November. 2015. The Commission said it was verifying allegations that Osun State public servants had only been paid salaries up to July 2015.
Ogun State claimed it received N18,916.208.664.86 as bailout fund and duly expended the entire sum for salary arrears and did not owe workers as at 9th October, 2015.
Plateau State received N5.357.570.000.00 as bailout fund and disbursed N5.330.589.061.15 with a balance of N26.980.938.85. The State was owing two months salaries as at 30th September 2015.
Kwara State received the sum of N4.320.950.000.00 as bailout fund and disbursed N4,291.087.985.08 for staff salaries and emoluments with a balance of N29.862.014.92. The State claimed to have cleared all outstanding salaries as at 20th October. 2015.
Bayelsa State applied for the sum of N 1.285.000.000.00 and had concluded disbursement formalities but the Central Bank of Nigeria was yet to release the said fund to the State as at 18th December, 2015.
Enugu State was granted N10,174,238,681.19 as bailout fund as at 16th November 2015. Analysis of the documents submitted revealed that, the State disbursed N5, 967,238,681.19 from the bailout fund to settle domestic debts and claimed that funds for the payments of Staff salaries and emoluments was not yet assessed.
Oyo State was granted N26,606,944,831.03 as bailout fund and disbursed N25,495,292,422.63 with a balance of Nl, l 11.652.408.40. The State owes four months' salaries as at 7 April. 2016.
Delta State has a total debt value accrued from Staff salaries and emoluments of N36,417,217,601.53. The State was granted N10,936,799,299.36 as bailout fund and disbursed N8,129,888,279.86 with a balance of N2,806,9I1,019.50. However, the state claimed not to owe salaries as at 24th November. 2015.
Kebbi State received N7.080.000.000.00 as bailout fund and disbursedN2,617,152,577.20 with a balance of N4,463,975,420.27. The State claimed to have cleared all outstanding arrears on salaries as at September. 2015.