By Christian Ogbonna
Yenagoa, July 19, 2017 The Bayelsa Governor, Seriake Dickson, on Wednesday confirmed the receipt of N10 billion from the Federal Government as its share of the second batch of the Paris/London Club refund.
Of the money, N919 million is meant for the eight local government councils.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, said the governor made the confirmation in Yenagoa when he played host to labour leaders in the state.
Dickson directed the State Commissioner for Finance, Mr Maxwell Ebibai, to immediately release the money to enable the councils carry out their obligations, especially to clear some outstanding salaries of workers.
The governor, however, warned that the money for the local government councils should be properly utilised and must not be shared by the few to enrich themselves.
“I have directed that the money should be transferred to them latest tomorrow (Thursday).
“As for this money, let me make it clear that is not for them to share and chop.
“It is not free money, so those who will be celebrating that money has come to be shared will be disappointed.
“One of the greatest problems we have in this state is the fact that people always think that any money that comes is free money for them to share and chop.
“They don’t want the state to be developing leaders after leaders, year after year.
“Twenty years after the creation of the state, it is now we are building good schools and health institutions,” the governor was quoted as saying.
While thanking the labour leaders for their support and understanding with state government, the governor said the refund from the federal government was in line with his administration’s open policy on public finance since 2012.
Mr Jonathan Obuebite, the State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, told journalists after the interactive session between the governor and the labour leaders, that part of the money would be used to clear backlog of salaries.
“I am happy to announce that after a peaceful meeting, it was resolved that government will use part of the fund to pay one and a half month salary and pensioners are also going to be paid,” he said.
John Ndiomu, the Chairman, the chapter of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), and Tari Dounana, his counterpart at the Trade Union Congress (TUC), commended the state government for disclosing the share of the state in the latest fund.