Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, has said Local Government Chairmen in the state cannot face the challenges of administering their areas, yet they are clamouring for autonomy.
The governor who stated this before he went into a closed-door meeting with security agencies, top government officials, Commissioners and local government Chairmen on Monday at the New Banquet Hall of the Government House Annex, Bauchi, said they were only after the money.
He said, “It will appear that you don’t even have the capacity we are giving you, you are only after the money and not the challenges. You can see how we are using very small resources to do a lot of things, we have to do that.
“In some cases, you say you have not been given money, you have not been given money, but the thing you are given is what you have and that is what we are given too at the state level.
“From the way local government Chairmen are behaving, it appears you don’t have the capacity to even do it. Unless you give me assurances, the money I am taking, I will take it back. It is not just the goodies only, you must take the granulate of responsibility.”
Mohammed said that some deceased people and people living in Abuja were on the payroll of Toro LGA collecting salaries.
“A situation whereby Bauchi is spending about N500 million on salaries monthly is unacceptable. N300 million is not enough to pay salaries in Toro because there are dead people, and the rest are people living in Abuja who are collecting salaries, and you know them.
“And these should be stopped by the Treasury, they have refused to do it but you have given me assurances that you are going to do it. So, I will try you so that you will be able to do it yourself for one, two and three months,” he stated.
According to him, some local governments in the state cannot pay their bills including workers’ salaries independent of the state government adding that he was tired of the state Treasury Department micromanaging their salaries.
“From this time on, I want you to start paying your salaries. I am tired of the Treasury micromanaging your salaries and you are blaming them for ghost workers. You will take responsibility for your resources.
“What you don’t know is that we augment salaries of some local governments, whereas, some have enough but we cannot continue to take from Paul to pay Peter. We will be giving you your money and you should know how to utilize it and where you cannot, you will have to do away with the excesses of expenditure.
The governor who said the government will try the system and see how it will work out pointed out that he “discovered that this thing was migrated from the then administration of Mal. Isa Yuguda, from the local governments to the centre and the frauds are perpetuated electronically now,”
“We’re going to give you your destiny in your hands as a trial and see what will happen since you have given assurances.”