'Governors Stealing Local Govt Funds' - President Buhari

Buhari said the stunted development experienced at the local government level was caused by governors and local government officials who “pocket” public funds

'Governors Stealing Local Govt Funds' - President Buhari
President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has accused state governors of stealing the money released through them to the local governments from the Federation account, leaving the councils undeveloped.

According to him, some of the governors take half of their councils’ allocations and hand the remaining part to the chairmen.

He made the allegation on Thursday, December 1, 2022, during an event for the Senior Executive Course 44 (2022) of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) at the Presidential Villa.

He cited a personal experience involving an unnamed governor diverting the money meant for local government administration.

According to him, some governors collect money on behalf of their councils only to remit just half of the allocation to the council chairman, who will further deplete the remittance in further pilfering of public resources. Buhari said: “I found it necessary to digress after reading my speech and this digression is a result of my personal experience.

“What they did, this is my personal experience. If the money from the federation account to the state is about N100 million, N50 million will be sent to the chairman but he (the chairman) will sign that he received N100 million. The governor will pocket the balance and share it with whoever he wants to share it with.

‘‘And then the chairman of the local government must see how much he must pay in salaries and to hell with development. “When he pays the salary of the bagman, the balance he will put in his pocket. ‘‘This is what’s happening.

"This is Nigeria. It’s a terrible thing; you cannot say the person who was doing this is not educated.’’ The President, who urged public officeholders to be guided by their conscience and personal integrity, pledged that the recommendations contained in the presentation of SEC 44 would be studied by the government with the view to implementing its recommendations.

Declaring that his administration has done so much in building trust between the government and the people, the President said the report would largely assist in the provision of good governance to the people at the grassroots levels and by extension win back their trust in government.

He said: “It is obvious that the government cannot afford to pay lip service to the recommendations contained in this report.

‘‘I assure you that the report will be treated with the seriousness and urgency it deserves. The government will study the report with the view to implementing the carefully detailed recommendations.’’

Commending the quality of the report, and the commitment and dedication that went into it, the President said the National Institute could always be trusted to deliver on very critical and sensitive assignments of national importance.

He added that he was convinced that they were well equipped for strategic tasks, increased responsibilities, and positions of authority of trust.

‘‘I challenge you to go back to your various establishments, units, posts, beats, departments, directorates, Ministries, Parastatals, commissions, commands, agencies to revitalise, reinvigorate, reform and rejig your various platforms and spheres of influence, responsibility and leadership,’’ he said.

Buhari promised to look into some of the challenges facing the NIPSS, adding that no government establishment exists without challenges.

The NIPSS Director- General, Prof Ayo Omotayo said the course participants undertook study tours of 14 states, six African countries and six others outside Africa.