Kogi denies spending N1bn on political appointees’ cars •As govt, organised labour bicker over strike

Kogi State government, on Sunday, debunked the allegation of frivolous and extravagant spending as it said the Yahaya Bello -led administration never spent N1 billion on the purchase of vehicles for political appointees in the state.

The government, however, accused the James Faleke-led  group in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of deliberately misinforming the people to  destroy the  image of the government.

An online news medium had,over the weekend, in one of its publications, alleged that the state governor had spent N1billion to purchase vehicles for  political appointees in the state.

However, the special adviser to the governor on media and strategy, Abdulkarim Abdulmalik, in a statement, said the governor had not bought any vehicle for any political appointee as claimed in the publication.

“We felt it is proper to put the record straight  by telling the public that the allegations stated in the write up were false and full of malicious contents. For the   avoidance of doubt, Governor Bello has not bought any vehicle for political appointees as erroneously stated by the Audu/Feleke political organisation.

Meanwhile, the First City Monument Bank (FCMB), has dragged the  state government before the Federal High Court sitting in Lokoja, over alleged breach of contractual agreement following the removal of salary accounts of government workers from the bank.

The bank claimed that the action of the state government had led to the loss of over N700 million in loans to workers.

According to the suit which has Kogi State government, the state Attorney General, Local Government Service Commission, Zenith Bank and Access Bank Plc, as defendants, the bank said it was wrong for government to have removed salary accounts of its workers after it had guaranteed  loans to the workers.

It will be recalled that the state government had recently directed workers on its payroll to open salary accounts with the Zenith Bank and Access Bank, a development that has led to the ongoing strike  in the state.

However, the FCMB in the originating summon claimed that the state government erred in removing the salary accounts of the workers to the fourth and fifth defendants in spite of undertakings it entered with the FCMB for domiciliation of the salary accounts of beneficiaries of its consumer loan facilities.

The FCMB sought six reliefs of the court in the Writ of Summons issued by its counsel, A.Y. Mohammed, which include, “A declaration that the first defendant and her agents were bound by their several undertakings, commitments and assurances.”

However, when the case came up on Friday, counsel to Zenith Bank Plc, John Erame, filed a motion supported by a four-paragraph affidavit for extension of time to enable counsels in the suit file their papers.

The trial judge, Justice Phoebe Ayua, granted the application and adjourned the case till October 5.

Also, as the strike  embarked upon by the organised labour in  the  state enters the third week, the workers, on Sunday, accused the state government of employing propaganda and blackmail in order to cause disaffection and break the ranks of  workers in the state.

The unions, who alleged that the move was targeted at their leaders, however, charged the workers to be resolute and ensure that they are liberated from the “anti-workers” policies of government.

A statement by the state secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Olakunle Faniyi, and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) secretary,  James Kolawole, said government had been using faceless groups and various forms of inimidation to stampede their members to back out of the strike.

However, the state government, in its reaction through the special adviser to the governor on media and strategy,  Abdulkareem Abdulmalik, accused the labour leaders of insincerity as they had been    praising the governor before.

He said their quick recourse to a “political industrial action” was not born out of good intention but to blackmail government over their selfish demands which government refused to accede to.