By Mumini AbdulKareem
The N100million ordered for release by the Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, for the part payment of severance package arrears for former council bosses, councillors and others is said to be generating disquiet among the intended beneficiaries, National Pilot exclusively gathered, last night.
The Governor reportedly ordered the release of the fund yesterday morning, a top source told this medium, last night.
Captured in the latest release which was confirmed by the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mohammed Haruna Tambiri in a telephone chat with this our reporter are political office holders at the council and state level from 1999.
They comprised of former 193 councillors, 16 former councils bosses and their vice, 16 secretaries of local governments, 80 supervisors and former political appointees in the state, among others.
The action of the Governor reportedly followed agitation by the affected workers for payment of their entitlement after leaving office.
Tambiri added that the action “is just a palliative from the government to cushion the effect of the hardship some of them are going through due to unavailability of fund.
Describing the money as a “token”, the commissioner said the Governor by the action used state money to pay local government workers for them to get a part of the fund that accrued to the state this recently from the Paris club Refund.
According to him, “The money is meant for all the political office holders that had left office since 1999 to date. It is meant to pay part of their severance package which included furniture and wardrobe allowances among others.
“The total amount of the arrears is over N3billion and this latest release for the affected workers is just a token and palliative measure for them to also get something from the Paris Club Refund to cushion the effect of the economic reality in the state and across the country.”
Meanwhile, the money has reportedly caused division among the affected former political office holders.
A former chairman from Kwara South, who confided in National Pilot, said the money was released by Governor Ahmed for the immediate past tenure of 2013-16, adding that the money should not be used to pay their backlogs.
Asked how much will be paid to the intending beneficiaries each, the ex-council boss said the modalities for payment is being worked out and until the conclusion of the exercise, nobody can say what will get to them at the end of the day.
“We learnt that the money was released by the governor this morning fueling agitation to that effect for the immediate past elected council chairmen and councillors among others in the 2013-16 set.
“We are comfortable though with the severance and furniture allowance that money has been released to pay because it would have been suicidal if it was for backlogs.
“If it was for backlogs, interests from bank loans collected by most of us would have left us with nothing.”
But speaking on the issue, the Ex-councillors Forum in the state, appealed to the governor for additional fund to enable their members meet very important obligations since they left office.
The Chairman of the Forum, Comrade Opeyemi Adeojo said the N100 million approved for release by the governor might not add any value to their situation adding that most of his colleagues have bank loans to offset.
“We are being owed over 8 months before we left office including severance and furniture allowances and we are pleading with the governor to at least add another N100m so that we could get at least 50 per cent from the money. For now we don’t know the percentage they are paying but with the look of things, it will be a little over 30 per cent,” he added.