By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged the National Assembly to invoke its statutory powers by directly channelling the N10.069 billion Presidential funds for payment of salaries and pensions of suffering Kogi state workers.
The PDP gave the advice in a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan in Abuja.
The party said that it is scandalous that the presidency, with its claims of transparency and integrity, would seek to mislead the National Assembly by asserting that the fund is for projects done by the state government on behalf of the Federal Government, when in reality no one can point to any such project executed by Governor Yahaya Bello in the last four years.
The PDP described as endorsement of corruption and inexcusable injury to the people of Kogi state, for President Muhammadu Buhari to seek to direct funds to Governor Yahaya Bello, for phantom projects, and neglect the Kogi workers, many of whom are owed salaries and pension in arrears of 36 months.
According to the statement, “Such action by Mr. President further confirms that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is directly in league with Governor Yahaya Bello to strangulate the people of Kogi state.
“The PDP holds that if there are no intentions of pushing the fund to Governor Bello for anti-people purposes, the presidency is challenged to name and point to the particular project executed by Governor Bello as well as make the terms and payment agreements public for Nigerians to see.
“If the Buhari presidency means well for Kogi state, it should reword its request and put the interest of the masses ahead of all selfish and parochial political considerations, particularly as the state approaches a critical election in which the people have made up their minds to vote out Governor Yahaya Bello.
“Mr. President cannot claim to be unaware of the critical situation of workers in Kogi state.
“He cannot claim to be unaware that workers in Kogi state are being owed, in some cases up to 36 months, and that retirees and seniors are dying over non payments of their pensions after giving the best of their lives in public service.
“The PDP therefore urges President Buhari to resist attempts by his handlers and Governor Bello to drag his Presidency into this shameful attempt to steal fund that ought to go to the suffering masses in Kogi state”, it said.
The party further charged the legislature to be on the side of the people by applying its legislative instruments to commence an immediate investigation into the alleged squandering of over N700 billion Kogi state funds by the Bello administration in the last four years.
The PDP also called on the people of Kogi state as well as financial watch organizations to be at alert, monitor all disbursement of funds to Kogi state and ensure that Governor Bello and the APC do not achieve their aim of diverting the N10.069 billion for their selfish purposes.