Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has vowed to recover all stolen funds from the state coffers through the “ghost workers and ghost schools syndrome” by some civil servants.
This was contained in a statement issued in Lokoja on Sunday by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Strategy, Alhaji Abdulmalik Abdulkareem, and made available to newsmen.
The statement noted that the governor said this during an interactive session with selected youths and groups in the state
It said the session was organised as part of activities to mark the 100 days in office of the governor.
According to the statement, Bello is also bent on recovering monies collected by some contractors for non-existent projects under previous administrations.
It said those behind the establishment of ghost schools and recruitment of ghost teachers across the state to siphon public funds would be identified and made to refund such monies.
Bello expressed shock that a large chunk of the state’s funds, which could have been used for development and better the lots of the people, “found their way into the pockets of political godfathers and hangers on.
“The staff verification exercise has uncovered fraudulent activities of some civil servants.
“This government will definitely recover this looted funds and it shall be channeled towards the provision of basic social amenities for the people, especially those at the grassroots.”
The governor said no society could make progress without the core values of honour and integrity.
Bello promised to create a level playing ground for all citizens irrespective of religion or tribe.
According to Bello, the government has initiated new ideas to shore up the Internally Generated Revenue of the state so as to reduce its over reliance on the monthly allocation from federation accounts.
To this end, he said that the task force on forestry recently set up by government had generated more than N13 million from designated checkpoints in April alone.
He added that the revenue realised from checkpoints in the past were shared by fake contractors and unscrupulous civil servants.
Bello told his audience that he would not force projects on communities in the state, saying projects would be cited based on the need of the people and charged them to always put Kogi State first in all their endeavours.
The statement also quoted the Special Adviser to the Governor on Youth Empowerment and Sports, Aromeh Adoji as saying “the state has an estimated youth population of over 1.8 million”.
Adoji said government had entered into agreements with the Central Bank of Nigeria and some other organisations on youth and women empowerment programmes improve their lot.