Tuesday, August 11, 2009

In late April, the offices of the Benue State government was raided. On a hot night, thieves stole N2.5 million without leaving much of a trace. Apparently, the thieves entered the office through an opening intended for an air conditioning unit. They tried the safe but after realizing it was empty, they forced open some drawers to gain access to the money.  This was the second such theft in Benue's Government House this year alone.At the time, there were police officers on guard protecting the building and, there was also an accounts officer on duty. Yet, nobody was aware of any thieves entering the Accounts Section.

Almost 4 months later, the mystery of the stolen N2.5 million is still to be solved and even worse, employees at Benue's Government House are yet to receive their salaries for the month of August. The State Commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning, Oklobia Omadachi, told journalists that he signed the salaries about two weeks ago, but could not confirm whether or not staff had received their salary. He also stated that he could not reach his superiors. And, during all this confusion, state employees are going without the pay they need to satisfy their obligations.

It seems this mysterious theft of N2.5 million reflects the way money tends to 'disappear' (legally and illegally) in Benue State. It's governor,Gabriel Suswam, speaks of transparency, accountability and good governance, but, ironically, has spent almost N1 billion in barely 2 years on foreign trips. An additional N6.8 billion has been spent by the governor on "unspecified" gifts. A former Benue State lawmaker has accused the governor of theft to the tune of N23 billion.

Notwithstanding the damning evidence, Suswam has been credited with infrastructural development in some areas of Benue State. This alone has galvanized some and it seems his camp already begun campaigning for reelection although the next elections do not take place until 2011 and in direct opposition of President Yar'Adua's call to all governors to hold off on early campaigning. It would be interesting if the governor took some time to look into this situation and ensure that staff receive the salaries due them.

If there is one thing that happens far too often in Nigeria, it is that people go for weeks, months and sometimes years, without pay. Benue State staff should obviously get paid, especially since the state's Commissioner for Finance stated in June 2009 that Benue is capable of functioning during the economic downturn. When this will happen, remains the question.

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5 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

The Activist said...

This is unbelievable!

N.I.M.M.O said...

You would probably wonder why in this day and age anybody will keep 2.5 million Naira in a drawer overnight in a public office.

Even using my 'church' mind, this was a nothing but a setup.

How have you been Solomonsydelle?

webround said...

i would say this is an inside job. and how come they kept cash in the office? what happened to direct deposits in bank accounts?

it is this issue of not receiving salaries (or pensions) for some months that deter bright graduates from looking for jobs in civil service

TheAfroBeat said...

Have to echo NIMMO's comment here, why in the world wasn't that money in the bank?

io said...

keeping 2.5million in a drawer at the office(not to talk of government) = somebody should be fired since like yesterday

governor spending 1billion on trips without questioning from the legislature = legislature must now have so much time on their hands cos they are not doing much in that case

the 2.5million missing = inside job...

government workers not paid because of 2.5million missing = sorry excuse for not paying ur workers

the governor getting a slap on the wrist from everyone because he at least has some "achievement" ala infrastructural development = he would ride that to the polls in 2011 then shut down till 2015

for everything else, there are the residents of benue state who would continue having piss run down their back while being told its raining. sure its raining. piss that is...

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