The attention of the Kogi State Government has been drawn to a letter of demand dated 17th July 2019 written by lawyers on behalf of the Deputy Governor of Kogi State alleging that salaries and entitlements of the Deputy Governor had not been paid since 2017.
The Kogi State Government has upon receipt of the said letter immediately responded to same and expressed its readiness to meet the Deputy Governor in Court over his bogus claims.
While we would have ordinarily refrained from making the instant publication, we are constrained to make same in the light of the fallacy contained in the widely publicised letter of demand and the accompanying headlines and news by different news mediums.
The Kogi State Government hereby states that the Salaries of the Deputy Governor have been paid up to the same date as that of the Governor and other political office holders in Kogi State. It is our belief that the claim for salaries at paragraph 4 of the letter of Demand was done to generate sensational headlines in the news as there is no stated salary arrears in the prepared breakdown of claimed entitlements attached to the letter of demand.
The salaries of the Deputy Governor have not been stopped at any time since he became the Deputy Governor in Kogi State.
The sum of N786, 427,480 (Seven Hundred and Eighty Six Million, Four Hundred and Twenty Seven, Four Hundred and Eighty Naira) of the outrageous N819, 709,980 (Eight Hundred and Nineteen Million, Seven Hundred and Nine Thousand, Nine Hundred and Eighty Naira Only) claimed by the Deputy Governor have not been approved let alone processed for payment by the Government.
The Deputy Governor is aware that by virtue of extant financial regulations, even where expenditures are provided for in the budget, they are still subject to approvals based on an estimation that funds to defray will be available; and where they are approved, the release of such funds still depends on the availability of funds.
The Deputy Governor is also aware that those expenditures may not be approved or that lesser sums may be approved based on the availability of funds. The claims of the Deputy Governor in this regard are therefore premature and mischievous.
Of the N819, 709,980 (Eight Hundred and Nineteen Million, Seven Hundred and Nine Thousand, Nine Hundred and Eighty Naira Only) claimed by the Deputy Governor, there are expenditures such as unauthorised Pledges running into N23,200,00 (Twenty Three Million, Two Hundred Thousand Naira only) which are not provided for in the corresponding budgets of the relevant year.
Also included are claims for unauthorised trips of the Deputy Governor and his Wife and other expenses which may or may not be approved, yet the Deputy Governor has claimed them as due for payment.
Of the whooping N819, 709,980 (Eight Hundred and Nineteen Million, Seven Hundred and Nine Thousand, Nine Hundred and Eighty Naira Only) claimed by the Deputy Governor only N33, 282, 500 (Thirty Three Million, Two Hundred and Eighty Two Thousand, Five Hundred Naira only) has been approved for payment.
While these have been approved for payment, the Deputy Governor knows the very stiff competition for the meagre resources of the State by the State’s wage bill, loan repayments, infrastructure bills e.t.c and the need to ration scarce resources to serve the majority of our people rather than a few. It is therefore not deliberate that these approvals have not been cash backed.
It is hoped that resources will become available shortly to meet not only these demands but those of others which have not been cash backed for longer periods than those of the Deputy Governor.
We note that the Deputy Governor has also in his claims included imprest.
It is our position that it is the office of the Deputy Governor and the Permanent Secretary in his office who is entitled to imprest and who can demand payment of same. It must also be noted that imprest is paid on availability of funds and the Government has in the past paid imprest as at when due when funds were available. The payment of imprest will continue to all imprest holders as soon as funds are available.
While we are certain that the Deputy Governor’s claims are frivolous, bogus and borne out of mischief and an attempt to embarrass the Kogi State Government where he currently serves and draws immense benefits; we reiterate our readiness should he be ready to proceed to Court to meet him in Court for the ventilation of his alleged grievances.
Director General of Media and Publicity to the Governor of Kogi State