Did Yahaya Bello Use N10b Federal Government Fund For Campaign Vehicles?

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CLAIM: A post on Facebook and Twitter claimed that Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state bought 1,500 Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV) from the N10 billion released by President Buhari to pay salaries.
CONCLUSION: INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE: The N10 billion has not been released by the federal government. Thus, it seems improbable for the governor to have bought these vehicles with the N10 billion.
However, the origin of the vehicles, as well as the issue of state, owed salaries still remains unaccounted for.
Full Text
On the 18th of October, several posts on Twitter and Facebook stated that Governor Bello bought 1,500 Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) from the N10 billion released by President Buhari to pay salaries.
Verification
Verification carried out by The Nation revealed that in a letter dated 10th October 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari sought the Senate’s approval for the payment of N10 billion to Kogi State.
The President addressed the letter to Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan.
He said the money would be used by the state government to settle local debts it incurred as a result of the projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government.
Buhari also noted that 24 out of 25 state governments had received the approval of the National Assembly, since the eighth Senate passed the resolution.
This was for the settlement of the claims on projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government
According to the President, the N10.069 billion was the outstanding amount due to Kogi, which is the only state yet to receive a refund.
The Senate President read the letter. Next, he referred the letter to Senate Committee on foreign loans and debts, which turned in their report in two weeks.
However, Galacticus Mohammed Onogu- the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Yahaya Bello- told The Nation that the state government had not received the money.
Is Kogi state Government owing Salaries?
In August, Yahaya Bello- Kogi state Governor- claimed to have cleared the debts to the state workers.
He was quoted to have said: “I am therefore overjoyed that we have been able to update till July 2019 payments to every cleared worker. I appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari for his roles getting the Bailout to us.”
Also, the Nation received the same response from the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor.
He said the state government was not owing state salaries; adding that they had been cleared.
However, in September, over 7,000 teachers in Kogi State appealed to Bello to look into the issue of non-payment of their salary.
This was done via a communiqué at an emergency meeting- Basic Education Staff Association of Nigeria (BESAN).
They included teachers in public- primary and junior secondary schools. Apparently, they had been owed for 8-39 months!
Was the N10 billion meant for payment of salaries?
The money was said to be authorised expenditures on projects executed in Kogi State on behalf of the Federal government.
We recall, the President, in his letter to the Senate, noted that 23 other states had previously being reimbursed.
These expenditures were authorised on behalf of the Federal government. He further that Kogi state was yet to receive her refund, buttressing the need for approval from the Parliament.
Succinctly, the request was premised on the promissory note programme and bond issuance.
A promissory note is a debt instrument which one party promises in writing to pay a determinate sum of money to the other; either at a fixed or determinable future time, under specific terms.
The request was for settling certain inherited local debts and contractual obligations of the Federal Government. Evidently, the N10 billion was not meant for the payment of salaries.
The SUV Vehicles
It remains unclear where the campaign SUV vehicles came from. However, it is evident that it was not from the N10 billion, which is yet to be released.
Chief Press Secretary- Galacticus Mohammed Onogu- said that the campaign vehicles were donated by friends and well-wishers of the government.
“The state Governor, Yahaya Bello has not from government account purchased any vehicle for his re-election campaigns.
“He has been receiving different donations of cars from friends and well-wishers after winning the Primaries in August this year… It was not bought with the N10 billion because the money has not been received to the best of my knowledge,” he stressed.
Conclusion
It is evident that Kogi state government is yet to receive the reimbursement required for government approved expenditure. However, it is unclear where the vehicles came from and whether the current administration owes state salaries.
This fact-check was done by a Dubawa Fact-checking Fellow in collaboration with The Nation.

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