Kogi State Governor, Idris Wada has alleged that the failure of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to release the N50.8bn bailout due to the state had political undertone.
The governor said despite meeting some curious conditions given to the state by the CBN to be able to access the funds, the apex bank had failed to release the fund.
Wada disclosed this in an exclusive interview with THISDAY.
He told us that he had met with President Muhammadu Buhari on the issue, expressing belief that the president would intervene.
Wada frowned at the claim by CBN that the N50.8bn sought by Kogi State was too much and should be reduced.
He explained further that the apex bank placed various hurdles before Kogi State which it did not extend to other states, adding that it smirked of politics.
“For a state like ours with low income, we have done well in payment of salaries for our people, but when Mr. President graciously opened the window for this soft loan of 20 years tenure and nine per cent interest rates to states, we aggregated all our financial issues and then applied for bailout fund.
“The Central Bank came out with a publication that N50.8bn has been approved for Kogi State as part of the bailout fund and since then I have done everything humanly possible to access this fund to distribute to our people, the Central Bank asked us to provide biometric registration of our people, we have provide, because we have done the biometrics of the workers in the state, they said they want BVN and those who have registered have supplied their BVN and we have written a circular to all the staff that they should all have their BVN so that we can collect the bailout fund.
“We have met all the conditions they set for us thy, they said that the amount is too much they would not be able to give the money. We have shown them our monetisation schedule showing our capacity to pay, we gave them a table comparing us with other states who owe N200bn who have been restructured and they are still getting bailout, how can you say Kogi State cannot pay?
“I even went to see Mr. President to appeal to him to intervene for us to paid these funds; of course our workers are agitated. They are threatening to destroy government properties, block roads and things like that and this is not good.
“I have been struggling for this bailout for the last few weeks, other states were not asked to provide the level of documentation we have provided.
“There is some unfortunate development which from what we are hearing now is that it is political.
This is so sad that in a growing democracy, workers’ welfare is being toyed with by politicians, but Mr. President said he would not allow political victimization.
“We are hoping on Mr. President to intervene and make sure that these workers get their money” Wada said.
The governor added that “they are saying if they give us bailout it would improve our chances in the election, by the grace of God bailout or no bailout we are going to win this election, because we have evidence of what we have done on ground and the way we are running the affairs of the state transparently, clearly and accountable government that is what we are running.
“If they don’t give bailout it is unfortunate because those who will suffer are the workers, but if you pay the workers, it is like a stimulus to the economy of Kogi State and the money will trickle down to other enterprises and have a multiplier effect.
This is the status of the bailout as far as I know.”