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Diversion of Bailout Fund: Aregbesola Claims ICPC Has Confirmed Osun Was n’t Indicted

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The Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, on Sunday told workers in the state who gathered to celebrate the 2016 International Workers Day that the ‎Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission has confirmed to the state through a letter that it never indicted the state on the disbursement of the bailout loan.

Aregbesola noted that contrary to insinuations by the opposition that his government diverted the bailout funds, the ICPC had written him to clarify that it has in no way indicted Osun State.

This was just as the Governor announced the naming of a major road at the state capital, Orita Olaiya/Itan Olookan, as Workers Drive in recognition of what he described as the perseverance of the workers in the face of challenging financial situation.

He hinted that the Chairman of the ICPC, Ekpo Nta, stated that the essence of his letter was to clarify the report, which was done last year, to douse the unsubstantiated allegations of misapplication of the funds.

The media was awash two weeks ago over allegations of misapplication of the bailout loan by some states who obtained the loans.

The Governor added that according to the letter written to him, ICPC said there was no evidence indicating that the funds disbursed as at then had been applied to any other matter apart from salaries in the state.
He stressed that the report was just an extract of what the commission got from officials of government on a template provided by ICPC and forwarded to it in October 2015.‎

The Governor said: “I want to also assure you, contrary to the insinuation being made by our traducers, who claimed we diverted the bailout funds, that nothing of such happened.
“This is the concoction of a mischievous opposition and their media conspirators.
“The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission never indicted us.

“Other media agencies reported the ICPC accurately that the data it published on disbursement of bailout funds by states was as at October last year and this was given to them by us.
“How could we then have indicted ourselves?
“I am happy that ICPC has cleared the air.

“The anti-corruption body has written to us affirming again that the information it gave out covered only October 2015, saying that it never indicted us since no evidence exists that we applied the funds to any other matter outside of workers salaries.
“We demanded for N64.3 billion to cover outstanding salaries, pension and gratuities up till June 2015 for the state workers and N23.8 billion to cover the salaries, pension and gratuities for the local government workers for the same period.

“However, we got N25.8 billion for state and N9.1 billion for local government, totaling N34.9 billion.
“So, we can all see that this is a far cry from what we needed and asked for.
“We got this far only because of exceptional financial engineering, extreme prudence and commendable cooperation of Labour.
“I must also let you know that there is no way we could have diverted the funds, knowing that it was not sufficient for our needs in the first place.”

Aregbesola assured the state workers that the worst is over and that it shall be out of the woods soon.
He added that state governors had a fruitful meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, who has been very concerned about welfare of Nigerian states.

He commended workers of the state for their fierce loyalty, dedication, hard working, industrious and their exhibition of the fear of God during the challenging period.
He continued: “We are particularly grateful for the fiercely loyal, dedicated, hard working, industrious and God-fearing workers we have in Osun.

“I can go on ad infinitum, but there is no doubt that without workers, no administration can succeed in doing anything.
“Our workers have also demonstrated unsurpassable understanding and forbearance in the face of the challenges we are going through.
“I will be eternally grateful to them.”

In his address, the Chairman of the NLC, Osun State chapter, Comrade Babatunde Jacob Adekomi, commended the commitment of the workers in the state in the face of harsh economic conditions.

Adekomi said workers have passion for the development of the state, which explained why workers decided to troop out in celebration of Workers’ Day.

Adekomi stated that instead of sitting down at home and mauling over unpaid salaries and gratuities, arrears of promotion and other benefits, workers came out as a demonstration of their patriotism to their state.

He said: “We have passion for the development of this state and if we say we should sit at home murmuring over unpaid salaries and pensions, we are not doing justice to ourselves.”

Comrade Adekomi also commended the governor for his untiring efforts in steering the ship of the state away from turbulent economic current.

He said the labour chapter in the state understands the current problems facing government, promising to continue to employ dialogue as a means of resolving government-labour face-off whenever one arises.
He continued: “This branch of the congress shall continue to pursue dialogue to solve all intractable problems.

“We believe that quenching fire with fire brings anarchy.
“We still believe that confrontation is the last weapon that should be sparingly used or not used at all.
“Our faith in dialogue has been resolving most of the problems we have in the state.”

Earlier while reading the speech of the National President of the NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, Adekomi observed that the greatest challenge confronting government and workers in the nation today was the quest for socio-economic revival.

Wabba said the current harsh socio-economic realities were inherited from the previous administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.

According to Wabba, this social, economic and security crises led to the coming to power of President Muhammadu Buhari in order to bring positive change.

Wabba appealed to government at all levels in the country to devise a creative way to end the economic logjam.
He tasked Federal Government to redouble its effort on security and particularly to rescue the over 200 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram more than two years now.

He said: “Our government at various levels needs to urgently articulate ways and strategies to turn around for the benefit of our people, the socio-economic fortunes of the country.”

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