Banking on the information on the 64 billion naira Federal Government allocation to Local Government Areas in Ogun State, Hon. Ladi Adebutu has challenged Governor Dapo Abiodun to give detail account on how the money has been spent in the past 21 months.
The former Federal Lawmaker literally accused the governor of diverting the funds meant for the development of all the 20 local governments in the state, through his cronies within the government.
Lado, as fondly called who could not hide his grievances at the level of corruption going underneath in the state revealed this on Tuesday while fielding questions from journalists in Abeokuta.
In his response, Adebutu noted that the N64bn council funds as released by Bureau of Statistics indicted governor Abiodun administration as there were no visible development across the local governments to reflect the FG allocation, rather, it was diverted to private purse.
He said: “The 64 billion naira which was disbursed by the federal government within 21 months of Abiodun-led administration was allegedly taken over by the state government.
“According to the Bureau of Statistics, 64 billion naira was disbursed nearly, Out of this fund, only salaries of workers were paid across the 20 councils. All the 20 local governments in the state are under lock and key by the state government.
“There is no single project to show for the allocation received from the federal government. Ogun State has suffered from this administration.
“What we have seen so far was an exhibition of crass truth that for the sake of appropriating fund belong to the third tier of government, 64 billion naira in 21 months belonging to the third tier of government essentially ended up with the state government.
“The misappropriation of the councils allocation is one of the factors responsible for the irregularities in the just concluded council elections held in the state.
“PDP withdrawal from the poll led to apathy during the election. The APC led government intercepted the local governments allocations at will, hence, led to the resistance to opposition during the council poll.”
Meanwhile, while reacting to the allegation, Hon. Afolabi Afuape, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, he described Adebutu’s claim as figment of his imagination.
“It is only a figment of Hon Ladi Adebutu’s imagination that we as Ogun government pocketed N64 billion funds meant for 20 local governments in the state in the last 21 months.
Since the advent of this administration (Governor Dapo Abiodun), we have been having the Joint Accounts Allocation Committee (JAAC) meetings, it is statutory; it is required by law. Before we came on board, JAAC was never held for 6 years.
“But, we have been having JAAC with all the 20 Chairmen of all the 20 local government areas of the state, the journalists, the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Local Government Service Commission, Councils of Chiefs, Teachers, Pensioners, among others where local governments’ funds are always accessed and shared.
“For us to share any money, we have some amount of money that we call the first line charge, which is the money we use to pay teachers’ salaries, pensions, traditional councils of chiefs, among other expenses, that are very crucial to good governance.
“We then release the remaining funds for the local governments. I can tell you that the 20 local governments require about N150 million on monthly basis to remit to the State government as Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) but we couldn’t deduct it because the money coming from Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) is not always enough.
“In fact, Ogun state government augmented local governments’ funds with N2 billion between the months of January and May, 2021 in order for them to meet up financial obligations.
“I don’t know why Hon Ladi Adebutu and PDP will whip up unnecessary sentiments on that. I challenge him and his party – PDP to come on air with me, I am ready with them. Ogun state government will come up with facts and figures about how local governments’ funded are being collected and managed.
“Ogun state government will also publish very soon, the comprehensive financial reports of 20 local governments domiciled in Ogun state in the national dailies.”