Senate Bailout Probe: Civil Group Insists – Aregbesola Diverted Osun Bailout Funds
Following the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly (Senate) resolution to probe the Osun State governor, Mr. Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, a civil group, Civil Societies Coalition for the Emancipation of Osun State (CSCEOS) had insisted that Mr. Aregbesola diverted over N16 billion out of the almost N35billion bailout funds accrued to the State by the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2015.
Besides, the CSCEOS and some Pensioners under the aegis of Good Governance Support Group(GGSG) of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners(NUP) in the State had earlier staged a protest in the State Capital, Osogbo and Federal Capital Territory(FCT), Abuja, calling for the investigation of financial impropriety and alleged diversion of the bailout funds by Aregbesola led-State government.
It however alleged that the State under Aregbesola’s watch has been the reference point of bad governance out of 36 states of the federation since the present administration came on board in the State, stressing that the governor had put the State into the economic quagmire which made the once prosperous state not to perform her social obligation to its workforce and retirees alike.
Speaking on the development, in a statement issued on Tuesday by the CSCEOS’ Chairman, Comrade Adeniyi, Alimi Sulaiman declared that the State government under Aregbesola’s watch has shown unconcern attitude to the plight of the workers and retirees alike by diverting the bailout funds meant to pay the backlogs of workers’ salaries and retirees pension due respectively.
The group also alleged that the recent Compulsory 3months Annual Leave handed down on the Senior Officers of the State Civil Service from Directorship cadre upward , was as a result of impeding financial crimes investigations from Federal Government agencies which saddle with such responsibility over alleged financial improprieties including the diversion of bailout funds leveled against the State government in order to ensure the non-availability of the appropriate officers when the investigation team arrive the State for their proper investigation.
Meanwhile, the circular letter with reference no SMD. 61/159 dated 2nd November, 2016 and signed by the Permanent Secretary, Public Service Office, Mr. S. A Aina which reads in part: “However, all officers who are to proceed on such leaves should be on standby in case they are needed for sensitive official assignment like preparation for 2017 budget estimates and ongoing staff screening exercise. The affected officers are to hand over to the next immediate officers to them for continuous of their official duties during their vacations.
“It has been observed that many officers in the state public service have not taken their annual vacation leaves in recent time, a development that is having deleterious psychological effect on their state of health and mental stability. It is the duty of the government to address this abnormally in the overall public interest”.
It will be recalled that the Senate had directed its Committee on State and Local Governments to proceed on investigative mission to Osun State on how the Aregbesola administration spent the N35 billion bailout funds disbursed to the State for the payment of workers’ salaries and Pension due and the Committee had slated to arrive the State on December 7th,2016.
While welcoming all the Financial Crimes investigative agencies and team, including, the Senate Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Gumel and his members to the State, the group urged them to ensure unbiased, credible and thorough investigation into the alleged criminal financial mismanagement of the funds accrued to the State from 2011 to 2016, including, diversion of bailout funds, leveled against Mr. Rauf Aregbesola and his co-travelers, adding that the team to should make their findings public for the sanctity of transparency and accountability.
COMRADE ADENIYI, ALIMI SULAIMAN,
CHAIRMAN, CIVIL SOCIETIES COALITION FOR THE EMANCIPATION OF OSUN STATE (CSCEOS)