Nigeria: N300 Million LG Funds - Ex-Commissioner Dares Kwara Govt to Publish Financial Accounts

21 September 2020

Aisha Pategi, a former special duties commissioner who resigned from Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq's cabinet, has challenged the state government to publish the local governments' financial accounts starting from 2019.

Ms Pategi, whose controversial resignation letter was tendered three weeks ago, had, in July, accused the state's ministry of finance of diverting N300 million local government funds while she headed the Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.

Afterwards, she was moved to the ministry of special duties during a cabinet reshuffle carried out in the same month. This decision did not go well with the commissioner which led to her resignation, this paper learnt.

However, she made no public statements until Monday.

In the early hours of Monday, Ms Pategi, in a tweet, dared the state government to publish the local governments' accounts.

"Absolutely not true... publish all LGA accounts from may 2019 to date. #freekwaraLGAmoney," she wrote, in response to claims that the local government councils are autonomous.

According to a statement from the spokesperson of the Ministry of Local Government, Chieftaincy Affairs and Community Development, Azeez Bolaji, the state government has restated the independence of all local government councils in the running of their affairs without interference from any quarters.

"The Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy Affairs and Community Development, Arc. Aliyu Mohammad Saifuddeen (FNIA) emphasized this while featuring on a live programme tagged "GOOD MORNING KWARANS" at the Kwara Television Service during the weekend.

"Arc. Saifuddeen said as the Commissioner saddled with the cabinet responsibility of supervising and monitoring the activities of the Third Tier of Government, he can emphatically say that since the inception of the present administration in the State, no single kobo of the Local Government's money was missing or diverted by anyone," Mr Bolaji stated.

When contacted for clarification on her tweet, Ms Pategi declined further comments. She promised to reach out to PREMIUM TIMES in due time.

It should be noted the state governor had set up a commission of inquiry to look into the alleged diversion of the N300 million local government councils funds but no report has been submitted yet.

The panel, headed by Justice Mathew Adewara, is expected to turn in its report soon as submissions are still ongoing.

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