The Executive Director, Centre for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR), Comrade Idris Miliki has punctured claims by Kogi state government that it diverted funds meant for Ganaja flyover in Lokoja to construct Mount Patti road.
He asserted that contrary to claims that the Mount Patti road construction is at an advanced stage, the state government has not spend as much as one thousand Naira on the old road.
Miliki made this known at a Quarterly Review Meeting for Media and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on Anti-corruption, Transparency and Accountability in Elections in Kogi State on Tuesday in Lokoja. The meeting was organised by the CHRCR in partnership with Shehu Musa Yar’adua Foundation.
In a paid advertorial signed by the Director General of Media and Publicity to the Governor, Kingsley Fanwo, the state government explained that it diverted the 1.86 billion Naira meant for Ganaja Flyover to other projects which would have more direct impact on a larger number of people.
Fanwo explained that the state government, by way of virement through council resolution, approved for the contractor, TEC Engineering Nigeria Limited, to use the already released funds to handle Ankpa Township Road, Idah – Anyigba Road and Mount Patti Road.
In the advertorial, Fanwo claimed that the Ankpa Township Roads have been completed while Idah-Anyigba and Mount Patti roads are in advanced stages of completion.
However, Miliki insisted that explanations are not tenable. He said, contrary to government’s claims that the Mount Patti road in the state capital is in advanced stage of completion, no visible work has been done on and around the road.
He also accused Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello of running a corrupt government with its continuous refusal to conduct local government elections
The rights activist noted that the tenure of the administrators, appointed by the governor to administer the local government councils, ended 29th of March this year, but the governor has continued to “practice illegality within illegality in the state”.
He urged the governor to put necessary machinery in place to conduct council elections, to address issues of illegitimacy and under-development at that tier of governance.
The human rights activist said the usual complaints of lack of funds for the exercise often backed by the state House of Assembly was no longer tenable, in view of the several allocations the state received from the Federation Account.
“Gov. Yahaya Bello cannot continue to hide behind a finger for his inability to conduct elections at the third tier level of government, in spite of the several allocations the state has received. The non conduct of election has denied the people at the grassroots their rights of participation and good governance,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr Mohammed Abdullahi, Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA), said there was need to entrench citizens’ rights, adding that to fight corruption, the duty bearers must be put to task.
He, therefore, urged the people to always ask questions in case of rights infringement.
Mr John Amabi, a member of Kogi Non-Governmental Organisations Network (KONGONET), regretted that politicians were taking advantage of a clause in the Electoral Act to disrupt elections where they were not popular, adding that the clause for cancellation of results should be reviewed.
Amabi enjoined the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure a review of the provision, if elections must be free, fair, transparent and credible.