By Akanimo Sampson
Bauchi State, one of the states in North-Eastern Nigeria with her capital in Bauchi city, is a seeming haven of festering corruption under the watch of the All Progressives Congress, APC, administration of Governor Muhammed Abubakar.
A prominent son of the state and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, says he has uncovered massive fraud and theft perpetrated by his state government under Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar to the tune of N400 billion from May 2015 when he assumed office to date.
Wikipedia says until 1976 Bauchi was a province in the defunct North-Eastern State of Nigeria. According to the 2006 census, the state has a population of 4,653,066. The has gone through tremendous transformation over the years. The Ajawa language was spoken in the state, but became extinct between 1920 and 1940 as speakers switched to Hausa.
Continuing, the free encyclopedia says during the colonial era up to independence, the state formed part of the Bauchi Plateau of the then Northern Region, until the 1967 state creation exercise, when the Bauchi, Borno, and Adamawa provinces constituted the former North-Eastern State.
With the creation of Bauchi in 1976, then comprising present Bauchi and Gombe States, it included 16 local government areas. The number of local government areas in the then Bauchi State was increased to 20 and later to 23.
However, in 1997 when Gombe was created out of Bauchi and additional local governments were created in the country, Bauchi was left with 20 local government areas. Sharia law was however, adopted in June 2001.
Dogara’s media aide, Turaki Hassan, said in a statement that his principal went public with the alleged chilly graft in the state while speaking at a campaign rally in Dass, the headquarters of Dass local Government Area at the weekend.
According to Hassan, ‘’Dogara presented documented evidence to a mammoth crowd of his constituents showing how thousands of non-existent people were said to have been employed in 2015 shortly after the governor came into office.
‘’The Speaker challenged Governor Abubakar to take him to court and promised that he will defend the allegations and added that as a lawyer he knows the law and would not level false allegations against anyone if he does not have evidence.
‘’A perusal of one of the documents indicates that no fewer than 1,200 people were said to have been employed and added into the state’s payroll beginning from July 2015. However, one of the ghost employees by name, Bappale Adamu, was said to have been born in 1899, which is 120 years ago and started work with the Bauchi state government on July 24, 2015 and will retire from the service in 2023.
‘’Another startling revelation showed that all the 1,200 workers, though have different names and dates of birth, have the same Bank Verification Number (BVN), meaning that their entire salary was being paid into one and same bank account under different names. The salaries vary from N39,000 to N86,000 and above.
‘’The speaker also wondered how Bauchi monthly salary skyrocketed from N2.6 billion per month in May 2015 to N7 billion without recruitment of additional workers, especially as the governor had early in his administration, fired thousands of political appointees engaged by former governor Isa Yuguda, which should have reduced the state’s wage bill drastically.
‘’He also accused the governor of diverting billions of local government funds in the last 3 1/2 years. The Speaker also recalled how the governor chased away contractors renovating Dass Central Mosque but failed to renovate it after repeated promises and revealed how he personally paid for the renovation of the mosque.’’
The state government has been owing workers more than one year salaries following series of verifications to allegedly remove ghost workers from the state’s payroll by the APC administration at its inception in 2015, ‘’but sadly, shortly after that, the monthly salary bill increased from N2.6 billion to about N7 billion’’.
In August 2016, political leaders and stakeholders from the state led by the Speaker sought President Muhammadu Buhari’s intervention on the non-payment of salaries which didn’t yield any result and has been the major source of disagreement between the Speaker, political leaders, stakeholders and the state governor.