By Chinelo Obogo
Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State has described the claims by Obaseki that the CBN printed N60 billion to distribute to states as irresponsible and unpatriotic.
He also condemned Emefiele’s threats to recover intervention loans extended to governors in 2015 when the Federal Government gave out bailout facilities to states.
Speaking during an interview on Channels Television, he described both men’s statements as reckless and unpatriotic.
“Those two statements are very unfortunate and unpartriotic because there is no way a governor would come out and say the CBN is printing money and there is no way that as a result of that, the CBN governor would come out and say that he would start deducting money. If the states should collapse, the government is gone. We have to manage the country well. So, I condemn totally, for a governor to come out and say that the Federal Government is printing money, which is very irresponsible. You do not de-market the government. No governor should say such a thing.”
On the demand by judiciary workers across the country for complete financial autonomy, Umahi said his state has implemented financial autonomy for the judiciary and advised every state to follow suit.
“It is not a question of judicial order, it is a question of respect for every arm of government. Whatever is due to the judiciary within the limit of what is available must be given directly to them. It is as simple as that and there’s no ambiguity. However, it should be a function of how much comes into the state. If, for instance, I get N1 billion as my consolidated revenue for the month and I deal with the recurrent expenditure and the next month, I get N800,000, what I do is that some projects would have to stop to address other issues. What every arm of government gets depends on what comes into the state.
“In my state, I don’t pay the salaries of judicial workers; the money that is due to them is sent directly to them. But don’t forget that there may be issues that may arise within that arm of government which was never envisaged and what the head of the court would do is to fall back on the government. It is called shifting of priorities and that is why it appears as if the heads of court apply to government. If the head of court is getting X amount for welfare and there happens to be the death which was not envisaged, he has to fall back on the executive and the executive has to shift its priorities to meet the needs.
Nothing has changed in my state, but what is being discussed at the Nigerian Governors Forum is increase in funding because why would a governor want to buy cars for judges? What is being discussed is already happening in so many states.