From Agaju Madugba, Katsina
The Katsina State Government may have approved the release of a total sum of N499,650,000.00 from the joint account of the state’s 34 local government councils.
According to a leaked document from the Government House, the Governor directed that N14,695,588.00 be deducted from each council and channelled towards “effective mobilisation” of citizens to welcome President Muhammadu Buhari during his scheduled official visit to the state on January 26 and 27.
The document signed by Yahuza S. Ibrahim, on behalf of the Permanent Secretary, Government House, stated:
“l am directed to refer to your letter No. /MLGCA/GEN/259/C/IV of 17 January 2023 and to convey the approval of His Excellency, the Governor for the release of N14,695,588.00 to each of the 34 LGCs totalling N499,650,000.00 (Four Hundred and Ninety-Nine Million, Six Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira Only) from the available balance of the 34 LGCs in the Local Government Joint Account to enable the LGCs to cater for adequate and effective mobilization of citizens to receive Mr President during an official visit to Katsina State from 26th – 27th January 2023.
“This letter is copied to the Accountant-General, Ministry of Finance and Auditor General for Local Governments for awareness, please.”
But following an outcry by sections of the opposition political parties and the public, the Commissioner for Local Governments and Chieftaincy Affairs, Alhaji Umar Yau Gojogojo, denied knowledge of the said approval for the release of the funds.
“Truly, I am not aware of this money. I don’t know whether the said money has been removed from the account and I have been out of the office for days now for our governorship candidate campaign tour across the Local Government Areas,” said the commissioner.
“This approved letter shows that it has been signed since the 18th of this month and I am not aware of it due to the campaign tour and nobody informed me about it.
“I am going to check it to know the authenticity of the leaked approval letter.
“I want to call on those pointing accusing fingers to desist from it.
“If the money has been approved for local Government Areas for the execution of projects or something that has to do with the coming of the President, they wait for it to see if such projects are not carried out.”