KOGI State’s deputy governor Simon Achuba has given his boss Governor Yahaya Bello seven days within which to pat him a sum of N800m ($2.2m) owed to him in allowances or face legal action.
In the first ever such action of its kind, Deputy Governor Achuba has issued Governor Bello with a pre-action notice signed by his lawyer Femi Falana, in which he is requesting the release of all statutory allocations due to his office since 2017. Governor Bello is said to be owing his deputy, accumulated allowances and other entitlements to the tune of N819,709,980.00.
In the letter which was addressed to Governor Bello dated July 17 2019, the deputy governor said his office was a creation of the 1999 constitution, with releases due to it signed into law by the governor and state house of assembly. However, Deputy Governor Achuba, said that the state governor has refused to release the funds for the deputy governor’s office.
His letter read: “Our client has informed us that Your Excellency’s administration has consistently refused to give approval for the release of funds for the smooth running of the office of the deputy governor even after memos to that effect have been approved by your office. In particular, the statutory allocations approved for the Office of the Deputy Governor have been withheld by the state government since 2017.
“The accumulated statutory allocations includes travel allowances, hotel bills, pledges and outstanding monthly impress and salaries due to our client as the deputy governor of Kogi State. These said statutory allocations are duly captured in the Kogi State Appropriation Laws of 2017, 2018 and 2019 supported by various memos sent your office since 2017, which were duly approved without cash backing till date.
“Notwithstanding the fact that the statutory allocations have been illegally withheld, our client has continued to carry out his functions as the deputy governor of Kogi State. In as much as our client is prepared to continue to discharge the enormous responsibilities of his office, he is currently hampered by lack of funds which has wide-ranging implications for the state even as it prepares for the forthcoming gubernatorial election.
“In view of the foregoing, we have our client’s instructions to request Your Excellency to use your good offices to ensure the immediate payment of the withheld statutory allocations legitimately appropriated for the Office of the Deputy Governor of Kogi State since 2017. It is hoped that Your Excellency will not allow our client to resort to litigation in respect of this matter as that may embarrass the government of Kogi State.”
Deputy Governor Achiba’s lawyers are threatening to seek redress in the National Industrial Court, if their client’s request is not granted within seven days of the receipt of the letter. Apparently, he has given them the go-ahead to file a suit if Governor Bello does not respond within the stipulated period.