The Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has described the report featured by an online news medium that he squandered the sum of N260 million days after he was sworn into office as an abuse of thr right to information even as he said the report is libelous.
Mr. Bello, who reacted through his Chief Press Secretary, Kingsley Fanwo, described the report as “libelous,” but did not deny that the funds were drawn.
In a statement signed by Kingsley Fanwo, the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, the governor said medium’s investigation into the spending was a clear abuse of the right to information.
“The use of the word ‘squander,’ as far as I am concerned, is a clear abuse of the right to information. Every dime spent by the governor can be accounted for.”
The governor said that he drew the funds to tackle security challenges in the state which he said was a “hotbed” for criminals for over a decade due to its strategic location.
“It is a public knowledge that Kogi State has been contending with serious security breach for the past ten years. Because of the location of the state as gateway to many states of the federation, the state drifted into a criminal hotbed.”
He said that he took shelter in his private residence for weeks after he assumed office due to the poor state he met Lugard Government House, Lokoja, saying that he used part of the funds to renovate his official residence.
“The award of contract to renovate the Government House was justifiable. Weeks after his inauguration, Governor Yahaya Bello was operating from his home because the Government House wasn’t conducive. The award was to renovate Government House and not his personal house.”
“If you have ever been to the Kogi State Government House in Lokoja, you will appreciate the rot of the architecture. It was not befitting of one of the most historic government houses in Nigeria. In tandem with the present administration’s drive to turn the economy of the state to a private sector driven one, we need to start our charity at home. People must love to come to our Government House to transact businesses.”
Governor Yahaya Bello insisted that he is committed to fighting corruption and enabling transparency in his administration.
“Let me also put on record that Governor Yahaya Bello administration is contractually committed to fighting corruption and enthroning transparency in the polity. These are the terms of his social contract with the Kogi people.” [myad]