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BAYELSA MDGS FUND: ACN, GROUP WANT FINDINGS MADE PUBLIC

By NBF News
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The Niger Delta Development Monitoring and Corporate Watch (NIDDEMCOW) and the Action Congress of Nigeria ACN have called for a thorough investigation into the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) fund for execution of projects in Bayelsa state.

The House Committee on Public Accounts led by Mr Sam Ateke, had after a motion moved by Mr. Alfred Egba and supported by the deputy- speaker, Mr Fini Terah Angaye summoned the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Chief Gideon Ekuewei to explain how the fund was used.

Ekuewei had behind closed doors defended the execution of projects, noting that the fund so far received were N1.6 billion. He was later to conduct journalists round some of the projects sites, where he alleged that, his invitation to the House of Assembly had political undertone.

However, NIDDEMCOW in a statement by its Executive Director, Mr. Nengi James said the Bayelsa state government should constitute a committee to look into the issue, adding that if any money was found to have been misappropriated, appropriate actions should be taken against those involved.

James, who pointed out that the House had not made public its findings, said the lawmakers should be firm and ensure the suspension from office of anybody found to have misappropriated the MDGs funds. According to him, this would allow for a fair and thorough investigation into the use of the funds.

The ACN in a statement in Yenagoa by its National Youth Leader, Mr Miriki Ebikibina, stated that Bayelsans would resist any attempt to sweep the investigation under the carpet.

Ebikibina who recalled that other probes before now were covered up by the House, maintained that Bayelsans deserved to know how the MDGs fund allocated to the state was spent.  He expressed regret that project executions in the state had been characterized by shoddy handling, stressing that the House should make public its findings from the testimony of the SSG.

Meanwhile, the party has tasked state governors on the use of security votes to better the lives of Nigerian youths. In his message to the youths on the occasion of the World Youth Day, Ebikibina noted that the AC N would want the Presidency and the state governors to use the security votes to empower the youths.

According to him it would be counter- productive and misplaced priority to recieve unaccounted sum of money monthly while many youths do not have jobs.

He urged other state governors to emulate Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo state who set aside part of his security vote for education and Rauf Aregbesola of  Osun state who used his security voter to employ  20,000 jobless youths.