States Still Await FG's Post-election Violence Compensation

By The Rainbow

Two months after the federal government through Vice President Nnamadi Sambo released cheques worth N5.747 billion to eight of the 14 states affected by the 2011 post-election violence, the states are unable to clear the cheques. The reason, according to officials of the affected states, is the failure of the federal government to remit their share of the funds to their accounts

On Thursday, May 17, 2013, Vice President Sambo presented the cheques to representatives of the affected states at the presidential villa, Abuja, where he said: 'It is with deepest sense of sorrow that President Goodluck Jonathan and indeed the entire government and people of Nigeria remain deeply pained by the violent acts and civil disturbances which necessitated today's event.'

A breakdown of the disbursement showed that Bauchi State got N1.574billion; Zamfara State -N93.253 million; Niger State – N433.375million; Jigawa State – N208.667million; Katsina State -N1.973billion; Kano State – N944.827million; Adamawa State – N420.089million, and Akwa Ibom State -N43.504million.

Investigations by LEADERSHIP Sunday revealed that none of the affected states has had the money in its account.

When the office of the vice president was contacted on the development, all the officials declined comments. The situation was the same at the office of the secretary to the government of the federation (SGF): the only official who was ready to comment on the matter kept asking for time. On his request, LEADERSHIP Sunday stepped down the story for two weeks to enable the SGF's office present the government's position. This was not done at the time of filing this report.

In Zamfara State, the information commissioner, Alhaji Ibrahim Birnin Magaji, told our correspondent that 'as far as the state is concerned, there is no evidence to indicate the remittance of the said fund into the state government's account'.

He explained that the accountant-general of the state has submitted a bank account number to the accountant-general of the federation for the remittance of the fund, 'but up to this moment, the bank manager has confirmed that not a single kobo was so far deposited in the account', he said.

Magaji said: 'We are aware that some states have already accessed the fund, but Zamfara is still looking at the issue as mere illusion.' HeĀ  lamented that the scenario surrounding the alleged disbursement of the fund was manifesting in certain political affairs in the state.

The situation is the same in Katsina State as officials of the state confirmed that they were yet to receive its share of the money. Katsina got the lion's share of N1.9 billion.

Findings by our correspondent revealed that the state government has constituted a committee to liaise with the federal government to distribute the money to the affected victims once it is released.

The executive director of Katsina State Relief Emergency and Rehabilitation, Hassan Rawayau, told LEADERSHIP Sunday that arrangements had been made for the sharing of the money, adding that 'we are waiting for the federal government's team'.

Rawayau said over 1,000 persons and organisations were affected by the violence that occurred shortly after the 2011 presidential election.

In all, the seven local government areas of Daura, Kankara, Funtua, Faskari, Dandume, Katsina and Malumfashi were affected by the violence in Katsina State.

In Uyo, the Akwa State capital, officials of the state government admitted that the state was yet to receive its N43.504 share of the compensation.

A member of staff of the deputy governor's office told LEADERSHIP Sunday on condition of anonymity that the state government had not received the money. He said a list of the victims had been complied by the state government.

The Sokoto State governor, Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, has however rejected the state's share of the money. Asked why he acted that way, Wamakko simply told LEADERSHIP Sunday that there was no post-election violence in the state and, as such, he could not collect the compensation.

He said Nigerians should learn how to be sincere in the midst of temptation. According to Wamakko, he is a devoted Muslim who believes in the day of reckoning and a patriotic Nigerian who shares in the ideals of transparency, accountability and sincerity in leadership.

'Yes, I rejected the cheque after explaining to them that there was no post-election violence in Sokoto State in 2011,' Wamakko said.

In Niger State, officials declared that the federal government had put the Governor Babangida Aliyu administration under pressure for announcing the funds and refusing to remit the money to the states.

An official of the Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NISEMA), Alhaji Mohammed Shaba, stated in Minna that the state has not received the fund almost three months after President Goodluck Jonathan announced the release of the fund.

According to him, 'We are daily under pressure from these people; we plead with the federal government to release the money so that we can give it to these people'.

Shaba stated that a series of petitions on the issue by the victims have been insinuating that the money had been collected and diverted by the state.

Some others, he said, throng the offices of the agency to collect the money, thinking that his office is the disbursement centre. He appealed to the federal government to fulfil the promise.

The secretary to the Adamawa State government, Mr Kobis Ari Thimnu, also disclosed that the state was yet to receive the relief funds from the federal government.