Herdsmen Will Not Be Allowed To Intimidate Our People- Dickson

Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State in this interview speaks on how he has been managing affairs of the state, the challenges he has faced and his plans to take the state to greater heights.

Excerpts:

Much has been said about the N14.5b given back to the state by the Federal Government. What is the nature of this payment?

The N14.5b is a refund of excess deductions on account of World Bank, Paris Club and other loans that the federal government took and repaid.

Our federation is a very wonderful one where as state governors you just wait and at the end of the month they come up with whatever figures and throw them at you at the FAAC.

It was discovered that most of what they did at that time were not proper, they repaid with states and Local Government funds, and governors came together to fight for what rightly belonged to their states. This N14.5b was not given to Bayelsa only but to almost all the states of the federation. We have put out the figure as a result of our transparency policy. The money belongs to the state, and we are only privileged to manage the resources.

The civil servants have been very understanding in the last one year when we had to manage a very tough situation concerning our revenues. In January we almost didn’t receive anything because of a combination of so many factors at the national level. For February, March, we were having between N1.5b to N2b for a state that has a wage bill of almost N5b not to talk of the Local Government level. The Local Government situation is very bad, and Bayelsa is one state that since we took over, we have not made any deduction from Local Government funds. We only receive it on their behalf from the joint account and sit in the JAAC with them, and the following day it is released. Local Governments have financial autonomy; it is left for the leaders and the people to hold them accountable.

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