- Under Gov Yero
By Our Roving Correspondent
Embattled Governor of Kaduna state, Alhaji Ramallan Yero, his commissioner of finance, Mr. Samaila, the state’s Accountant General, Mr Shekari and Revenue Board chairman including the Director Treasury Operations (DTO), Mr Yusuf Hayatu have questions to answer, following allegations of gross diversion of internally generated revenue (IGR) of the state, running into billions of naira, leveled against them.
A case in point, according to DESERT HERALD magazine investigations, is the new Sir Kashim Ibrahim House Kaduna, the seat of government, built at a whooping cost of 10 billion naira. Even though the project was awarded by Vice President Namadi Sambo when he was presiding over the affairs of the state insiders however averred that the questionable review of the project and payments under Mr. Yero is not only fraudulent but one that will indict the incumbent governor if proper scrutiny will be conducted.
“Looking at the sham face lift of the Kaduna Government House, one is compelled to believe that there is something fishy about it; considering the fact that President Jonathan was personally on ground to commission such a shoddy project. The president failed to ask Governor Yero the source of the 10 billion naira used for the project”, remarked Mohammed Baba, a Kaduna-based politician, alleging that Governor Yero “has dipped his itchy fingers into public till”.
Political observers in the state also alleged that “Governor Yero is short-changing Kaduna state through many fronts, including state’s revenue board’s internally-revenue (IGR), the Ministry for Local Government through the joint account/ SURE-P funds and the main allocation from the federal government. I believe that is why the governor is not performing”.
For instance, recently, despite the billions being generated from levies and interests from the states tricycle (Keke NAPEP) business and the SURE-P transportation initiative, Governor Yero whom the opposition regarded as power-drunk forced 3 inferior vehicles through his commissioner for local government, Shehu Ahmed Giant on each of the 23 local government councils at the cost 2 million naira each; when the unit cost of the vehicle is a paltry 25% of amount released for each, in the open market; hence the questions now on the lips of keen watchers of the rip-off:
What is the governor doing with all the funds being generated internally? How much has the governor received from the Kaduna State Board of Internal Revenue since he succeeded his late boss Governor Patrick Yakowa? What is the breakdown of the receipt of the billions of naira? Was the 10 billion naira spent on the new Government House realistic? What was the source of the 10 billion naira wasted on the government house in the name of an extension when other critical areas such as education, healthcare, industries in the state etc., are suffering?
DESERT HERALD magazine learnt that the lame-duck Yero administration in Kaduna state is doing more harm than good, evident in the popular belief that the government has failed the people, despite the huge allocation from the Federal Government under Governor Yero. Yet critical sectors like water supply, feeder roads, healthcare, education, agriculture are almost comatose in Kaduna state.
“Rather than prioritize developmental projects Governor Yero is busy wasting the resources of Kaduna state on mundane things and dishing out cash to his cronies- none of whom mean well for Kaduna state. It is good that 2015 is around the corner. Believe you me, the people are tired of the directionless Yero administration”, declared Mohammed Bukar, a Kaduna-based politician.
Bukar condemned what he called the conspiracy of the executive to milk Kaduna state dry, revealing that tax officers and collectors in Kaduna Revenue Board have taken advantage of the impunity on the part of the government, perfecting sharp practices and multiple taxation to their advantage. The sharp practices he said “are detrimental to the state”.
Critics of Governor Yero told DESERT HERALD that from inception; “his administration was doomed to fail” as he has not initiated a single project, except a few begun by his former boss, Yakowa, abandoning projects in Southern Kaduna, the cradle of his power. Thus Yero would face high hurdles in the governorship race ahead.
Analysts wondered why Kaduna state, despite the enormous potentials to generate revenue, is going cap in hand soliciting for loans and aid from development partners, international donors and other sources, even as a chunk of the internally generated revenue is being mismanaged and diverted.
Fake and fraudulent tax officers and collectors believed to be conniving with the revenue board to defraud the state, have a field day – in the entire place swindling innocent indigenes, residents, businessmen and women. The fake officers and tax collectors DESERT HERALD investigations revealed, migrate from place to place in the state, collecting revenue and issuing fake receipts before smiling to the bank with their loot thereafter. Several questionable companies DESERT HERALD leant are hired to source and collect all forms of revenue on behalf of the state, thereby shortchanging the state to favour few individuals that own such fraudulent companies.
Also in the alleged gang-up to defraud the state is the Commissioner of Water Resources, Hon Ado Dogo (Alias Ado Hot). Dogo presides over the affairs of the ministry whose primary responsibility is the provision and supply of potable water to all parts of the state. Instead Hon Ado Dogo, who was appointed commissioner by Governor Yero “is busy recycling and reselling the very chemicals government has procured to filter and purify the water system, defrauding the sate of millions of naira monthly”, revealed a staff in the ministry, who pleaded anonymity for fear of victimization.
All efforts made by DESERT HERALD magazine to get the reactions to these weighty allegations against Governor Yero and his henchmen were unsuccessful.