The uneasy relationship between Elder Simon Achuba, Kogi State Deputy Governor and his boss, Governor Yahaya Bello has degenerated. The former has threatened to drag Gov Bello to court if, after seven days, his entitlements amounting to N819,709,980.00 since 2017 are not paid.
This is contained in a letter signed by Lagos based human rights activist Femi Falani, SAN, on the instructions of the Deputy Governor. The fiery lawyer called for the release of all statutory allocations due to the office of the Deputy Governor amounting to N819,709,980.00, but which have been withheld since 2017, 2018 and 2019,
The letter addressed to Governor Yahaya Bello and dated 17th July, 2019, said the Deputy Governor’s office is a creation of the 1999 constitution, with releases due to it and signed by law by the Governor and State House of Assembly, but that the state governor has refused to release funds for the Deputy Governor’s office.
In the letter made available to newsmen and addressed to the Executive Governor of Kogi State, with the title: Demand Notice: Request for the release of all statutory allocations due to the office of the Deputy Governor of Kogi State amounting to the total sum of N819,709,980.00 ( eight hundred and nineteen million, seven hundred and nine thousand, nine hundred and eighty naira ) only for 2017, 2018 and 2019 memo approvals.
The letter reads as follows; ” We act as solicitors to his Excellency, Elder Simon O. Achuba, the Deputy Governor of Kogi State, ( hereinafter referred to as our client ) and on whose instructions we write this letter.
“As you are no doubt aware, our client’s office is a creation of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria ( As Amended ). Accordingly, the office is statutorily entitled to the prompt release of all allocations due to it as appropriated by the Kogi State House of Assembly and signed into law as the budget by your Excellency.
“Our client has informed us that your Excellency’s administration has consistently refused to give approval for the release of funds for the smooth running of the office of the Deputy Governor even after memos to that effect have been approved for the office. In particular, the statutory allocations approved for the office of the Deputy Governor have been withheld by the state government since 2017.
“The accumulated statutory allocations as withheld is
N819,709,980.00 ( Eight hundred and nineteen million, seven hundred and nine thousand, nine hundred and eighty naira ) which includes travel allowances, hotel bills, pledges and outstanding monthly imprest and salaries due to our client as the Deputy Governor of Kogi state. This said statutory allocations are duly captured in the Kogi state appropriation laws of 2017, 2018, and 2019 supported by various memos sent to your office since 2017 which were duly approved without cash backing till date.
“Notwithstanding the fact that the statutory allocations have been illegally withheld, our client has continued to carry out his functions as the Deputy Governor of Kogi state. In as much as our client is prepared to continue to discharge the enormous responsibilities of his office, he is currently hampered by lack of funds which has wide-ranging implications for the state even as it prepares for the forthcoming gubernatorial election.
“In view of the foregoing, we have our clients instructions to request your Excellency to use your good offices to ensure the immediate payment of the withheld statutory allocations legitimately appropriated for the office of the Deputy Governor of Kogi state since 2017.
“Take notice that if our client’s request is not granted within seven days of the receipt of this letter, we have our client’s instructions to seek redress in the National Industrial Court. It is hoped that Your Excellency will not allow our client to resort to litigation in respect of this matter as that may embarrass the government of Kogi State”.