The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, ( EFCC) has been asked to probe the Government of Bayelsa State.
A foremost civil right group said on Tuesday that the plan to approve largesse for Bayelsa State lawmakers is a conscious attempt to institutionalize corruption and an indication that corruption is entrenched in the oil rich state.
“We see recent developments in Bayelsa State as an eye opener. There is a deliberate attempt to exploit the people of Bayelsas State. The bill epitomizes the manner and ways Mr Dickson has been running the state since inception. JODER fully supports the call for investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) into the finances of the state since Mr Dickson took over,” JODER said in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Mr Adewale Adeoye.
The Journalists for Democratic Rights, (JODER) urged the anti-corruption agency to beam it’s searchligt on Bayelsa finances especially on the management of public funds by the Governor of Bayelsa, Mr Seriake Dickson.
JODER also urged the people of Bayelsa not to trust reports that the Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson is withholding his signature adding that it may be a temporary plot to allow public outcry to fizzle out.
The rights group said the funds being requested as pension for Bayelsa lawmakers will further fuel anger, hate and even the prospect of violence in an already impoverished state. JODER said the total amount to be taken from public purse by the lawmakers in their post service era runs into millions of naira at the expense of the public.
The Bayelsa State House of Assembly had approved N500,000 post service monthly pension to a speaker of the Assembly, while a deputy speaker will receive N200,000 and a member will receive N100,000. The bill was sponsored by the leader of the House, Peter Akpe, a close ally of Governor Dickson. The Governor was reported to have withheld its signature but there are fears that the bill may resurface in the near future.
JODER said to conceive the idea in the first place suggests that the current Bayelsa State Government is likely to have adopted corruption as a state policy. The media rights group said promoting a law that seeks to officially appropriate public resources is akin to day-light robbery.
The group stated “The withholding of his signature by Governor Seriake Dickson is an afterthought. We have a strong reason to suspect that the governor is actually behind the plot to steal public funds using orchestrated legal instruments put in place by the State Assembly.” The right thing to do is for Nigerians to continue to mount pressure until the finances of the state are probed by the relevant authorizes.