Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has inaugurated a committee to investigate and audit the financial transactions of the 23 local government areas from May 2018 to May 2019.
Governor Wike said the committee was not aimed at removing any council chairman or official, but targeted at improving probity and accountability in the 23 councils of the state.
“We are not trying to remove any local government chairman. But, it cannot be business as usual in the 23 local government areas.
“We want to know how the local governments spend their allocations. I have never interfered in the administration of local government funds.
“I am not one of those governors that interfere with council funds.”
Governor Wike regretted that despite the monthly allocations to the 23 councils, there is no local government area that has executed projects.
“I have found out that there is no local government area where you see a single project. When I was council chairman, we executed projects. For me, I invited the governor at that time, Peter Odili, to commission projects. No local government chairman has invited me to commission a project,” he said.
Wike urged the committee to live above board, saying if he gets information that any local government chairman or godfather attempts to compromise the committee, the committee will be dissolved.
“People must sit up and account for funds of the councils. Ask for bank statements, ask for money from joint account, ask for the salaries and allowances. If they spent any fund the day I visited, they should state it. We cannot continue the way we are going.
“At the end of every month, they come JAC meeting. We must know how the funds are spent. Also, check which councils collected loans when they are not backed to do so without authorisation.”
He said the committee has three weeks to submit its report and added that the government counts on the integrity of the committee members to deliver on the assignment.
Deputy Governor and Chairman of the committee, Ipalibo Harry Banigo, assured Governor Wike that the committee will deliver on schedule in line with its terms of reference.
“The efficient running of councils will add value to the achievement of the vision of the governor. The committee will work in line with the terms of reference of the governor,” she said.