By Nuel Suji – The Bayelsa State governor, Henry Seriake Dickson has ordered the immediate suspension of the ongoing sale of properties belonging to the state.
He also constituted a three-man committee to ascertain the level of compliance with due process in the sale of such assets.
In a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, in Yenagoa at the weekend, the committee is expected to compile a comprehensive list of all the government assets, that have been removed or sold to the auctioneers and advise the government on the appropriate action to be taken, regarding such assets.
The Governor named Head of Service, Dr. Peter Singabele, as chairman of the committee, while the Special Adviser to the governor on Security Matters, Boma Spero-Jack is member and Deacon Markson Fefegha as Secretary.
The committee’s six terms of reference, include: looking into all ongoing auction sales, determine the list and physical state of the equipment and items at the time of sale and unveil the identity or identities of all the auctioneers involved.
It will also make any other recommendations that would ensure a proper conduct of all similar exercises of the government in the future.
Dickson, who charged members of the committee to submit its report within two weeks, directed all permanent secretaries and chief executives to submit all documents relating to the sale of government assets in their ministries, departments and agencies to the committee.
Meanwhile, the governor on Friday lamented the poor financial position of the state, as it received N2.9 billion for the month of February from the federation accounts.
A statement issued on Friday by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, quoted the Governor as saying that revenue accrued to the state if February had never been so bad.
The governor spoke in Yenagoa, during the inauguration of three new Special Advisers.
He called on the Federal Government to take drastic measures to change the harsh economic situation facing Nigerians.
Dickson explained that the state government got the February allocation after deductions at source, including bonds incurred by the previous administration.
The governor said it was becoming increasingly difficult for the government to meet its financial obligations.
He said, “I have not seen anything like what has just been reported to me by the finance team. For this month, what has come into our state is N2.9 billion; it has never been this bad. Meanwhile, our salary obligation for civil servants alone, is about N4 billion, so you can see where we are, as a state.
“Four years ago, when this government started, the first allocation we received was about N16 billion. At some point, it climbed to N18 and even N19 billion. And, that was why we put all your resources in most of these ambitious projects that a number of them, including the Ogobiri bridge, first flyover and several roads have been completed.”
While advising Bayelsans, particularly the workers to show greater understanding, said the state government would be compelled to take hard decisions after due consultations with stakeholders.
Delivering his charge to the new special advisers, Dickson stated that, they were re-appointed in appreciation of their meritorious service to the state in the last four years.
He described them as resourceful, tested and tried apostles of the restoration government.
He, however, urged them to be above board in the discharge of their duties and devise innovative ideas for the government to tackle the challenges of security, information and financial management towards achieving sustainable development.
The governor assured that his administration would improve on its security infrastructure and strategies to ensure that, the state maintains its position as one of the safest states in the federation for investments and other social activities.