April 9, 2010

Amaechi warns council chiefs against misuse of funds

By George Onah

PORT HARCOURT— RIVERS State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, yesterday, expressed concern over the improper utilization of funds meant for primary education and primary health care systems by local government councils in the state.

Governor Amaechi who spoke in Port Harcourt at the swearing-in of the new Chairman of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Council, ONELGA, Mr. Raymond Wokocha, said that chairmen should account for how the funds meant for those sectors were used since the state was now financing them.

The governor who noted that the responsibility of local government councils in the state to pay salaries of primary school teachers, renovate and maintain primary schools, as well as build or renovate primary health centres have now been taken over by the state government, regretted that there had not been any significant improvement in the performance of the councils.

Gov Amaechi

He said: “They used to pay primary school teachers’ salary totaling over N1billion, we have taken that over. We paid with our own money, not their money. The question to ask is what happens to that money in their possession.”

Amaechi said the state government would fully equip and employ staff for the model health centres being built across the state, stressing that the new bill on the management of the health centres stipulates that councils would continue to pay the salaries of their old health workers.

The governor charged the new ONELGA chairman to serve with the fear of God, and utilize resources of the council to impact positively on the lives of the people. He stressed that if the chairman served his people well without enriching himself to their detriment, he would leave behind goodwill that could open many doors for him.

governor who challenged Wokocha to examine the lives of previous council chairmen in the area, stressed that he should avoid what led to the removal of his predecessor.

Speaking shortly afterwards, Wokocha said the focus of his administration would be on the proper utilization of funds to impact on the people as well as fight corruption.