Why We Are Automating LG Payroll – Gov Alia’s Aide

By Amos Aar

The Special Adviser to the governor Benue State on Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Dr Dennis Akura, has said that the Bureau is making efforts to automate the payroll and other activities of local governments in the state for the purpose of transparency.

Dr Akura stated this on Wednesday when he received in audience members of the state executive council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists ((NUJ), Makurdi who paid him a familiarization visit in his office.

Akura who said the Bureau runs a zero expenditure account added that the policy will also put to rest unnecessary allegations of corruption and petitions against those in positions of authority.

“We are trying to automate the local government payroll and other activities of local governments so that all these papers that are always flying up down should not be there. In government too, we have saboteurs that don’t want to see anything good and are always writing petitions on frivolous issues. You must have heard that I embezzled about N20 billion even at a time when I was not here. But I want to assure you that we know what we are doing here.

“Whatever we do here always follow due process. We don’t pay money here, it is the local governments that have their money and pay. We operate a zero expenditure account. Whatever happens, we only coordinate, supervise and monitor. That is our key responsibility. But anything concerning money, you go to the local government”, Akura explained.

He requested for synergy from NUJ to propagate the activities of Alia administration, noting that the governor’s achievements have been underrated.

“We officially invite you to assist us to put to the public space the activities of this government, we will collaborate. Alia came for good, his coming on board is divine intervention”, he stated.

The adviser said governor Alia is creating opportunities to minimize migration from rural areas, adding that the bureau has adopted a lot of reforms including payment of imprest and overheads which are statutory monthly meetings as well as local government monitoring that were no longer in practice.

“As we speak, local government chairmen and councils have earmarked critical needs to access projects that any moment from now, they are going to commence in all local government areas and we know that if these things are going on, these can create skilled and unskilled where young men can be engaged and we know that if young men are engaged, the issue of insecurity can be resolved.

“It is also our desire as bureau to coordinate local governments for rural infrastructure, especially roads because you know that if culverts, bridges and roads are created for smooth riding, these issues of farmers and herders crisis and insecurity getting to the point of crisis will be minimized.

“We have the department of monitoring but for the past seven years, there was no monitoring. But when we came, we started monitoring and we have a new local government system where lives and properties of individuals can be secured”, Akura said.

The Bureau Adviser lamented that Governor Alia’s sacrifices for Benue people have received negative criticisms and urged the people to prioritize public interest above self.

“Governor Alia is not thinking of himself, he is thinking about the state. He has sacrificed even for his vehicles; the commissioners, up till now they don’t have vehicles, assembly members, all of them don’t have vehicles. These are very serious sacrifices. But you go to the media space, it has become criticism. As advisers, we don’t have vehicles. But he wants to satisfy for the state first. Let the state at least feel the impact of what they have done to bring him to the mantle of leadership to correct these ills.

Dr Akura also assured that the state government would intervene as a partner in NUJ challenges as he noted that the union cannot progress in factions unless united, adding that a forum will be created to unite the two factions “since no crisis can end in crisis, there must be a roundtable”.

On the request made by the NUJ chairman that the local government chairmen be allowed to participate in local government briefing, Akura said it’s very important as it will showcase the activities of the government in rural areas.

On the dilapidated NUJ state secretariat, the Adviser said government would look into it so as to project a better image of Benue state. “Take for instance, if other NUJs in other states visit your secretariat and it is raining and rain is everywhere, it doesn’t project a better image of Benue. It’s not just NUJ but Benue state as a whole”, he noted.

Earlier, NUJ state chairman, comrade Vincent Nyinongu, who led Exco members on the courtesy visit congratulated Dr Akura on his appointment and commended him for ensuring that local governments receive imprest. He also thanked Akura for advising the governor to grant local government autonomy to bring democracy nearer to the people, assuring of NUJ’s collaboration to give the state government the desired publicity.

The chairman noted that as people who penetrate the hinterlands to get information and report to the government for development, there was need for the Bureau Adviser to avail journalists information whenever the need arises in order not to create room for speculation. He therefore requested the Adviser to grant LG chairmen permission to come to NUJ secretariat to brief Benue people on their stewardship for accountability and transparency.

Nyinongu who said the NUJ secretariat built since 1991 has not been renovated since then appealed to the state government to renovate it and also repair or drill a new borehole at the secretariat to address water challenge.

On his part, a veteran journalist, Comrade Terlumun Vaatia, said governor Alia’s activities were being under reported and advised the government to build cordial relationship with NUJ to report activities of the government fully.

In separate remarks, Director Administration/covering permanent secretary of the bureau, Mr Elijah Dogo, represented by Assistant Director Administration, Mrs Rhoda Aboh, and
Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr Gwaza Ujamatu, appreciated Benue NUJ leadership for the visit to strengthen the existing relationship with the Bureau and for accepting to partner with the Bureau as a the hub of activities of government where everything starts to the end

“Emanate news here and push it out there so that everyone knows exactly what is happening in government. If this place is projected, governor Alia is projected”, Ujamatu said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.