The decision by the APC led Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to commence deductions from states statutory allocations in a bid to recover loans granted the states as bailout funds to off-set backlog of salaries and pensions or gratuities and severance allowances of legislators since 2015, has elicited negative reactions from citizens of the affected states.

Already, Governors of all the various states involved, some of who were elected newly, are kicking against the idea of deducting the loans from their monthly statutory allocations. They argued that it will set the hand of the clock of their development strides backwards.

Already, the Nigeria Governor Forum (NGF) led by Dr Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, are meeting in Abuja, ahead of the 97th National Economic Council (NEC) meeting to fine tune strategies to ward-off the adverse effect of the deductions or to postpone the evil day entirely.

This is the first time NGF led by Kayode Fayemi, will be meeting after the decision was endorsed by the federal government to immediately commence deductions and recovery of the N614 billion advanced to 35 states as bailout or budget support facility. The federal government gave the conditional budget support facility through the CBN in 2015, to enable states bail themselves out from arrears of salaries, pensions, gratuities and severance allowances to legislators aide. Most of the Governors collected the money but diverted same to private pockets, or invested into personal business ventures, leaving the workers, pensioners traumatized.

Here in Imo State, where the whooping N26.8 billion released to Okorocha’s government in October 2015, was reportedly diverted or outrightly stolen, many Imolites are insisting that the Governor institutes a probe panel with a view to recovering the entire N26.8 billion or compel him to refund or repay the debt.

Among prominent sons of the state who have added voice to the appeal and entreaties that Ihedioha does the needful is Kingdom Okere, of Kingdom Heritage Foundation/Human Rights Organization, who was the lawyer that secured bail for one of the police orderlies attached to Uche Nwosu, but who was arrested, detained for 27 days and accused of aiding the escape of Uche Nwosu’s cook, Henry, that allegedly eloped with the part of bailout fund.

He recalled that he was nearly assassinated by goons and hired killers, sponsored by Uche Nwosu, because he was very vocal in exposing the reasons behind his clients arrest and detention without trial for over three weeks.

According to him, from next month, the Federal government will begin to deduct the bailout fund granted to states in 2015 at source from the federation account allocation.

There said, “The fund was for the payment of salaries and pension to Imo workers. But Rochas Okorocha and his son in-law diverted the money, paid Imo workers 70 percent salaries and left pensioners to die for rendering service to our state. Now that Imo people will suffer double jeopardy as the money will be deducted from Imo allocations, should we leave Rochas and his son-inlaw go free?

In 2015 Rochas Okorocha collected billions in name of bailout fund from the federal government for the payment of salaries and pension. Okorocha diverted the money for his family use by setting up bailout fund implementation committee.

He made Uche Nwosu his son in-law and chief of staff the chairman of the unnecessary committee. Uche Nwosu simply on the instructions of Rochas changed the money to dollars and handed part of it back to his father in-law and part of it was stolen by his cook who ran away with millions of dollars. This was published in the Community Watchdog Newspaper and one of the police men on duty in his house Gift Nwokoro, was arrested and detained.

It took my intervention for him to be released. Thereafter I went to various newspapers in Imo state and confirmed to them that actually our money was stolen from Uche Nwosu’s house. When the story was published, Uche Nwosu sent assassins to my house. That was how I left Owerri to base in Abuja. Now that the federal government will start deducting the bailout fund from next month from Imo federal allocation, should we leave Uche Nwosu and his father in-law go free?”, he queried.