Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson has mandated the newly sworn-in chairmen and their vice in the eight local government councils to take drastic measures in tackling issues of insecurity, payroll fraud, absenteeism and other acts of indiscipline in their areas.
Governor Dickson gave the charge shortly after their swearing-in ceremony at the Government House, Yenagoa.
He noted with serious concern that Bayelsa loses about a billion naira monthly to payroll and other fraudulent activities at the State and local government levels, stressing that necessary steps must be taken to nip the ugly situation in the bud.
The governor decried the over-bloated wage bill of the local government councils, which he noted, was responsible for their inability to meet financial obligations, especially in the payment of salaries to primary school teachers.
According to Mr. Francis Ottah Agbo, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Hon. Dickson, who identified the absence of chairmen in their domains, as part of the problem in the administration of the local government system, charged them to operate from the headquarters for the effective running of their councils.
He said, henceforth, council chairmen are expected to seek approval from the Office of the Governor through the Ministry of Local Government Administration, if they have cause to travel.
Describing their six months tenure as critical, Governor Dickson urged the chairmen to brace up for the challenges ahead, particularly as the local government elections are scheduled to take place next year.
His words: “The situation you are going to meet is not a pleasant one. Looking at the payroll against the federal allocation, it can’t carry your responsibilities, so something has to be done. You have to brace up to take steps to eliminate constant financial hemorrhage in your local government councils.
“I expect also to see loyalty and not to create division; work with your caucus leaders and other stakeholders to promote peace and unity.”
“I charge you all to observe the law of transparency briefing and I want the Commissioner for Local Government Administration to brief me on your compliance level.”
On the issue of security, Governor Dickson stressed the need for council chairmen to hold monthly security meetings, involving community leaders, youths and other stakeholders towards addressing security challenges as well as safeguard government’s facilities in their areas.
The local government caretaker committee chairmen and chairperson are Oboku Oforji for Yenagoa, Victor Isaiah-Brass, Nigeria Ebidouaghabofa-Kia-Southern Ijaw and Naomi Ogoli-Ogbia.
Others are Michael Magbisa for Sagbama, Tolu Amatu-Ekeremor, Wisdom Fafi-Kolokuma/Opokuma and Chief Inemo Beifie-Nembe.