Presiding Bishop of the Sword of the Spirit Ministries, Dr. Wale Oke, yesterday charged state governments across the country to take conscious steps to stamp out corruption and improve the standard of living in their domain.He gave the admonition in Ibadan while reacting to the decision of the Federal Government to release the sum of N90bn loan to states to defray the huge backlog of unpaid workers’ salaries in various states. It will be recalled that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, had also in July 2015 released about N250bn special intervention fund in the form of soft loans to the affected states to enable them pay backlog of salaries.
Oke, while addressing journalists, said it was sad that workers were passing through tough time at the moment, stating that the Federal Government’s efforts at alleviating the suffering of the citizenry should not be taken for granted nor allowed to waste. He said, “We thank the Federal Government for what it is doing; it is initiating various reforms. Among these are the school feeding programme, payment of people who have no job in the form of social security and more.
It is unfortunate that it is at this time that the price of oil has gone down in the international market. The value of naira has also fallen. “My counsel to the state governments are three: they should make sure that the loan is judiciously used in taking care of salaries of state officials that are owed and embark on infrastructural development. We should fight corruption. They must ensure the money does not end up in the pockets of politicians. It should be used to actually address the situation on ground in the states.”
He also urged state governments to look inward to increase their Internally Generated Revenue so they would be less dependent on the Federal Government.
“During the time of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the regions weren’t collecting money from the centre and they were moving. The North was making use of revenue from groundnut pyramid, the West was making use of money from cocoa and the East made money from rubber and palm kerne
The state government should stop depending on the centre. Let them look inward and develop the agricultural, industrial and mining sectors.