Former local government chairpersons and councils in Oyo State have accused the state government of refusing to pay their outstanding salaries and other entitlements.
Representatives of the about 800 former council officials said in a statement Sunday that 26 of their members have died due to inability to afford healthcare.
In May 2021, the Supreme Court ordered the Oyo State government to pay the erstwhile council officials their outstanding emoluments.
The court said the ex-council chiefs were unlawfully sacked by Governor Seyi Makinde in May 2019, ordering payment of their salaries and allowances for the three years they ought to have served.
In partial compliance with the court order, the Oyo State government computed N4,874,889,425.60, out of which it paid N1.5 billion, leaving a balance of N3,374,889,425.60.
Similarly, the Court of Appeal upheld the outstanding judgment debt in an appeal filed by Mr Makinde in which he sought payment of the debts to the ex-officials in instalments.
Accuse Makinde, State Assembly of witch-hunt
In their statement, the representatives of the former council officials said Mr Makinde and the State House of Assembly contrived fraud allegations against them as a ploy to evade payment of the debts.
But Mr Makinde’s spokesperson, Sulaimon Olanrewaju, on Sunday, said the governor had nothing to with the parliamentary indictment of the former local government chairpersons.
“It was the State House of Assembly that investigated the alleged fraud against the former council officials,” Mr Olanrewaju told PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview.
But he declined further comments on whether Mr Makinde was aware of the plight of the judgement creditors whose members were reportedly dying owing to the government’s failure to pay their outstanding emoluments.
The statement issued by three of the affected ex-council chiefs, Ayodeji Aleshinloye, Bosun Ajuwon and Oluyinka Jesutoye, said they obtained an order to garnishee the bank accounts of the state government in a bid to recover the outstanding judgment debts.
But to truncate the recovery of the debt, the judgment creditors said, “Our attention has been drawn to a purported resolution of the Oyo State House of Assembly, wherein some of our members were purportedly indicted of fraud.”
They explained that the House of Assembly invited none concerning the purported investigation.
“However, for the benefit of the great citizens of Oyo State, we hereby state our side of the story.
“In March 2023, we caused our lawyer to garnishee the account of the state government to the tune of N3,374,889,425.60 being the outstanding indebtedness of the state government to us, as voluntarily
and solely calculated by them without any input from us.”
They said, “The allegation of fraud arose from the House of Assembly due to the fact that we caused the accounts of the state government to be lined (restricted), including the Account of the House of Assembly, which is a party to the suit.
“None of us committed any fraud, and if and when we are invited, we have what it takes to defend ourselves.
“This is just a case of witch-hunting of the leadership of the then ALGON. Out of the five Local Governments
mentioned, three are the Local Governments of the former executive members of ALGON, and they ensured that they roped in the then Chairman and Secretary.”
Decrying the plight of the former council officials, the representatives said, “As of date, we have lost 26 of our members (which include one of the people now being purportedly accused of fraud by the
House of Assembly) whose children are crying to the conscience of His Excellency for justice.”
They noted that had Mr Makinde paid their entitlements after they were illegally sacked, their deceased colleagues would have been able to attend to their health needs.
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