– Governor Wike has alleged that the federal government underpaid Rivers state in the first tranche of Paris Club refund – Wike says that while other states got 25 per cent refund, Rivers state got 11.5 percent Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state has cried out that the federal government underpaid his state in the first tranche of Paris Club refund to states. This comes even as the governor dismissed insinuations that the state squandered what it got from the first tranche of refunds to states.
Speaking in an interview with This Day, Wike said that while other states got 25 per cent refund as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari in the first tranche, Rivers State alongside Akwa Ibom and Delta states got only 11.5 per cent.
According to him, the state did not get what other states got in the refund but spent what it got judiciously and would wish anybody to crosscheck. He said: “I have to say this for purpose of emphasis and for people to understand. Rivers state is one of the states that is not liked by the federal government and so I would want to, for purposes of clarity that if anybody wants, they should tell Rivers state to come and say what we did with our Paris Club refund even though we were not refunded 25 per cent as approved Mr. President.
“Rivers state, Akwa Ibom and Delta states were given 11.5 per cent of the money; other states were given 25 per cent of the money. For record purposes let the world hear. Is it because we are peace loving people, we will always believe we are one Nigeria, we want to work together?
“But even at that, the share of what we were given, were shared to local governments and I have directed the local governments that any of them that owes must use that money to pay salaries which they are doing.
” He disagreed with allegations that most state governors mismanaged the first tranche of the Paris Club refund. He stated: “First of all I will disagree with you when you say most state governors. I don’t know the state governors you are talking about whether I am included or not. But for the avoidance of doubts let me state clearly that this country operates a federal system and that we have the state government, federal government and the local government, therefore if money is shared between the federal government and the state government, therefore it is the responsibility of the federal government to use their funds on what agenda they want; so it also applies to the state government. That on itself does not mean that as state government we are not accountable to our people, we are accountable.” He stated that the state used the refund to pay salaries and pensions while the balance was used in the execution of projects.