Labour accuses Jigawa of alleged N200m diversion

NIGERIA Labour Congress (NLC) in Jigawa has accused the state government of allegedly diverting the N200 million loan it acquired from the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) to complete 774 houses for civil servants.

The NLC Chairman, Comrade Mohammed Kiri, told reporters yesterday in Dutse that the arrangements to convert the housing estate into a market was "a big fraud".

He said that investigations by the union showed that the government had already awarded a contract to convert the houses into a market stalls and that the contractor had started mobilising.

Kiri questioned the rationale for the granting of the FMBN loan to the government, which he said, was contrary to the regulations guiding the issuance of national housing fund to its contributors.

The chairman stated that though the state government was initially offered N100m for 100 contributors, none of the contributors whose names were used to acquire the first instalment of the loan totalling N100m was aware of it.

"It was dishonest of the government to acquire another N100 million with which to complete the 774 houses, knowing fully well that it has given out contract to convert the houses into market stalls," the chairman said.

It would be recalled that during a visit to the site of the Dutse internal broadband project early this year, the State Governor, Saminu Turaki, had said that the 774 houses would be converted into a modern market.

The chairman, however, said the NLC was made to look foolish and irresponsible after discussing exhaustively last week of a different arrangement.

Kiri said that labour as social partners in the development of the state had been made to lose face, adding that it would therefore take appropriate steps in due course on the matter.

FMBN Managing Director Kasim Bichi had at a ceremony in Dutse on May 27, presented the second batch of N100 million out of a total of N268 million loan approved for the state government.

The money was to be used for the completion of the 774 houses that the state government purchased from the Federal Housing Authority.