‘We’ll take punitive measures against Borno absentee council chairmen, others’ says Zulum

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Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno states; is to take punitive measures against absentee council chairmen and for abandoning their areas and people.

According to him, the abandoned six councils include Bama, Gwoza, Chibok, Damboa, Konduga and Askira/Uba.

Zulum announced the punitive measures Thursday, while he paid two-day unscheduled visits to abandoned Local Government Areas.

He noted that this was despite of the easing of coronavirus (COVID-19) three-week lockdown for people move to their respective councils.

β€œThis administration cannot allow β€˜council chairmen absenteeism’ to continue with the abandonment of their respective Local Government Areas,” he said, noting that this is despite of easing the lockdown across the state.

While lamenting the state of secretariat complexes at Bama and Konduga; he said: β€œNone of the heads of council departments is around during today’s visit.

β€œNeither the council secretary nor other principal officers are reporting to their duty posts β€œLook at the secretariat, there are termites all over the rebuilt,” he
said; stating that it is an indication that nobody is operating from the council secretariat complex.

After taking roll calls of absentee council chairmen and their secretaries, their emirs were, however; present during the visit, but none of the emirate council officials were present during the governor’s visits.

Piqued by absentee six chairmen, he said: β€œWe came from Maiduguri to determine the presence of senior public servants at their places of work.

β€œWe have been pleading with them for some time to be operating from these Local Government Areas so that citizens will feel the impact of governance at the grassroots.” noting that, but from all indication, many are not listening.

Continued; β€œWe will take punitive measures because we cannot allow this system to continue like this and after rebuilding the destroyed houses and secretariat complexes.”

In the six abandoned Local Government Areas, Zulum visited council secretariats and took a roll call of absentee secretaries, heads of department, directors and other ranking officials.

He however did not announce the β€œnature and type of punishment” to be meted out to absentee council chairmen and other officials.

Senior council officials, including some secretaries who currently oversee affairs, were conspicuously absent; as the secretariats were empty when Governor Babagana undertook he surprised tour of six councils.

According to him, the six councils are located in Borno Central and South senatorial districts.

He said the unscheduled visits, were to monitor the quality of governance at the grassroots.

β€œThe two-day visits of Local Government Areas were to enable me effectively assess ongoing projects in the two senatorial districts,” he said.

Last two weeks the Governor directed top government officials and senior civil servants to report to work after easing its lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

He said even before outbreak COVID-19, senior council officials in the state are notorious for abandoning their local governments to operate in Maiduguri.

According to him; the officials only to return their council areas a few days when the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) are collected, or when they know the Governor is heading to their respective councils.

The two-day councils’ visits were a surprise; because Zulum’s security details thought he was not travelling far from Maiduguri during the Ramadan fast and with Sallah around the corner.

While conducting the roll calls, he inspected projects being carried out by the state government in Konduga, Bama and Gwoza.

At the three council headquarters, top council officials were conspicuously absent.

He said that even recently commissioned secretariat complex in Gwoza, was, however, under lock without the presence of any council official.

According to him, the emirs of Bama, Gwoza, Uba, and Askira emirate councils; were all present at their respective palaces during the visit.

At the emir of Bama’s place, the governor also announced that any house in Bama not occupied in two weeks will be temporarily allocated to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

He said the IDPs will continue to occupy the houses until owners are ready to relocate from Maiduguri to Bama to occupy their rebuilt houses.

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