No going back in blocking financial leakages –Dickson

Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, has vowed not go back in ensuring all financial leakages in the public service are blocked. He said despit

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Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, has vowed not go back in ensuring all financial leakages in the public service are blocked.

He said despite the criticisms by some persons with vested interest, he will keep doing the right thing in the interest of the majority of the state.

Disclosing this at a briefing in Lagos on behalf of the governor, yesterday, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Kemela Okara, said the government has succeeded in saving N3.2 billion monthly from leakages in the public sector. He said Dickson’s administration was able to achieve the feat under the reform of public service.

The SSG said the objective of the reform was to free up public resources which were, in the past, going into a few pockets at the detriment of the majority, and make the system efficient, especially to stop the bloated workforce.

He added that the idea was to ensure a public sector that is sustainable in the long term, through transparency and accountability, which will give the people value for their money.

Okara revealed that when Dickson’s administration assumed office in 2012, its monthly wage bill was N6.7 billion, but has, today, been reduced to N2.9 billion, excluding N600 million as subvention to Niger Delta University.

He, however, clarified that the government was not carrying out the reform to witch-hunt any staff as being spread in some quarters, but to rationalise staff strength by retaining only those whose services are needed.

“In cleaning the system, he said the Public Sector Reform Committee uncovered underaged, overaged and ghost workers.

“Since 2012, we have been looking at the possibility of making the public service more efficient, how we can better the civil service as well as deal with lots of issues, including bloated workforce, ghost workers, sustainable monthly wage bill and ensure people employed in various places such security, roads, schools, hospitals and housing fit into the laid down criteria,” he said.

Meanwhile, a cultist on the wanted list of the police resisted arrest yesterday at the office of the Bayelsa State Volunteers, venue of the renunciation ceremony of 500 cult members.

A witness said the cultist, who had gathered with other cultists inside the hall ready for the renunciation ceremony, got wind of some policemen attached to the anti-cultism squad in the premises with a mission to arrest him.

“He came outside with some of his fellow cultists and protested attempt to arrest him when he was ready to renounced prompting the cult members to vow that they would resist arrest of any of them who came for the renunciation ceremony,” the witness said.

He said as the cultists dared the policemen, the organisers, led by the Director General of the Bayelsa Volunteer Force, Mr. Douye Koroye, appealed for calm and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Oil and Gas Bayelsa Volunteer, Bonny Ayah, announced to the delight of the repentant cultists that the police have been ordered not to arrest anybody ready to renounce cultism.

When tension finally doused, 500 cultists renounced their membership of various cult groups

The process of renunciation was witnessed by the Leader of the House of Assembly, Peter Akpe, Ayah, Special Adviser on Scholarship, Jeremiah Owoupele, Chairman of the Peace and Conflict Resolution Committee, Igodo-Enieni Samson, Chairman of the Ijaw Youths Council (central zone), Tari Porri and the Special Adviser on Security, Boma Spero-Jack.

Koroye, who explained that the Bayelsa Volunteer with the assistance of the state government decided that the only proper way is to give youths a second chance and proper lifestyle, added that “nobody will victimise anybody as we are here to renounce cultism and do the right thing.”