Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State has disclosed that no fewer than 50 villages in five local government areas in the state have been deserted due bandits’ attacks.
The governor made the disclosure on Monday in Minna while opening a two-day training workshop for local government directors and revenue officers.
The workshop is held under the theme, “Strategies for Enhancing Internally Generated Revenue of Local Governments in Niger State.”
It was organised by the state Local Government Service Commission to explore ways of generating more revenue to tackle development challenges including security and refugee problems.
“Presently, we have over 3,000 internally displaced persons camping in Minna, aside the ones we have in local government areas. Where do we get the resources to take care of them?
“It is time we cut down on our expenditure, come together to see how we can address issues of ghost workers and those looting the state of its resources,” he said.
He warned that the government would not hesitate to do away with those who were not adding value to the system. Bello noted that the workshop was coming at a time when nations and the country were witnessing drastic fall in revenue earnings because of the COVID-19 and insecurity.
According to him, the present revenue being generated cannot sustain the state’s developmental aspirations.
He therefore said the government must work within the law to augment the dwindling revenue collection to finance its activities. Bello stressed that the state would no longer continue to borrow, just to survive.
The governor particularly said that the government would not sustain the situation in most local governments who cannot survive without augmentation from others because of ghost workers.
He advised the participants to pay attention and contribute to developing strategies of enhancing IGR at local government levels.
Earlier, Alhaji Mohammed Dabban, Chairman of the Commission, said there was increased pressure for government officials to be accountable in management of finances. He called on participants to learn from the vast experience of the resource persons to improve revenue collection and their performance.
In his welcome address, Mr Nuhu Ngaski, Permanent Secretary of the commission said the workshop was to expose the participants to the revenue profile of each local government council in the state.
Malam Haruna Yahaya, a resource person, said the workshop was to ascertain the revenue profile of local councils and develop comprehensive strategies to enhance generation. He said that the objective was also to promote transparency and accountability.