The Bayelsa State Government has approved for payment the backlog of allowances owed former councilors popularly known as Restoration Councillors who served the various local councils from 2013 to 2016.
To this end, government has directed the chairmen of the eight local government councils to commence payment of the arrears on instalment basis not later than August this year.
The State Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, gave the directive at a meeting with the local government chairmen and representatives of the Restoration Councillors’ Forum in Government House, Yenagoa.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo said after careful consideration of the current financial position of the various councils, government and the Mrs Ebiere Igodo Adeh-led Committee jointly agreed on the payment of a monthly installment of N100,000 to each of the former councilors
He, however, noted that this amount, which is also endorsed by the council chairmen, would be increased to N200,000 any month the councils receive improved allocations in order to shorten the repayment period.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo, who faulted some of the monetary claims presented by the councillors, noted that slight adjustments were made as available records reveal that some of them had received overpayments before leaving office.
His words: “We have agreed that we start the payment with N100,000 to each councilor for each month, because of the resources available to the councils.”
“We have gone through the records. The first thing we want to correct is the amount some of you declared as outstanding allowance. We discovered that what some of you declared was not the right amount, so that has been adjusted.
“For the councillors, what is being owed each of you is N2.2 million as against the N2.280 million which you presented in your report. Again some of the figures you claimed that you had been paid in some of the LGAs showed that some of you were overpaid
“For example, in Southern Ijaw Local Government, you claimed that you were paid N150 thousand, but the records showed that you were paid N250 thousand at a time. So the amounts have been reviewed.
“The total amount owed by Brass is N11.7m as against the N12.7m you presented. For Ekeremor, the amount was reviewed from N25.8m to N24.8m; while that of Kolokuma/Opokuma from N23.7m to N22.7m and that of Nembe from N17.8m to N16.4m.
“The figure for Ogbia was reviewed from N27.9m to N26.8m; Sagbama from N28.2m to N26.9m; Southern Ijaw from N36.5m to N30m, and Yenagoa from N32.2m to N30.9m.
To ensure uniformity and compliance with the mode of payment by all the councils, he assured the former councillors that the payments would be tied to the monthly Joint Account Allocations Committee (JAAC) approvals.
While expressing gratitude to the ex-lawmakers for their patience and maturity, the Deputy Governor urged them to forward their bank account details to their respective councils for e-payment of the agreed monthly installments.
According to the Deputy Governor, “What we want to do is that, we want to factor this into the monthly JAAC of the local government councils. That means as they are paying the JAAC money, you will also get your alerts.
“So, every one of you should send your bank account details to the chairmen of the councils for the payment to commence from either this month (July) or latest August.”
Responding on behalf of the Restoration Councillors’ Forum, Hon. Believe Ezekiel, thanked to the Governor Douye Diri-led Prosperity Government and the council chairmen for their prompt response and show of understanding towards their plight.
The Forum particularly appreciated the Deputy Governor for his fatherly disposition and pledged their continued support to the present administration.