AHMED MARI, Maiduguri
Senior local government officials in Borno State were absent when Governor Babagana Umara Zulum paid surprise visits to Konduga, Bama, Gwoza, Askira/uba, Chibok and Damboa local government to ensure the restoration of civil authorities.
The Senior council officials including some secretaries who currently oversee affairs of their councils, directors and head of departments, were absent and secretariats mostly empty when Governor Zulum undertook two days’ surprise tour of six local government areas in central and southern parts of the state to monitor the quality of governance at the grassroots and to assess ongoing projects.
The Governor departed Maiduguri on Wednesday with no one guessing his destination, drove to straight to Konduga, Bama, Gwoza, Damboa, and Askira-Uba where he passed the night before heading back to Maiduguri on Thursday evening.
“None of the heads of department is around, neither the Secretary nor the other principal officers reporting to duty. Look at the Secretariat, termites all over; an indication that nobody is operating in the Secretariat. Government cannot allow this situation to continue. We came from Maiduguri to determine the presence of senior public servants at their places of work. We have been pleading with them for quite sometime, to be operating from these local government areas so that citizens will feel the impact of governance at the grassroots but from all indications, many are not listening. We will take punitive measures because we cannot allow this system to continue”, Zulum said at one of the LGAs.
It would be recalled that the state Government had two weeks ago, directed top government officials and senior civil servants to report to work after easing its lockdown to prevent spread of coronavirus.
Even before COVID-19 outbreak, senior officials at local government areas in Borno are notorious for abandoning their local government to operate in Maiduguri only to return there few days when FAAC allocations are received, or when they know the Governor is heading there.
Zulum took the clever officials by surprise this time because not even his security details thought he was travelling far from the state capital under the Ramadan and with Sallah around the corner.
During the visit, Governor Zulum had in each of the six local government areas, visited council secretariats and took roll call of absentee secretaries, heads of department, directors and other ranking officials.but did not announce punishment yet.
While taking roll call on Wednesday, Zulum inspected projects being carried out by the state government in Konduga, Bama and Gwoza.
In the three places, ranking officials were mostly not on ground.
Gwoza’s new secretariat, which the Governor commissioned few months ago, was even locked.
Zulum’s next destination was Askira town which is the headquarters of Askira-Uba LGA. He passed the night there.
The following day, the Governor moved to Chibok and Damboa towns. About 16 projects at various levels of completion were inspected by the Governor during his two -day across the six LGAs.
During the suptise tour of the Governor, Emirs of Bama, Gwoza, Uba, and Askira Emirate councils were all on ground. Zulum paid them homage to encourage them.
Earlier at the Shehu of Bama’s palace, the Governor Zulum, in a brief remark, announced that any house in Bama not occupied in two weeks will be temporarily allocated to IDPs pending when the owners are ready to occupy them.
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