Friday, February 14, 2014

Liaison offices: Of abandoned, decaying property of northern states

Seated on the famous Ahmadu Bello way in the highbrow city of Victoria Island in Lagos are many northern states Liaison offices, which  have been either abandoned or neglected by their various  State governments. The Liaison offices are under the purview of the various secretaries to the State Governments who, our correspondent gathered, have been starved of funds despite money allocated every year in the states budget for the maintenance of the liaison offices.

Our correspondent reported that little or no activities are taking place in those offices with workers abandoning their duties. The liaison offices visited include that of Adamawa, Kaduna, Bauchi, Gombe, Yobe, Nasarawa and Taraba states. Peoples Daily Weekend gathered that they have been underfunded or not at all in the last three years.

An official who spoke on condition of anonymity at the Adamawa Liaison office said the office had not received imprest to run its activities in the last two years.

The official who our correspondent met  while they were playing games with other workers, said the state government is aware of the bad state of its Liaison office and had promised to renovate it since the last five years.

"When our governor came into office, he visited this place and he promised to renovate it but we have not seen anything.

"You know every state has its own priorities and I am sure when they remember us they would come and repair the place."

The official claimed that the office has never received the total amount budgeted and approved by their state House of Assembly.

Another official said just like most other states, the governors have abandoned the liaison offices and have allegedly diverted money meant for maintenancefor their personal use.

"We know what is provided for us in the state budget every year, but we don't see the money? Does this place look like where money has been spent on in the last five years. We only get to read about the money in the papers but we don't know where they are spent.

"Our living condition in Lagos is very terrible, most of the offices you see here do not have water. We are owing PHCN bills, and you can come here during rainy season and see how our rooms are flooded due to leaking roof but the suffering becomes more painful when you know the money for renovating the place is being stolen by one big man in government."

Kaduna state Liaison office is converted to a single room apartment of a two story building shared with residential occupants, a local yam seller and a dry-cleaning service.

The building, a source said, had been leased out by the state government to a private developer.

A middle aged lady told our reporter that the State Liaison Officer has travelled to Kaduna and would return in three months.

"Please if you have any message, drop it but if you want to see our oga (sic), come back in three months time because he has travelled to Kaduna."

The lady however refused to answer to any enquiry.

Our correspondent however observed that apart from the sign post which indicates the presence of an office, the environment however looked dirty, while local trading activities took centre stage.

At Taraba Liaison office, the story is not too different. Officials refused to speak to our correspondent, but a source said the building has been neglected by the state government.

He said though political office holders from the state have abandoned the office which also houses the state governor's lodge , only a few activities take place at the building.

"Our  major problem is vehicles, because political officials do not use this place, government has abandoned it forgetting that civil servants do come here but we don't have operational cars to move around Lagos."

He said the building has not been properly maintained because the state government  " just abandoned us here."

The official said the state lodge which also doubles as the state liaison office has been receiving funding but not regularly. "We do have funding every month to take care of this place but it has not been regular. Last time we received funding  was in November last year."

Asked when last a serving governor lodged at the state house annex in Lagos, the source said  " No governor has ever slept here in recent time. The last governor that slept here was Jolly Nayme during his first tenure. Tthe governors do cite security reasons but you know most of them prefer to stay  in hotels but senior civil servants like directors, permanent   still use this place  even in its dilapidated condition"

The official was quick to note that the major work they do is to receive government officials from airport. " like recently the First Lady, Mrs Suntai who was returning from Dubia, we were on hand to receive her at the international airport and drive her to the local airport where she joined another flight going to Yola. Also, we received letters on behalf of our state government and we deliver them promptly, we also offer in formation about our state to the public."

The official denied knowledge that miscreants have taken over the building. "We have never seen any non official of our state government using this facility. It might be applicable in other states lodge but not that of Taraba."  However, Borno and Kogi states offices are currently undergoing renovation.

Residents of the area who spoke to Peoples Daily Weekend correspondent expressed concern on the influx of northerners living in most of the laision offices.

Akinwale Olarenwaju said " we always see people from the north here, most of them are homeless so they live here, if you come here in the night you will see many of them sleeping outside, Lagos State officials often come to raid them because they are  are seen as security treats."
Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

1 comment:

  1. Who I Go Ask helps provide best and quick responses to all questions of any kind ranging from Nigerian Newspaper, naija news, Boko haram, Love,Relationships,SEX,Jobs in Nigeria and many more.