Some indigenes of Osun State yesterday stormed the National Assembly, saying people were dying of hunger and diseases after Governor Rauf Aregbesola allegedly diverted N34billion bailout fund he should have used to pay salaries of serving civil servants and retirees in the state.
The indigenes, under the aegis of Civil Societies Coalition for the Emancipation of Osun State, lamented that Aregbesola had run the state into bankruptcy and had therefore allowed innocent people to suffer.
Chairman of the coalition, Comrade Adeniyi Suleiman who led the protesters further alleged that the governor diverted the fund to his own personal account.
“We are here based on the situation in Osun State. We are here to lodge our bitter complaint for the Senate President and Speaker, House of Representatives.
“Osun State is now a state of jeopardy because Governor Rauf Aregbesola embezzled, diverted, encroached and scrutinised Osun State resources into his own personal account and had refused to pay the salary of workers and the pension of pensioners including gratuities,” he alleged.
Suleiman added: “The people are not benefiting from the dividends of democracy in Osun State. That is why we are here to protest to the National Assembly through our petition. We are calling on the EFCC, ICPC to take action. We have a lot of evidences which are contained in our petitions to the EFCC and ICPC.”
According to him, “The state received N2.4billion last month, but when the banks deducted debts from the source, the Federal Allocation and Fiscal Commission, FAAC said the state still had N24million to pay to the federation account in the month.”
Adeoye lamented that “the debt Aregbesola took on behalf of the state cannot be paid back until after 35 years.”
But in a swift reaction to the protest, the Osun Civil Societies Coalition, OCSC, described the rally as political and insincere.
OCSC in a press statement by its assistant publicity secretary, Comrade Abiodun Ibrahim, said that the rally was being sponsored by opposition party to destabilise the state.
According to him: “The chairman of the Civil Societies Coalition for the Emancipation of Osun State, Mr. Adeniyi Sulaimon, director, Media and Publicity, of the group, Mr. Seun Adeoye, Mr. Olukanni Yemi Oyedeji and other members of the group were brought by Justice Olamide Folahanmi Oloyede as witnesses at the National Judicial Council, NJC, headquarters in Abuja on Monday for her defence against the petition written to the NJC by the Osun Civil Societies Coalition, OCSC, on her petition against Aregbesola.”
He said that the president of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, had on Monday commended Governor Aregbesola for the disbursement of the bailout to offset the backlog of the salary debt.