MAIDUGURI, North-East, Nigeria – Senior officials, including some secretaries who currently oversee affairs, were conspicuously absent with secretariats mostly empty when Governor Babagana Zulum undertook surprise tour of six Local Government Areas in southern and central Borno to monitor quality of governance at the grassroots and also assess ongoing projects.
With no one guessing his destination, the Governor departed Maiduguri on Wednesday for Chibok, Bama, Gwoza, Damboa, Konduga and Askira-Uba LGAs where he passed the night before heading back on Thursday evening.
The State Government had two weeks ago, directed top government officials and senior civil servants to report to work after easing the lockdown to prevent spread of coronavirus.
Prior to Covid-19 outbreak, senior officials at LGAs are said to have abandoned their Councils to operate from Maiduguri, the state capital, only to return few days when FAAC allocations are received, or when the Governor is heading there.
Zulum took the clever officials by surprised as not even his security details were aware he was travelling out of the state capital not with Sallah around the corner.
“None of the heads of departments is around, neither the Secretary nor other principal officers are 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 ascertain the presence of senior public servants at their places of work. We have been pleading with them for quite sometimes, to be operating from these LGAs 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.
The Governor had in each of the six LGAs visited council Secretariats and took roll call of absentee secretaries, heads of departments, directors and other ranking officials; and however did not announce punishment yet.
The Borno helmsman inspected ongoing projects by the State Government in Konduga, Bama and Gwoza. In the three places, ranking officials were mostly not on ground. Gwoza’s new Secretariat, commissioned few months ago was under lock and key.
While in Askira town headquarters of Askira-Uba LGA, where he passed the night, Zulum moved to Chibok and Damboa towns the next day to inspect about 16 projects at various levels of completion for the two day across the six LGAs.
Meanwhile, Emirs of Bama, Gwoza, Uba, and Askira Emirate Councils were on ground during the Governor’s impromptu visits to their palaces.
In his remarks at Emir of Bama’s palace, Zulum announced temporary allocation of houses not occupied within 2 weeks in the area to IDPs pending when the owners are ready to occupy them.