In view of the increasing criticism of his frequent trips in and outside the country, the governor of Niger State, Abubakar Bello has come out for the first time to officially react to the criticism, saying that his trips were for the good of the state.
The governor who had come under attack by both opposition political parties and opponents within his party All Progressive Congress (APC) for his trips outside the state told journalists in Minna at the weekend that he could not afford to sit in one place to work for the people as he was not paid to do so.
When asked about his frequent trips he said: “I travelled a lot, but not as much as they think but that is part of my job. My job is to travel and bring activities to the state not to hide myself in the room”.
According to him, “ I have to travel to go and address issues. Sitting down in one place when I do not have money is counterproductive. And all my trips have been official apart from one, during Christmas I went on vacation.
“For example, when I have the economic council meeting, I have to travel. For the Nigeria Governors Forum, I have to go to Abuja. When I have the meeting of the Northern Governors Forum I have to travel to Kaduna or Abuja. So also is when I have security meeting in Kaduna. Sometimes we have to meet with Mr. President, I have to go” he explained.
Also speaking on recovery of money from the previous administration, he stated that he has recovered so far between N600m and N700m through the finance committees he has set up with the help of police investigating the findings of the committee.
He dispelled the speculation that he was out to shield the former governor from probe.
“However with regard to shielding the previous administration, from my assessment they are all referring to the former governor of Niger state, with regard to that or any other person; you cannot arrest, arraign and charge any person unless you have had substantial evidence.
‘‘So we are not shielding anyone. The three months we gave the committee earlier was when we had not gotten the clear picture and on daily basis we uncover unusual situations. The problem is more than anticipated” the Governor declared
Meanwhile a release signed by the chief press secretary to the Governor, Baba Ndace stated that the governor had proceeded on medical leave for some few days and had formally informed the state assembly.