Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has suspended the State Commissioner for Finance, Dr Fred Kpakol and the State Accountant General, Sir Abere Dagogo.
A statement by Simeon Nwakaudu, Special Assistant to the Governor on Electronic Media, said the suspension takes immediate effect.
Two days ago Kpakol shocked the civil servants in the state when directed that all Rivers State Civil Servants must present their Bank Verification Number, BVN, before their salaries would be paid from the month of February.
Kpakol, who may not have gotten the approval of the Governor before making the pronouncement, tried to clarify that the new policy was not vindictive but aimed at correcting anomalies in the State Civil Service.
He made the clarification that the aim of insisting that without BVN there would be no salary for any civil servant in Rivers state is fish out those whose names are still in salary vouchers but may have long left the service.
He made this known in a meeting he held with heads of parastatals and agencies.
He said: “We will pay salaries to only authenticated staff in the state workforce. You must give accurate information about your details as any information found not to be correct would be sent to the EFCC for prosecution.”
He also emphasized that civil servants will only be paid February salary on presentation of Bank Verification Number (BVN).
Kpakol also said the fall in crude oil prices has plunged federal allocation to the lowest ever experienced in the state.
Observers are of the opinion that the Governor may have been miffed by the decision of both the Commissioner of Finance and the Accountant-General to rattle the civil servants on the eve of an election in the state, saying this was an embarrassing political miscalculation.
Wike had accused some top officials of his government, especially those in his cabinet, of disloyalty before January 27 victory at the Supreme.
It is not clear if Dr. Fred Kpakol and the Accountant General fall into that category.