According to The Nation, the bribe came from the government to stop students from protesting against the indefinite closure of the school which was closed indefinitely following a strike action as a result of non-payment of salary.

Governor Yahya Bello on the other hand has since denied the allegation saying rather than do that he would have spent the money to pay the striking workers’ salaries.

The union leaders are said to be bickering over who gets the “lion’s share” of the largesse.

The cash, it was gathered, was given to the students to discredit the striking workers and to prevent a recurrence of the July 13, 2016 students’ demonstration that may embarrass the government.

The students grounded activities in Lokoja, the state capital, last year during their demonstration against the indefinite closure of the school. The protest, it was gathered, embarrassed the governor. To prevent a reoccurrence,  it was learnt that Bello secretly gave the SUG the money.

According to The Nation’s correspondent, the union’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Ogiri Emmanuel, blew the lid off the bribe scandal. He claimed that the president, Philip Omepa, was planning to corner the money. Philip reportedly received the alleged bribe on the union’s behalf.

It was gathered that after the money, Philip wanted to take half of it. But, other members objected, alleging that Philip wanted to short-change them.

Philip said: “I did not collect any money from the governor or his representatives. The problem in the union is not about the money, but about a personal score. Ogiri knows I am richer than him, even as an undergraduate.

“I can feed myself without SUG money or any bribe from anywhere. So it is not about the money, but about the threats he made that he would make my administration look bad before students. If anyone has totally derailed from unionism and is using the SUG as conduit for personal enrichment, it is Ogiri.”

The PRO accused the president of financial recklessness, alleging that the Philip-led administration could not account for the N4 million remitted to the union as students’ dues by management.

Describing the bribery allegation as false, Director-General, Media and Publicity to the governor, Kingsley Fanwo, said the Bello administration remains prudent in the management of state resources. The government, Fanwo said, does not have the free money to throw around.

He said: “Rather than taking government money to bribe students for any reason, or against demonstrations as being alleged, we would keep the money and add it to what we have in the coffers to pay the striking workers, so that the students can go back to school. It is baseless and mischievous for anyone to say we bribe students not to demonstrate.”


Source: The Page


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