Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi on Monday disclosed that over 100 trucks belonging to illegal miners, carted away essential mineral resources owned by the state on a daily basis without due process.
This is even as the governor pointed out that Ebonyi State remained the lowest in terms of internallly-generated revenue nationwide.
The governor stated this at the Government House, Abakaliki, during the swearing-in of the newly appointed members of the Ebonyi State Board of Internal Revenue.
According to him, the members were expected to shore up the lean revenue base of the state, adding that the board should work in synergy with other agencies of government to ensure it achieved its mandate.
“What we expect you to do is to come in, clean the system, audit the system, increase the revenue by XYZ and take five per cent of the revenue to run the revenue board and take care of yourselves.
“The truth of the matter is that the lean resources of the state cannot pay the salaries and allowances of these men and women. And so, it is like a social contract. We are not doing you any favour, it is not a political appointment. We are choosing the crème of our intellectual to assist us in this nagging problem of our revenue collection. We remain the least in the entire federation and it shouldn’t be.
“The quarry alone, the lead and zinc should give us what we are looking for. So, if you focus, you will see the benefit of it,” he said.
He stressed that the board members should not see their appointment as political patronage, as according to him, they were the best among the state’s pool of intellectuals to help address the dwindling revenue base of the state.
He added, “Anybody who thinks that this is a political patronage is making a mistake because what we have in Ebonyi is that before the little monthly allocation comes from Abuja, it is already spent. So, I am appealing that this is an opportunity for us to work.
“Let me remind you that over 100 trucks of lead are being carted away from Ebonyi State on a daily basis by illegal miners. You have the right to set up committees and so, you equally have the right to stop them. We will give you three months to start, and after that, it will be on contractual basis.”
In his acceptance speech, the chairman of the board, Mike Chukwu, a chartered banker, said the trust reposed in them by the governor would not be misplaced.