Benue Govt Debunks Alleged Stealing Of N33BN LG Funds
From Msughshima Andrew, Makurdi
The Benue state government has debunked reports stating that the sum of N33 billion belonging to Local Government was stolen in last three years.
A statement signed by Information Officer, Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Ahangba Ayati and made available to journalists in Makurdi states that no such funds belonging to the Local Government Councils in Benue State was diverted.
The statement had read in part, “Our attention has been drawn to an online publication by “Nigerian Concord ” news portal, on the 23rd October, 2018, with the above stated caption.
“Ordinarily, we wouldn’t have bothered to react to the said publication. However, for the avoidance of doubt, and to put the records straight, we wish to state that contrary to the claim by the said publication, no funds belonging to the Local Government Councils in Benue State have been diverted by Governor Ortom or any other government official.
“The claim is a figment of the imagination of the publisher and his paymasters whose desperate aim is to smear the hard earned reputation of Governor Samuel Ortom and his administration.
The statement urged the general public to note that the Bureau of Local government and Chieftaincy Affairs carries out disbursements to Local Government Councils based on approvals by the Joint Account Allocation Committee, JAAC, which meets monthly to deliberate on such issues based on the accruals from the Federation Account.
It also said the Benue State Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs has decentralized the payment of Salaries of Workers at the third tier such that monies are sent directly to the accounts of Local Government Councils, who then effect payment of salaries of their various staff.
It further stated that the accountant of the Bureau, Mr. Emmanuel Gbagyo, has neither met in person with the publisher of the article in question, nor has he ever spoken with him and wonders how the said publisher came across such information saying except by sheer imagination and desperation to cast aspersions on the Ortom administration.
It deacribed the publisher of the article, AARE ABIODUN OLUWAROTIMI as a well known pathological liar and propagandist who is known for not only publishing falsehood about perceived enemies of his paymasters, but is also a champion of smear campaigns of calumny whose publications are mostly targeted at the Governor and Government of Benue State.
“We are aware that the said Abiodun Oluwarotimi is on the payroll of failed and expired self seeking politicians who are collaborating with enemies of the state to further inflict pain on the people of the state.
“The public should also remember that this same Aare Abiodun Oluwarotimi is a convict, who is on the list of the Police for sometime after losing a case of perjury jointly preferred against him by the Benue State Government and Governor Samuel Ortom. A Makurdi High Court, in November 2017, entered judgment against Oluwarotimi in the said suit and asked him to pay N5 million to Governor Ortom as damages.
The Benue aare government urged the general public to disregard the said publication saying “We challenge the online publisher to prove his allegations, otherwise, the Bureau will seek legal redress.
Government also reassured Chairmen of Local Governments in the State that the Bureau of Local remains committed to the discharge of its duties anchored on the principles of accountability, fairness, probity, rule of law and truth.