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Monday, April 15, 2024

Allegations Of N20bn Fraud In Benue, A Gross Fiction And Baseless



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We read in a section of the media with utter dismay, venal and mischievous allegations of missing ₦20bn in the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, in Benue State.

In the news story, “Global Integrity Crusade Network”(GICN) who claimed that their mandate is to checkmate corruption and avail recommendations to Anti-corruption Agencies and the public domain for investigation, tried unsuccessfully to mislead the unsuspecting members of the public with glorious fallacy.

For the records, His Excellency Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, a very disciplined leader whose standpoint is prudent management of resources did not direct the Special Adviser to the Governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Dr Denis Akura, to monitor the diversion of over 20billion federal allocation aggregated to the local governments.

Again, as at June 2023 – 2nd October 2023 Dr. Denis Akura was not at the helm of affairs at the Bureau. Therefore, making references to him within the period only exposes GICN’s main intention for the petition.

Furthermore, it is on record that on the assumption of duty at the Bureau, Dr Akura made it clear to all staff at the Bureau that he was directed by his boss to strictly adhere to the ‘workable administrative framework designed to restructure, revamp cum return the lost glory at the local government administration in Benue State.

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It is unfortunate that GICN completely exposed itself once more of the mischievous or stark ignorance or both on the running and management of the Bureau. In Benue State, the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs no longer controls the federal allocation or any funds of the local government areas. A quasi financial autonomy has been granted to the local governments where the aggregated federal allocation of the local government goes directly to each and every local government area’s Accounts.

The Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs as mandated by Governor Alia, only supervise, monitor and coordinate the affairs of the 23 local government areas through her Directorate of Monitoring and Inspection.

Moreover, for transparency, the designated administrative framework has also directed all the local government area Caretaker Committee Chairmen to as a must, be crediting their IGR into the local government area Accounts before transferring into the expenditures account to spend on the local government policies, Programmes and projects. All these decisions are deliberated and approved in the monthly Local Government Joint Account meetings.

The Same administrative framework has returned normalcy in the regular payment of local government salaries, imprest, pensions and gratuities; upfront payment of fresh retirees entitlements on or before 25th of every month with immediate enrollment on the pension payroll.

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Already, proposals of massive infrastructural development are collected by the Bureau across the 23 Local Government areas by the management of the Bureau. And within a short time, the Chairmen will soon be given permission to prepare their local purchase orders to ignite massive infrastructural development ranging from overhaul renovation of the local government Quarters cum installation of street lights, and opening of ruler access roads to better the lives of ruler dwellers in Benue State.

The management of the Bureau does not have the mandate to share palliatives nor Christmas relief materials as alleged in a section of the media.

Finally, hatchet jobs of this nature are to be expected, and we are expecting more to come in the nearest future, especially now that the reforms in various sectors of government by the Alia administration continues to gather steam.

Governor Alia promised and declared that Benue people deserve to know what happens with their money. Therefore, we are not afraid of any petition and we shall not hesitate to reply to any. We have nothing to hide.

Hon. Dr. Denis Akura
Special Adviser to the Governor of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.

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