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Politics

Your Statement On Benue’s Debt, Revenue Is False And Misleading – Ortom To Alia

ORTOM AND HYACINTH

A former governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, has asked his successor, Hyacinth Alia to provide proof on his claims about the finances of the state, including incomes, wage bill and debts.

Ortom accused Alia of embarking on embellishments and shocking fabrications.

Speaking via a statement by his media aide, Terver Akase, Ortom wondered why Alia was embarking on a smear campaign against his administration.

He noted that the governor made his allegations without backing them with figures.

The statement read, “We read an interview granted by the Governor of Benue State, Hyacinth Alia which was published in Vanguard newspaper titled ‘Father Alia’s shocking revelations: In Benue, we had more ghost schools, workers than real ones’

“In the said interview, the Governor was quoted to have stated that the government of his predecessor, Chief Samuel Ortom left arrears of salaries running into hundreds of billions of naira; “I have not been able to offset the arrears. It is in hundreds of billions of naira, I can not take care of that now…”

“Governor Alia was also quoted to have claimed that he inherited “more ghost schools than the existing functional schools”.

“We find the above statements not only false and misleading but also wonder why the Governor would embark on embellishments and shocking fabrications to sustain such a narrative, in continuation of his smear campaign against his predecessor.

“Interestingly, Governor Alia made the allegations without substantiating any of his claims with figures.

“It is simplistic to state that the present government inherited arrears of wages in hundreds of billions. The question is; what is the overall wage bill of the state if the arrears of workers’ emoluments run into hundreds of billions?

“Does Governor Alia want the people to believe that his predecessor did not pay salaries even for one month in eight years?

“It is on record that in his 2024 budget speech, Governor Alia said his government would spend the total of N56.4 billion for the year on personnel cost (salaries, pensions and gratuities). He also admitted in the same budget speech that in the 2024 fiscal year, “Personnel cost as a component of the recurrent cost is expected to increase by 17.1% as against the provisions made of the same votes in the Revised 2023 budget”, implying that his predecessor was also paying workers wages.”

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