The Benue State Government has reacted to a report that over N33bn funds belonging to local government areas in the state were stolen in three years.
The state described the report as malicious, misleading and fallacious.
Ahangba Ayati, Information Officer, Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, in a statement issued on Tuesday, affirmed that no funds belonging to the Local Government Councils in Benue State have been diverted by the Governor or any other government official, contrary to the claim by the said publication.
Ayati said the claim was a figment of the imagination of the publisher and his paymasters in desperate attempts to smear the hard earned reputation of Governor Samuel Ortom and his administration.
According to him, “The general public may wish 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.
“The general public may wish to also note that the Benue State Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs has decentralized the payment of Salaries of Workers at the third tier. Monies are sent directly to the accounts of Local Government Councils, who then effect payment of salaries of their various staff.
“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. He therefore wonders how the said publisher came across such information, except perhaps, by sheer imagination and desperation to cast aspersions on the Ortom administration.
“We are however not totally surprised as the publisher of the article, AARE ABIODUN OLUWAROTIMI is 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 and 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.
“We challenge the online publisher to prove his allegations, otherwise, the Bureau will seek legal redress.
“We urge the general public to disregard the said publication
“We use this opportunity to reassure Chairmen of Local Governments in Benue State and indeed the general public that the Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs remains committed to the discharge of its duties anchored on the principles of accountability, fairness, probity, rule of law and truth.”