In response to allegations by opposition forces, the Abia State Government has refuted claims that Governor Alex Otti spent N927 million on meals and refreshments during the third quarter, News About Nigeria reports.
In a joint press conference held in Umuahia, key officials, including the Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Kingsley Anosike, the Information Commissioner, Prince Okey Kanu, and the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Kazie Uko, provided clarifications on the matter.
Contrary to the alleged extravagant spending by Gov. Otti, the officials revealed that the total amount spent by all 76 Ministries and Departments in the state on refreshments and meals for the third quarter was N223,389,889.84.
It was emphasised that this figure encompassed expenses for various events such as retreats, conferences, and related activities and was not limited to the Governor’s office alone.
Commissioner Anosike highlighted that the welfare expenditure during the period was only N397,520,734.84, covering all MDAs and not exclusive to the Governor’s office.
He clarified that welfare expenses included issues related to health, rehabilitation, and public emergencies.
Asserting that Gov. Otti’s administration adhered to transparency and accountability principles, Anosike mentioned that the Welfare expenditure aligned with the State Fiscal, Transparency, Accountability, and Sustainability Programme (SFTAS), an initiative of the Federal Government.
Commissioner Kanu debunked claims that the State Q3 Budget Expenses published on the State website had been taken down, labelling such assertions as blatant lies.
He emphasised that Otti’s administration had consistently demonstrated transparency and openness in managing state affairs.
Governor’s CPS, Mr Uko, accused election losers of distorting clear information in the Q3 Budget Expenses to mislead the public.
Urging the public to disregard the allegations and fake news, Uko assured that Gov. Otti would remain focused and undistracted by the antics of detractors.
Special Advisers to the Governor on Media & Publicity, Ferdinand Ekeoma, Monitoring and Evaluation, Ugochukwu Okorafor, and Public Communication, Dodo Okafor, also attended the press conference, reiterating the commitment of the Abia State Government to uphold transparency in governance.