The Abia State Government has addressed the controversy surrounding the State Government's third-quarter spending, stating that, in contrast to the opposition's "distortions and lies," Governor Alex Otti never spent N927 million on meals and refreshments.
The Government claims that N223,389,889.84 was spent on meals and refreshments by all 76 Ministries and Departments in the state during the third quarter; the Governor's office did not spend the entire amount alone.
The government claims that the amount also includes costs for special events like conferences, retreats, and related activities.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Kazie Uko, along with his Information counterpart, Prince Okey Kanu, and Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Mr. Kingsley Anosike, expressed shock at "how members of the opposition mischievously twisted figures released by Government on the Q3 expenses to blackmail the Governor" during a joint press conference in Umuahia.
Anosike explained that what the state spent on welfare in the period under review was only N397,520,734.84 , and not the fictitious figures being bandied by harbingers of fake news.
He further noted that “the Welfare Expenditure covers all the Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and not just the Governor’s Office, as wrongly alleged.”
Continuing, he said: “Expenses under welfare, deal with issues of health, rehabilitation and public emergencies.”
Anosike asserted that the administration led by Governor Otti has been prudent in allocating the state's resources, he said, “the Welfare expenditure is in line with the State Fiscal, Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Programme (SFTAS); an initiative of the Federal Government.”
He called on the public to reject the fabricated data that the opposition is using to malign the governor.
Commissioner for Information Prince Kanu added his voice, refuting the reports that the State Q3 Budget Expenses, which were posted on the State website, had been taken down and labelling them as blatant lies.
He declared that since Otti's administration had managed state business openly and transparently and that the government had nothing to conceal, the publication didn't need to be taken down.