* Confirms N397m for entire State
The Abia State government has denied spending over N900 million on the feeding and welfare of Governor Alex Otti from July to September 2023.
There were reports earlier that a budget performance report indicated that the government spent N927 million within three months on refreshments and meals, allowance, settlement of honorarium and welfare packages.
It was alleged that the Otti-led government spent N223,389,889.84 on refreshments and meals while N305,400,000.00 was spent on honorarium and sitting allowances for government officials in July and September 2023.
As a result, some Nigerians took to social media, wondering how such amounts of money could have been spent within a period of three months, in view of current economic realities.
However, Ferdinand Ekeoma and Kazie Uko, both media aides to the governor, described the reports as false.
“The total amount spent so far by the entire government of Abia State for Refreshments and Meals for the period is N223,389,889.84,” they said through a statement.
“The figure above is as captured in all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government. Please, note that this figure is for the entire State and not for the Office of the Governor, as being erroneously portrayed.
“The stated figure covers expenses for special events, such as retreats, conferences, and related events. For welfare, the Abia State government has so far spent the sum of N397,520,734.84.
“The welfare expenditure is in line with the State Fiscal, Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Programme (SFTAS); an initiative of the Federal Government.
“Also note that the Welfare Expenditure covers all the Ministries’ Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and not just the Governor’s Office, as wrongly alleged.
“Expenses under Welfare deal with issues of Health, Rehabilitation and Public Emergencies. The Abia State Government, under the leadership of Dr. Alex C. Otti, will continue to uphold transparency in governance, as has been demonstrated in the publication of the budget performance report for two consecutive quarters.”