Alia’s Government Debunks Allegation of 20 Billion Fraud

Mary Nnah

Hon. (Dr) Denis Akura, the Special Adviser to the Executive Governor of Benue State on the Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, has expressed utter dismay at reports in the media of venal, mischievous allegations of the missing ₦20 billion in the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, in Benue State.

In a statement made available to THISDAY, he stated,, “A faceless organisation self-styled, Global Integrity Crusade Network (GICN), which claimed that its mandate is to checkmate corruption and avail recommendations to anti-corruption agencies and the public for investigation, had in a news report tried unsuccessfully to mislead the unsuspecting members of the public with bogus fallacious claims designed to discredit and distract the Alia administration.”
In debunking GICN’s spurious allegations, Akura stated, “For the records, His Excellency Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, a very disciplined leader whose standpoint is prudent management of resources, did not direct me to monitor the diversion of over ₦20 billion federal allocation aggregated to the local governments.

Akura further stated that as of June 2023 – October 2, 2023, he was not at the helm of affairs at the bureau. Therefore, making references to him within that period only exposes the mischievous intent behind GICN’s false allegations.

Furthermore, Akura emphasised that it is on record that on the assumption of duty at the bureau, he made it clear to all its staff that he was directed by his boss to strictly adhere to the workable administrative framework designed to restructure and revamp local government administration in Benue State and return it to its lost glory.

“It is unfortunate,” he said, “that GICN’s puerile mischieve, stark ignorance on the running and management of the bureau or both completely exposes its malfeasance. In Benue State, the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs no longer controls the federal allocation or any funds of the local government areas.” He further stated that quasi financial autonomy has been granted to the local governments where their aggregated federal allocation goes directly to each of their accounts.

The Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs as mandated by Governor Alia, he stated, only supervises, monitors and coordinates the affairs of the 23 local government areas through her Directorate of Monitoring and Inspection.

“Moreover,” he added, “for transparency, the designated administrative framework has also directed all the local government area Caretaker Committee chairmen to, as a must, credit their IGR into the local government area accounts before transferring same into the expenditures account to spend on driving their policies, programmes and projects.” All these decisions, he maintained, are deliberated upon and approved in the monthly Local Government Joint Account meetings.
The same administrative framework, Hon. Akuka noted, has returned normalcy in the regular payment of local government staff salaries, imprest, pensions and gratuities; upfront payment of fresh retirees entitlements on or before 25th of every month with immediate enrollment on the pension payroll.

Hon Akuka emphasised that already the bureau has collected proposals for massive infrastructural development projects from across the state’s 23 local government areas. “And within a short time,” he said, “the chairmen will soon be given permission to prepare their local purchase orders to ignite massive infrastructural development ranging from overhaul, renovation of the local government quarters cum installation of street lights, and opening of ruler access roads to better the lives of ruler dwellers in Benue State.

Further to that, Hon. Akuka stated that the management of the bureau does not have the mandate to share palliatives or Christmas relief materials as alleged in a section of the media.

Decrying GICN’s libellous pronouncements, Akuka stated that hatchet jobs of this nature are to be expected, and “we are expecting more to come in the nearest future, especially now that the Alia administration’s reforms in various sectors of government continues to gather steam.
He reiterated Governor Alia’s promise and declaration that Benue people deserve to know what happens with their money.

“Therefore,” he said, “we are not afraid of any petition and we shall not hesitate to reply to any. We have nothing to hide”, he added.

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