By Amos Aar
THE BENUE State Commissioner for Finance and Budget Planning, Mr Michael Oglegba, has announced that the state government under Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia has uncovered over six hundred (600) bank accounts allegedly operated by the immediate past administration of Samuel Ortom contrary to twenty-five bank accounts the administration was shown upon assumption of office.
The commissioner who disclosed this Tuesday during an interaction with members of the correspondents’ chapel, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Makurdi, explained that the government uncovered the extra accounts from the information obtained through the Nigerian Inter Bank System.
Oglegba said Governor Alia had frozen all government accounts after taking over to enable the government understand what was on ground.
“When we came in, we asked for the accounts and bank statements and we were presented with about 25 bank accounts.
“A closer look at the Nigerian Inter Bank System showed that Benue Government has more than 600 accounts,” he revealed.
Speaking on the debt profile of the state, the commissioner said both the state and local governments have a cumulative debt of over N359 billion.
According to him, the debts owed by the state itself was in excess of N200 billion which include local and foreign debts.
“The local government areas also have their own debts, unpaid salaries, pensions, gratuities and local contractors that made up the other N150 billion.
“The Alia administration has no reason to lie about the state’s debts. We will be doing ourselves a great disservice if we say we own monies that we do not own. When we need loans, for example, who will give us?” the commissioner asked.