Nigerian Concord Newspaper
Not satisfied with the explanation of the governor of Benue state, Father Hyacinth Alia about the disbursement of the federal government palliatives made available to the state, the state chapter of the People’s Democratic Party has challenged the governor to explain how the packages were disbursed.
This was contained in a press statement signed by Bemgba Iortyom, the state Publicity Secretary of the party.
The statement reads:
Benue State Governor, Hyacinth Alia, was in Aso Rock Villa, Abuja a couple of days back to brief President Ahmed Tinubu on the state of affairs in Benue State, and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, as a partner for development commends the governor for the step as one in the right direction.
PDP is aware that such interactions with the president usually provide an opportunity for a governor to place the facts of the situation in his state on the table with the aim of bolstering the federal government partnership for good governance delivery to his people.
On this particular visit, Governor Alia made it known that he had briefed Mr. President on the subsidy removal palliative intervention by the federal government, security, debts, salaries, pensions and gratuities, his 100 days performance score card, as well as ranching of livestock in the state.
The claims made by the governor before the president were quite fantastic and painted a very rosy picture of the situation in Benue, such that it becomes necessary for us as an opposition to link those claims to facts on ground to satisfy the need for both the Alia government and the people it serves to be on the same page in this regard.
Owing to the volume of the content of the governor’s briefing to Aso Rock, PDP elects to take the fact-check on an item-per-day basis till they are exhausted, beginning today with the subsidy removal palliatives.
According to Governor Alia, the palliative package released by Mr. President to Benue was quite handy and a big relief, coming in time to supplement the hardship being felt by farmers, market women and others as a result of the flooding which ravaged the state in 2022 and wiped out most of the farmlands.
He said further that the package geared up his government to do more for the people in the current planting season as inputs were supplied to farmers as part of the palliatives package, and the government also assisted parents to take care of payment of tuition of their children in schools, and for those who are to do their NECO and WAEC the state government is taking care of the bills for registration, especially those in the government approved public schools.
However, PDP recalls that it was after its persistent calls for the governor to break his silence and make known the fate of Benue’s share of the palliative package, that he, on 23rd August, 22023 announced being in receipt of N2 billion out of the N5 billion package from the federal government and had enumerated what he deemed a cross-sectoral expenditure from it to cover procurement of buses for ease of public transportation, payment of registration fees for students in secondary schools sitting for the 2023/2024 session NECO and WAEC examinations.
He had also revealed that 5,000 women would receive grants through cooperative efforts, while 2,000 youths would undergo training in six different ICT programs to equip them with relevant skills for the modern job market, a portion of the funds would be used to provide one month’s worth of pension payments to state and local government pensioners, even as he confirmed being in receipt of five trucks carrying a total of 3,000 bags of rice, from which he said each of the 23 local government areas of the state would receive 100 bags.
But since then Governor Alia has not made known to the public if he has received the balance of N3 billion which as at August 23, he had said was in the process of being released to his government, neither has the governor briefed the people on the details of the expenditure made from the package so far.
When was the Benue palliative package so efficiently disbursed by the Alia government as he told the president, what are the details of expenditure, who are the identifiable beneficiaries of those measures claimed before Mr. President at Aso Rock?
PDP calls Governor Alia to make known details of his expenditure of the palliative package to Benue State as it represents both a loan and a grant which are both public resources over which he owes the people a duty of accountability and transparency.