In Benue State, Governor Hyacinth Alia has accused former governor Samuel Ortom of having 600 bank accounts but disclosing only 25 in his handover notes.
Dailystand.ng gathered that this was revealed during a meeting with members of the State Correspondents’ Chapel, Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), at the office of the Commissioner for Finance and Budget Planning, Michael Oglegba, in Makurdi, the state capital, on Tuesday.
The finance commissioner disclosed that this discovery prompted Governor Hyacinth Alia to freeze all government accounts upon assuming office on May 29.
He emphasized that when Governor Alia assumed office, he was presented with information on only 25 accounts. However, data from the Nigerian Inter-Bank System revealed that the state actually had more than 600 accounts.
He said: “When we came in, we asked for the accounts and bank statements, and we were presented with about 25 bank accounts. A casual look at the Nigerian Inter-Bank System showed that the Benue Government had more than 600 accounts.
“So the Governor needed to freeze those accounts to know exactly what was happening.”
While discussing the state’s debt profile, Oglegba stressed that the Alia administration inherited a significant debt of over N359 billion from the Ortom administration, which included the debt of local government arrears.
In his words, “The debts owed by the state itself were in excess of N200bn. This includes local and foreign debts. However, the LGAs also have their own debts, unpaid salaries, pensions, gratuities and local contractors that made up the other N150bn.