Governor Alex Otti’s food and welfare costs from July to September 2023 totaling more than N900 million have been refuted by the Abia State Government.
According to earlier reports, the government spent N927 million on meals and refreshments, payments for honoraria, welfare packages, and allowances over three months, according to a budget performance report.
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 to express their disbelief over how, given the state of the economy today, such large sums of money could have been spent in just three months.
The governor’s media assistants, Ferdinand Ekeoma and Kazie Uko, refuted the reports in a statement released on Monday.
“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,” the statement read.
“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, OFR, will continue to uphold transparency in governance, as has been demonstrated in the publication of the budget performance report for two consecutive quarters.”