Meanwhile, he has denied the report.
Mr Tahav Agerzua, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and ICT, in a statement said, contrary to the report, only a sum of N2 million was expended on the exercise.
” We read a publication by the Nigerian Concord with the title “Governor Ortom lavishes N200 million on Democracy Day Celebration” which has also been circulated widely on the social media.
The report is false, mischievous as well as a concoction which has no bearing on the 2016 Democracy Day in Benue State.
” The publication also displayed a letter which it claimed emanated from the Secretary to the State Government who sent it to the Commissioner of Finance demanding the release of N200 million for the said celebration.
” That so-called letter is a fake document based on ignorance of the procedure for the disbursement of funds in the Benue State public service.
” Those conversant with the system know that requests for release of government funds have to be approved by the Governor after which they are conveyed to the Finance Commissioner by the Permanent Secretary, Government House Administration.
” A letter purportedly written directly by the Secretary to the State Government to the Finance Commissioner demanding release of funds is not tenable in the government of Benue State.
” The credibility of the letter has been further destroyed by the fact that even the SSG’s first name has been wrongly spelled as Targena instead of Targema.
” With regards to the issue at hand, the Ortom administration did not hold celebrations for the 2016 Democracy Day.
” What took place were Jumat prayers and an interdenominational church service.
” The memorandum requesting funds for the two events was raised by the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Hon Terwase Orbunde, and money was released through his office.
” The breakdown of the expenditure was as follows: Jumat prayers, N500, 000; and interdenominational church service, N1, 500, 000.00.
” When Mr. Abiodun Oluwarotimi of the Nigerian Concord sent text that he wanted me to react to a matter before he published it, I demanded to know what it was and he said I should ask the Governor to call him because it was personal.
” When I told him that I had authority to speak on the Governor’s behalf he said I should give him his number.
I requested to know the issue so that I could decide whether it was beyond my scope. When he mentioned Democracy Day expenditure I told him that the memo was raised by the Chief of Staff and connected them to speak.
” Moments after, he published his false and mischievous report and it was quickly copied and pasted on the wall of Mr. Bemgba Iortyom, the State Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party at whose instruction the report must have been written.
” We urge media practitioners and members of the public to dig into the expenditure for Democracy Celebrations of the immediate past administration and compare with our frugal handling of a similar event.
” Since assumption of office, the Ortom administration has prudently managed the meager resources available in the best interest of the people.
” We urge members of the public to dismiss and disregard the publication as the handiwork of mischief makers out to discredit the Ortom administration.” the statement read in part.
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