Benue State Government has revealed that it discovered over 600 bank accounts were operated by the immediate past administration, contrary to the 25 bank accounts they were shown when taking office.
The announcement was made by the State Commissioner for Finance and Budget Planning, Michael Oglegba, on Tuesday.
Oglegba explained that they uncovered the additional accounts through information from the Nigerian Inter Bank System.
In response, the incumbent Governor, Hyacinth Alia, decided to freeze all government accounts after taking over to gain a clearer understanding of the financial situation.
He clarified, “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 Benue Government has more than 600 accounts. So the Governor needed to freeze those accounts to know exactly what was happening.”
Oglegba also discussed the state’s debt profile, revealing that both the state and local governments have a cumulative debt of over N359 billion.
This figure includes state debts, local debts, unpaid salaries, pensions, gratuities, and local contractor payments.
Despite the extensive debts, the Alia administration has managed its financial obligations without borrowing, making several infrastructural improvements, paying salaries, and settling contractors’ dues.
He urged members of the Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists to provide objective and balanced news reports, ensuring that the government works closely with them to keep the public informed.
The previous administration had disputed the claim of N359 billion in debt, stating that the figure was inflated, and the actual debt was lower at N187.56 billion.