Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, a former Lagos State Commissioner of Police, has criticised Benue State’s budgetary proposals for 2017, specifically declaring the N4.5 billion voted for “Government House Administration” was to “service politicians”.
Tsav told the News Agency of Nigeria in Makurdi on Sunday that voting such a huge amount for Government House administration was “outrageous”.
He said: “I have gone through the proposals. The budget has failed to address the core issues affecting the Benue people.
“The budget shows that government is more interested in addressing issues that have no direct bearing to the lives of the poor people.”
Tsav expressed surprise that a government that had not paid salaries, even after collecting bailout funds, loans and Paris Club Refund, could seek to “waste so much” on government house administration.
“From the budget details, there is no capital project that will be executed in the government house. It means that the whole money will go into entertainment,” he said.
Tsav advised government to rather pay more attention to the welfare of civil servants, pensioners and teachers, alleging that most Benue State residents were living in hunger and want because of a general lull in activities.
NAN reports that of the N4.5 billion proposed for the Government House Administration, N3.3 billion was for the Governor’s Office, while N1.2 billion was proposed for the Deputy Governor’s Office.
The figure is more than two times the N1.6 billion voted for the same purpose in the 2016 budget.
NAN also reports that an item referred to as “biological assets” had a provision of N100 million, two times its N50 million provision in the 2016.
Efforts to ascertain the category of assets termed “biological” however proved abortive as government officials also claimed to be ignorant of what was meant.
Contacted, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Lawrence Onoja, justified the budget estimates, saying that they were proposed with the “best intentions”.
“The amount proposed for the government house administration and office of the deputy governor is not outrageous. It is a proposal subject to the approval of the State House of Assembly,” Onoja explained.
He said the figure went up compared to last year’s because of government’s intention to construct a new office for the deputy governor and renovate some guest houses in the government house.