Abia Governor Otti Wastes N13 Billion On Vehicles While Borrowing To Fund Budget

Abia State Governor Alex Otti has come under fire for proposing to spend a whopping N13 billion on the purchase of various vehicles in 2024, according to a copy of the state’s 2024 approved budget obtained by SaharaReporters.

The budget, which was signed by Otti on December 28, 2023, at his private residence in Nvosi, Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area, has a total sum of N567.2 billion. Otti claimed that the budget would stimulate the economy and boost the socio-economic development of Abia. He said the budget was aimed at taking Abia out of underdevelopment, securing its next level of development and promoting economic stability in the state.

However, a closer look at the budget revealed that N5.9 billion was allocated for the purchase of motor vehicles, N2.7 billion for the purchase of vans, N949 million for the purchase of trucks and N3 billion for the purchase of buses. This is in addition to the N105 million earmarked for the purchase of motorcycles and bikes.

The budget also showed that the Governor’s Office alone would spend N1.8 billion on motor vehicles, N412 million on motor vans, N712 million on two Nissan trucks and N1 billion on brand-new buses. Other ministries, departments and agencies also budgeted billions of naira for the same purpose. Some of the vehicle brands to be bought include Toyota, Nissan and Innoson.

The extravagant spending on vehicles is even more outrageous considering that the state is borrowing to finance over 70 percent of the N567.2 billion budget for 2024. The budget has a deficit of around N400 billion, which the state said would be covered by local and external borrowings.

The state’s revenue for 2024 in the budget was estimated at N166 billion, which would be generated through grants from multilateral organisations, Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), allocation from the Nigerian government and other income sources.

This is not the first time that Otti has been accused of wasting public funds on frivolous items. In 2023, SaharaReporters reported how Otti spent a staggering N927 million within three months on refreshments/meals, honorarium, allowances and welfare packages for his cronies.

About N737.9 million was also spent to buy motor vehicles within this period, without specifying the quantity and the beneficiaries of the vehicles.

According to a copy of the state budget performance obtained by the newspaper, the governor spent N223.4 million on refreshments/meals, N305.4 million on honorarium and sitting allowance for government officials and N397.5 million on welfare packages between July and September 2023.

The Abia government also spent N362.8 million on trucks and N400.9 million on buses. The Deputy Governor’s office also gulped N252.4 million in three months.

Meanwhile, the government only spent N25 million on the repair of public schools in the state, despite the fact that many public primary and secondary schools in the state are in a deplorable condition.

According to multiple reports online, most public school buildings and facilities across the 17 local government areas of the state have deteriorated and decayed due to the government’s negligence. Many school buildings are dilapidated with leaking roofs, broken furniture, doors and windows.

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