Delta state commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu (middle), the chief press secretary to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Mr. Olisa Ifeajika, and the special assistant to the governor on Media, Mr. Nduka Omodon, at press conference against THE WITNESS in Government House, Asaba on Wednesday 15/7/20
In a bid to save its head, the Delta State government on Wednesday held a press conference against THE WITNESS over reports which exposed corruption in the government led by Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, after failing to get THE WITNESS to soft-pedal on its focus on alleged corrupt activities.
At the conference organized by the state commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, alongside the chief press secretary to Governor Okowa, Mr. Olisa Ifeajika, and the special assistant to the governor on Media, Mr. Nduka Omodon, the state government however confirmed THE WITNESS reports but did not address issues raised in the publications of how a contract for minor projects would set the state back by millions of naira when in reality a few millions could have done the jobs.
In a series of reports in recent weeks, THE WITNESS had exposed how Governor Okowa allocated a whopping N400 million to his daughter’s office in the 2020 budget. This was reviewed downward to N300 million after THE WITNESS‘ expose. This newspaper had also reported how another whopping sum of N43,457,922.83 was expended to repaint the VVIP guest house situated in the state’s Government House, Asaba and also how the purchase of golden spoons, towels and assorted coffee for royal fathers in the state gulped the sum of N10,750,000. Also, an inflated sum of N32, 912, 548.88 was expended on the provision of furniture and equipment for the office of Governor Okowa’s wife, Dame Edith.
This newspaper had also reported how the state governor was made to approve a whopping N53,708,000 for the orientation/induction programme for 251 ‘Peace Ambassadors’ in the state which should not have cost more than N15 million.
All these come at a time the people of Delta are grappling with poverty and inadequate infrastructures in the state.
Speaking at the conference, furious Aniagwu said: “We need to bring certain development to your notice. We have observed that there appears to be some hirelings, particularly in the social media.
“They wouldn’t deter us from this line nor are we going to be distracted by such report.
“We have observed in the last three weeks or a month that these same elements have begun to write about memos that were used for the purpose of governance in the last five years.
“Let me make it abundantly clear that the business of government and the business of private sector operation are usually run via memos because you must communicate (write) for the purpose of evidencing what you are asking the government to do, because the money has to be accounted for.
“We don’t run the government verbally.”
Aniagwu, however, failed to clarify why projects that should cost few millions were being inflated and executed at whopping sums, despite the pains Deltans go through due to the high rates of poverty, unemployment and poor infrastructural development in the ‘big heart state’.
As a watchdog of the society, THE WITNESS will continue to expose corruption no matter whose ox is gored.