EFCC should investigate Gov Alia over N44B Makurdi Flyover
The government of Benue State under Governor Hyacinth Alia recently dismantled the High Level roundabout in Makurdi and cordoned off all streets linking the roundabout under the guise that it wants to construct a flyover at the popular junction.
High Level roundabout is never known for traffic congestion. But the Alia government claims it wants to build the overpass to make the area beautiful.
What the state government has not told the people is the cost of the project and the fact that it is not captured in the 2024 budget of the state. Media reports however have it that governor Alia and his Executive Council have approved N44 billion for the construction of the High Level flyover.
As a pro-democracy and good governance group, we find it necessary to make our stand explicitly clear and demand for explanations from Governor Alia and his officials.
i) We demand that the state government should address the people on why a flyover has taken prominence over other development projects such as township roads in Makurdi which are all in dilapidated condition since Governor Alia took over. It is imperative that the government explains how the construction of the flyover aligns with the overall development priorities of the state in the face of the current economic hardship.
ii) We demand an explanation as to why a flyover is considered more urgent than the arrears of salaries and pensions of workers and retirees. As we speak, Benue State University (BSU) academic staff are on strike going into the second week. The governor has not deemed it necessary to even issue a statement on the BSU industrial action. N44 billion can effectively clear the backlog of workers salaries and pensions.
iii) We demand a detailed statement on the cost of the High Level flyover project and the name of the company handling the construction.
iv) We call on the Benue State House of Assembly to summon the Commissioner for Works to explain why the flyover project was not captured in the budget but the governor has unilaterally approved the project and released funds for its commencement.
v) Why we expect responses to the above, we urge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to beam its searchlight on the Benue State Government and investigate the N44 billion reported to be the amount that Governor Alia is set to spend on the construction of the High Level flyover.
The lack of an official disclosure of the project’s cost has given rise to doubts and suspicion in the minds of the public. The citizens have the right to know how the hard-earned tax payers’ money is being utilized, especially when such a significant amount of public funds is involved.
In the midst of numerous development challenges facing Benue State, including but not limited to healthcare, education, infrastructure, and agriculture, the Alia government must justify the urgency of the flyover project amid genuinely pressing needs.
The Alia government must uphold the principles of transparency, openness, and accountability in all its dealings, particularly when it comes to the allocation and utilization of public funds.
President, Defenders of Democracy, (DoD).