The Head of Service (HoS) of Benue State, Mrs Veronica Onyeke, has debunked media reports that official activities of the Benue State government have been shutdown following the annual leave embarked upon by Governor Samuel Ortom.
Mrs Onyeke made the rebuttal yesterday in her office while reacting to reports in several national dailies that top government officials had taken advantage of the governor’s leave and abandoned their offices.
She described the story as false, misleading and mischievous as it was impossible for activities of the state government to be paralysed by the absence of the governor because his deputy, Engr Benson Abounu has been acting on his behalf and that the entire government machinery remains intact.
Mrs Onyeke stated that the machinery of government does not need the physical presence of the governor in Ministries, Departments and Agencies to operate and challenged anyone in doubt to go round and verify that full government activities are ongoing.
The Head of Service stressed that the governor is constitutionally entitled to an annual leave, and that yesterday was the first official day that the leave commenced pointing out that as such, the claim that government activities were paralysed are baseless and mischievous.
She said the reporters must be ignorant of the operations of government to claim that the physical absence of commissioners and other top government officials from their offices was confirmation that their ministries or departments were not functional and that they were not on duty.
Mrs Onyeke stated that meetings, which involved several commissioners, took place yesterday in Government House but that their Permanent Secretaries or Directors were available to attend to government business.
On the allegation that many civil servants abandoned their offices because March 2019 salaries had not been paid, she said the salaries have been paid to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and that no civil servant in the state has locked his or her office on that account.
Executive chairman of the Benue State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, Dr. Philip Tachin also refuted part of the story which quoted a teacher who claimed that primary school teachers were not paid last month.
He maintained that the salaries were paid to primary school teachers last month and that the payment for March 2019 commenced last week.
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