Newcomer Thief: Cross Rivers Gov. Bassey Otu To Renovate His Office With N1 Billion

Secrets Reporters

The recent signing of the Cross River State 2024 budget into law by Governor Bassey Otu has sparked concerns following revelations of questionable allocations uncovered by SecretsReporters.

During the budget signing ceremony held in the governor’s office, Governor Otu disclosed that the N296.985 billion budget, dubbed the “People First budget,” comprised N180 billion for capital expenditure and N116 billion for recurrent expenditure. Notably, this budget exceeded the initial submission to the state House of Assembly by a staggering N96 billion, a significant increase attributed to purportedly providing enhanced financial support for persons living with disabilities.

However, SecretsReporters, through meticulous scrutiny, has unearthed alarming discrepancies within the approved budget. One such revelation pertains to the allocation designated for the rehabilitation of the Governor’s Offices, a project falling under the purview of the Housing and Urban Development sector, with an Administrative Code and Description – 011110500100 – COS Chief of Staff.

The budget document reveals a perplexing allocation of N1,000,000,000.00 for the renovation of the Governor’s Office in Calabar. This allocation raises eyebrows given that there was an ongoing renovation of the Governor’s Office since Otu assumed office in May 2023. During a media briefing on September 8, 2023, the governor publicly stated that the renovation of the Governor’s Office, along with State Liaison Offices in Abuja and Lagos, would cost between N3 billion and N5 billion.

It is perplexing, therefore, that the 2024 budget includes a hefty allocation specifically earmarked for the Governor’s Office renovation despite previous indications of substantial expenditure on the same project in the preceding year. This redundancy begs the question of fiscal responsibility and transparency in budgetary allocations, particularly when vital public resources are at stake.

Meanwhile, the 2023 revised budget amounted to N3,300,000,000.00. However, no performance data for the period from January to September 2023 was provided. The proposed budget for 2024 was N1,000,000,000.00, which was subsequently approved at the same amount.

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