The Special Adviser to Taraba State Governor Darius Ishaku on Media and Publicity, Bala Dan-Abu, on Sunday said report that N2bn had been approved for the purchase of luxury vehicles for the governor, his deputy, and their wives was untrue.
He described the report that the State Executive Council approved the money as just the imagination of social media writers.”
Dan-Abu said,”We don’t want the traditional media to give credence to it.
“There is nothing to it. The story is just the imagination of the social media writers.”
But the opposition Action Alliance Party in the state described the alleged N2bn luxury vehicles as outrageous, at a time when government owed backlog of pensions and gratuities.
The AA Chairman in the state, Moses Kugba, in an interview with our correspondent, said, “Already there is outrage over the N2bn approval. The people of Taraba are not happy. Just imagine, how many schools and township roads these billions will repair in Taraba State. Imagine how much impact the N2bn will make in Taraba State University.
“The governor is entitled to official vehicles but the timing is wrong. The governor has some uncompleted projects and we expect him to complete some of these projects and not remove such a huge amount of money to buy cars.”
Efforts to get the main opposition party in the state, the All Progressives Congress, to react to the development failed as the chairman of the party in the state, Ibrahim Tukur-Elsudi, did not pick up calls made to his line or reply to a text message sent to his phone.
Also, the APC publicity Secretary in the state, Mr Aaron Arthimas, could also not be reached as his line indicated it was switched off.
But some residents of Jalingo, who spoke to our correspondent, including Lamini Ayua, Tanko Uba, Yusuf Mohammed and Livinus Agyo, also kicked against the alleged N2bn car gift.
One of the residents, Uba, told our correspondent: “I want to advise Governor Ishaku to rescind his approval on the project because the state needs such funds for better developmental activities.
“We are in a serious economic crisis as a state, the debt profile of the state is huge, salaries and pension are not paid, yet the governor (allegedly) approved such an amount of money for himself days before leaving office?
“The state cannot afford that for now. Governor Ishaku should not be self-centred. With the current situation of things, it’s greed that made the governor to (allegedly) approve such an amount of money for himself, his deputy, and their wives.”
Premium Times had reported that barely 18 days to the end of his tenure, the Taraba governor had approved N2bn for the purchase of luxury vehicles for himself, his deputy and their wives.
The online newspaper quoted a source as saying, “Governor Darius Ishaku in our last SEC meeting asked the council to approve a memo he presented for the purchase of vehicles for himself, his deputy and their wives and it was speedily approved without any argument.”
According to the report, the memo presented by the governor indicated that he would get two Toyota Land Cruiser SUVs, two escort Toyota Hilux vans, and a utility vehicle while his wife will get a Land Cruiser SUV worth N1.3bn.
The Deputy Governor, Haruna Manu, according to the memo, will receive two lower versions of Land Cruiser SUVs and one escort vehicle while his wife will get one SUV and a utility vehicle.
Checks by our correspondent revealed that the governor and his deputy have not changed the Lexus 570 SUVs they have been using since assumption of office in 2015.