Amidst criticisms that Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State had performed abysmally poor in terms of projects since he assumed office, the governor said no external force could stop him from achieving his second mandate in 2019 if God destined it to be so.
“If God Almighty wants me to be governor of Benue State in 2019, nobody will stop it. I know what my administration has done so far since it came on board despite the challenges, and people should not threaten me with 2019, it is God that ordains leaders,” Ortom said.
The governor, who spoke at Government House, Makurdi, last Tuesday while receiving the report of the administrative commission of enquiry on the sale/lease of government assets between 2007 and 2015, said he was being threatened in some quarters with the issue of 2019 but said since he had four solid years on ground within which to deliver dividends of democracy to the people of the state, the issue of 2019 for now was a distraction to him.
He said he was not moved by empty threats, explaining that he would learn to cross the bridge when he gets to it.
The governor disclosed that the state had saved over N2.8 billion from ghost workers through staff verification, explaining that the sum of N1.2 billion was saved from the state while N1.6 billion was saved from the local governments.
“About N1.2 billion was saved from the N12.5 billion bailout funds to the state while N1.6 billion was saved from the N15.5 bailout funds accruing to the local government areas. The N2. 8 billion that was saved has been injected into the treasury because it is a loan that must be paid back,” Ortom stated.
He lamented the issue of fake names that were discovered to have been included on the payment vouchers during the verification exercise before payment of the bailout funds to workers, vowing that those found culpable would be handed over to the police for prosecution.
“We discovered that fake names were included on pay vouchers. Those people will be handed to security agencies for prosecution. We set up two committees for those who have issues with payment of bailout funds for them to come out for clarification but up till now, we are not seeing anybody. Why are those people not going to the committees? Many of them go to business centre and print employment letter,” he said.
The governor commended the Barr. Moses Ataegh-led committee for working hard to submit the report within stipulated time-frame, assuring that government would act on it quickly by setting up a white paper committee that would advise on the next line of action.

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