Plans by the defected Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, to boost his image by clearing all salary and pension arrears have crashed.
This is due to the order by the FG to withdraw the N14.9Bn already paid into Benue State accounts. The governor had set up a committee to work out how to share 80 per cent of the amount. Soon, the governor seemed to change his mind and ordered immediate disbursement without waiting for any committee.
Soon after, the FG struck. Now, Ortom has urged the people of the state to remain calm, following the decision of the Federal Government to withdraw the final tranche of Paris club refund sent to the state.
While expressing shock at the decision of the Federal Government to withdraw the funds, Govermor Ortom hopes that the decision will be reversed in the interest of the workers and retireers of the state.
Following the Governor’s directive to the state Ministry of Finance, payment of salaries, pensions and gratuities was set to commence today, only for the people to wake up with the demoralizing news of Federal Government’s recall of the funds from the state’s accounts.
We hope this latest move is not part of the ongoimg witchunt of the state. Benue people have already suffered enough impunity and attacks.
We also hope that the withdrawal order was made in error, because the said funds are not grants from the Federal Government. This was a refund of funds the Federal Government has been owing Benue over the years, so they shouldn’t make it look as though they had given the state a loan or a grant.
Governor Ortom gives assurance that the Nigerian Governor’s Forum will meet today and an official position will be taken on the matter.