May 12 (THEWILL) – The Benue State Governor’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Terver Akase, has denounced what he called a ‘sponsored online post’, aimed at smearing the reputation by Governor Samuel Ortom and Benue State Assembly Speaker, Mr. Titus Uba, in which the authors of the article attempted to present the administration as one prospering solely on loans.
“While we are not bothered by the yellowish intention of those who authored the article, we find it pertinent to set the record straight for the benefit of the people of Benue, who may be misled by politically motivated publication.”
He explained that since 2015 when Samuel Ortom became Governor of Benue State, the only thing critics have desperately tried to use against him is the payment of salaries and pensions.
According to him, these critics also know that Governor Ortom was not responsible for the recession that Nigeria entered in 2016 which made it difficult for 27 states including Benue to pay salaries and pensions.
“The Ortom administration, like those of other states, asked in 2015 for the rescue plan that the federal government had decided to grant to the states to cushion the harmful effects of the recession and allow them to pay the wages and pensions due. .”
Mr Akase said the Benue State Executive Council sought the approval of the state House of Assembly and requested a 69 billion naira bailout which would have addressed the arrears of emoluments.
“The Federal Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria for some reason only approved and released 28 billion naira from the bailout leaving 41 billion naira pending. Of the 28 billion naira that returned to the state, 15.5 billion naira went to the 23 local government areas, while 12.5 billion naira went to the state for the payment of emoluments due.
The Special Adviser recalled that Kogi and some other states subsequently revalidated the 2015 bailout request and received the balance of the full amount they originally requested, while the Benue State Government also made several efforts to obtain the balance of N41 billion, but such efforts failed to yield results.
“The N41 billion loan facility approved by the Benue State Assembly a few days ago was only a revalidation of the outstanding N41 billion bailout request and not a new approval loan. Of the N41 billion, N17 billion will go towards paying salary and pension arrears at the state level, while N24 billion will go to local governments.
In a statement to Makurdi on Monday, Akase noted that the authors of the online post don’t want people to know; saying that their fear is that once Governor Ortom is able to secure the funds and clear the salary and pension arrears, they will have nothing left to hold as a tool to tarnish his image and that of its administration.
“These are the real enemies of Benue workers and pensioners. As long as their objective of painting the Governor in bad colors is achieved, the interest of workers and pensioners does not count. In their desperation, the authors of the same article dragged the Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr. Uba, into their campaign of slander, branding him with all sorts of names.
Mr. Akase pointed out that the Benue Assembly is not a house of Titus Uba but a legislature made up of representatives of all the people of Benue where other political parties also have members who unanimously supported approval.
He said targeting the President for attacks is not only unfortunate but also a kind of shameful vendetta and called on members of the public to ignore such a post in its entirety.