<<< By Tahav Agerzua >>>
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, today stated that he would not shield any official in his administration who tampered with public funds.
He spoke at a thanksgiving mass at St. Peter’s Catholic Mission, Aondona in Gwer West local government area.
The occasion was held in honour of Mr Titus Zam, Special Adviser, Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
The Governor said he warned all his appointees including the adviser that it was no longer business as usual and that anyone who diverted public funds into personal use would not receive his protection when anti graft agencies including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, come calling.
He alerted the people that harder times lay ahead and that beneficiaries of the bailout should be prudent in their expenditure because the economic future appeared to be bleak on account of the falling price of crude oil.
Governor Ortom urged the people of the state to return to agriculture and creative ideas on wealth creation so as to survive the hard times.
He disclosed that the state government and labour unions have reached an agreement to combine October and November allocations to be able to pay October salaries since the allocation for the month was insufficient.
According to the Governor, closeness to God remained the only way out of the current distress pointing out that just as it was difficult for him to be Governor yet he won election God would also help him to deliver on his mandate inspite of challenges.
He said that he was not bothered about criticism of his closeness with Senator George Akume noting that one good turn deserved another.
On those talking about reelection at the moment he said that his preoccupation now was to deliver on his current mandate adding that “let my work recommend me for second term”.
Earlier in his sermon, the Bishop of Makurdi Diocese, Most Reverend Wilfred Anagbe, appealed to the youths to engage in activities that would bring development to the society and themselves instead of begging even as he urged government to invest in areas in which it has competitive and comparative advantages that will enable it surmount current challenges.
In his remark, Mr Titus Zam pledged his loyalty to Governor Ortom while acknowledging Senator George Akume’s role in his political career.
Senator Akume, represented by his wife, Chief Mrs Regina Akume, and Mr Targema Takema, Secretary to the state government both described the adviser as a dependable and loyal party man as well as dedicated public servant.