<<< By Tahav Agerzua >>>
The Concessioner for Taraku Mills has set aside N5 billion for the purchase of soya beans alone this year.
Governor Samuel Ortom announced this today when he featured on a Radio Benue programme, Issues of the Moment.
The Governor who described Taraku Mills a gold mine noted that apart from soya beans, maize would also be procured by the company thereby adding value to the efforts of farmers.
He noted that because God was directly involved in the affairs of the State, investors are coming and new doors are being opened despite its funding challenges.
According to him, an investor indicated intention to provide ten megawatts of electricity for the State without asking for counterpart funding except for the land where the project would be sited.
He said in addition, two different foreign investors are competing seriously to construct Cargo Airport in the State, pointing out that the positive things are happening in the State because God is involved.
The Governor assured the people that the Plastics Industry in Makurdi and Tomato Juice Factory at Wannune would soon commence operations while many other investors are on ground conducting due diligence especially for processing factories.
Governor Ortom added that because of God’s faithfulness, the level of insecurity the administration inherited has been greatly reduced through the success of the carrot component of the amnesty programme as well as the stick approach, which was ongoing.
He expressed happiness that with God’s intervention, the administration has recorded outstanding milestones in several areas.
According to him, these included the amnesty programme which he said was being celebrated and copied by many states and countries, the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals for which Benue had been adjudged the best in the country.
… SAYS APPOINTMENT OF CHIEFS WILL FOLLOW DUE PROCESS
Governor Ortom has assured people of the State that the selection and appointment of the next Tor Tiv and other traditional rulers where there are vacancies would follow due process of integrity credibility and fairness.
He said the process would be devoid of interference from anyone including himself.
The Governor explained that he was under divine instruction not to interfere with the process adding that he would equally not allow anyone to interfere including those who think they could use money to influence the choices.
He said as a man who operated with the fear of God, he believed that before any major decision was taken, God should be involved, hence the declaration of a three day programme of fasting and prayers for God to guide stakeholders in selecting the right traditional rulers in view of their critical role in the scheme of things in the state.
The Governor noted that the appointment of the next Tor Tiv and other Chiefs may appear to have been delayed because the last administration hurriedly signed the Chieftaincy Law, in which there were lots of lapses hence his administration’s decision to carry out a painstaking and thorough review to meet the yearnings and aspirations of the people.
He assured the people that immediately after the fasting and prayer period, government would release guidelines for the selection and appointment of traditional rulers.
According to him, the bottom-top approach would be used and that the selection would start with Kindred Heads, followed by District Heads, Third and Second Class Chiefs where there was vacancy, the First Class Chiefs and finally the Tor Tiv.
He called for the support of all stakeholders to sustain the credibility of the process, pointing out that, if done properly, everybody would be happy and there would be no room for petitions.
… SOLE ADMINISTRATORS PRODUCTS OF NECESSITY
He said the appointment of Sole Administrators for Local Government Councils was based on the doctrine of necessity which was endorsed by stakeholders across the State.
According to him, the option of appointing Sole Administrators became imperative in view of paucity of funds no payment of salaries, the fact that close to two billion Naira would be required to prosecute the Local Government polls.
The Governor who was responding to questions from a cross section of the Benue public on the appointment of the Sole Administrators explained that in view of the reality on ground, the decision was reached after due consultations with stakeholders especially during his town hall meetings across the State.
He acknowledged the need for a democratically elected Government at the third tier but noted that that the state government could not raise N1 billion for the conduct of Local Government elections when salaries of civil servants were being owed for months.
The Governor said against this backdrop, the Local Government law was amended with provision for the appointment of Sole Administrators to serve for six months after which it was hoped that election would be conducted otherwise the tenure could be extended for another six months.
He explained that the appointment of politicians instead of seasoned civil servants as Sole Administrators was informed by the experience of the politicians to provide leadership that was required for the good of the administration and progress of the State.
CALLERS URGE ORTOM TO FOCUS ON SECURITY
A Caller on the Special Edition of the Radio Benue Programme “Issues of the Moment”, Mr. Muhammed Yahaya from Agatu Local Government has appealed to the State Government to remain focused in addressing the security challenges in the area.
Mr. Yahaya lamented that the violent invasion of Agatu communities by suspected Fulani herdsmen which he said had caused food scarcity in the area, as farmers could not go to their farms.
He appreciated efforts by the Ortom administration at tackling economic challenges but stated that more needed to be done particularly in the area of food supply.
Responding Governor Ortom who was guest on the programme promised that his administration would continue to do its best to ensure security of lives and property in the State.
He charged parents to prevail on their children in the area not to take laws into their hands but to cooperate with government and other stakeholders to address insecurity and other development challenges in the area.
Another caller, Bishop Sunday Onah expressed gratitude to Governor Ortom for the appointment of the Sole Administrator for Ado and speedily assenting to the Chieftaincy Law and appealed for the provision of electricity, water and road in Ado to boost the socio-economic of life of the people.
Others including Emmanuel Tyoule from Moon, Kwande Local Government, Victoria Attah from Agila and retired Navy Commodore Geoffrey from Makurdi also drew government’s attention to poor state of some roads in their areas and appealed for solution.
Responding the Governor promised to look into their request with view to addressing them immediately stating that work on Agila road had already commenced.