FROM THE BENUE PEOPLES HOUSE…
27TH DEC 2015 – 2ND JAN. 2016
By Terver Akase
Happy New Year.
I have the pleasure to welcome you to the 2016 first edition of ‘From the Benue Peoples House’, the weekly review of activities of the Benue State Governor,Samuel Ortom.
In this New Year edition, Governor Ortom presents 2016 Budget of Trust, Confidence and Credibility. You will also get details about the ban on trucks used for human transport, as well as fraud uncovered in LG staff screening.
Also in this package is a new segment for Social Media where we publish the people’s comments – views, questions and suggestions on the Governor’s activities.
Sit back now and enjoy your ride with Governor Ortom within the week. Remember to view some of the comments from the people towards the end of the package.
……FRAUD UNCOVERED IN LG STAFF SCREENING EXERCISE – ORTOM
Governor Samuel Ortom disclosed that the screening of local government staff had revealed that one individual inserted 160 names on a payment voucher and was collecting salaries for the names.
He made the disclosure at the 2015 Praise Night held at the Open Air Theatre of the Aminu Isah Kontagora Complex.
According to the Governor, the insistence on the screening was justified, stressing that anyone involved in sharp practices would be handed over to the police for investigation and prosecution.
The Governor said a third person involved in fraud at the ICT Center of the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs had been uncovered and that he had directed that he should be handed over to the police.
He assured the people that he would never shortchange the people and would not allow anyone to do so.
Governor Ortom solicited cooperation from the church for ethical reorientation of the people so that they could do what was right even as he pledged to partner with religious organisations in the education, health and agriculture sectors.
…SAYS I RECONCILED WITH TOR TIV BEFORE HIS DEMISE
Governor Ortom, said he reconciled with the late Tor Tiv, Dr. Alfred Torkula, before his demise.
Governor Ortom made the disclosure at Prayer Pilgrimage for Peace organized by the Catholic Dioceses of Makurdi, Gboko and Katsina-Ala, held at the St John the Baptist Cathedral, in Gboko.
He stated that after their encounter which took place shortly on his assumption of office he requested permission from the paramount ruler and also summoned second class traditional rulers in Tivland and reconciled with them as well.
He said at the meetings, he requested those involved to draw a line to forget the past and start afresh with the undertaking that traditional rulers would henceforth disengage from partisan politics.
According to the Governor the land needed repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation and restitution because the people desire peace and desire integration with one another.
Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Benue State and Senator representing Benue North West District, Dr. George Akume, enjoined traditional rulers and the clergy to shun partisanship and be neutral so that they could play advisory and conciliatory roles.
He urged Governor Ortom to reconstruct institutions in the state and make them stronger while ensuring that workers welfare remained top priority even as he urged the people of the state to intensify efforts in the agriculture sector and deploy it to boost the state’s economy.
Still on Monday
… URGES THE PEOPLE TO EMBRACE GOVERNMENT PROJECTS
The Governor called on the people of local communities across the State never to resist any attempt by government to establish its presence in their areas.
He made the call while addressing a cross section of people at LGEA Primary School Azom,Kwenev,Kaambe in Guma Local Government area.
He told them that his administration was ready to attract development to the grass roots as schools and hospitals would be sited in communities for their speedy socio economic growth.
The Governor urged the people of Kwenev to send their children to school and return to Agriculture as both were critical to the survival of the State especially as the nation was passing through economic challenges as a result of the fall in the prices of crude oil.
The Governor had earlier visited his maternal home to interact with his people there and later went to the tomb of his late mother.
The Governor spent greater part of the day putting finishing touches to the 2016 Budget. He left for Gbajimba in the evening of that day preparatory to attending the funeral of the mother of Chief Mike Iordye the next day.
He attended the funeral in Tse-Akaahena in Nzorov, Guma local government area and later returned to Makurdi.
… PRESENTS N133 BILLION 2016 BUDGET
The Governor presented a budget of N133 billion to the State House of Assembly.
Making the presentation, he stated that capital expenditure would be N67.4 billion while the recurrent would be N65.9 billion.
According to the Governor, the economy sector has the highest allocation of N58.3 billion, representing 43 per cent of the budget while the social sector comes second with N49.3 billion or 36 per cent.
“Our objectives in the economy sector include encouragement of micro, small, and medium scale enterprises, commercial and investment activities that will create massive jobs, wealth and opportunities.
“We have prioritized agriculture with emphasis on farm mechanization, land development, rehabilitation of agro-service centres and colleges of agriculture”, he stated.
This, the Governor said, was in line with his administration’s key pillar of agriculture-driven industrialization with a view to generate wealth as well as provide employment for youths.
Governor Ortom listed the establishment of Benue Information Technology Development Agency, BITDA, to deploy ICT for empowerment and e-governance.
He stated that provision was made in the budget for training of primary and secondary school teachers and renovation and furnishing of the schools.
Responding, the Speaker expressed appreciation to House members for cutting short their recession to attend the session and requested that next year’s budget be presented earlier.
He expressed the hope that the provisions of the budget would initiate change for better life which the people voted for.
… FREES PRISONERS TO MARK NEW YEAR
In the spirit of the New Year, Governor Ortom approved the release of five inmates from Gboko Prison who had been serving various jail terms.
Those released were John Anyam, Dickson Ako, Terngu Agum, Aondonengen Msughve and Iorfa Mbakighir.
According to a statement signed by Chief Odeh Ageh, Commissioner for Information and Orientation, the Governor’s approval of the release of the inmates followed the recommendation by the Benue State Advisory Council on the Prerogative of Mercy.
The statement said Governor Ortom had also assured that the state will overcome the current challenges and move to the next level of development in 2016.
He felicitated with the people of the state on the occasion of the New Year and reassured that a new Benue was being born because the initiatives of his administration were designed to serve as pillars of development now and in the years to come.
Governor Ortom urged the people of Benue to march into the New Year with confidence trusting in God that things will get better.
Still on Friday
…ASSURES ON COLLABORATION WITH BENUE DIASPORANS.
Governor Ortom has reiterated the commitment of his administration to collaborating with Benue indigenes in the diaspora to improve health, education and entrepreneurship in the state.
He gave the assurance when the Vice President of Mzough u Tiv in America, MUTA, Ms. Ember Ahua paid him a courtesy visit at the Benue Peoples House, Makurdi.
He said the State Government would soon unveil a number of programmes aimed at encouraging the growth of small and medium scale businesses through public-private partnership.
Governor Ortom said his administration will remain open for development ideas from sons and daughters of the state living in different parts of the world.
He commended MUTA for keeping in touch with their home government, urging members of the association to continue to be good ambassadors of the state in the US.
Earlier, Miss Ember Ahua informed Governor Ortom that she was at the Benue Peoples House to convey the condolences of MUTA to the Government and people of the state over the death of the Tor Tiv, Dr. Alfred Akawe Torkula and to assure the State Government of the association’s support in areas of development directly affecting the people.
She said it was no longer feasible for the government to do everything, hence the need for non-governmental organisations to play a key role in development. Miss Ahua disclosed that MUTA was organising an annual Health Fair and would soon invite the Governor to attend this year’s event.
The MUTA Vice President commended Governor Ortom for his administration’s steps in security, education and health, expressing the hope that better days lay ahead.
… URGES FRSC TO ENFORCE BAN ON USE OF TRUCKS FOR HUMAN TRANSPORT
The Governor on Saturday, urged the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, to enforce the ban on the use of trucks and other vehicles meant for goods in conveying human beings in the state.
He made the appeal at the Federal Medical Centre, Apir when he visited victims of the accident involving members of NKST Church Achusa, in Makurdi, who were being conveyed in a truck to Anber, in Katsina-Ala for an annual function of the Church.
Governor also undertook to pay the medical bills of those affected.
According to him, the enforcement of the ban had become necessary as a result of frequent cases of accidents involving trucks or similar vehicles conveying worshippers to religious occasions in the state over the years.
Governor Ortom directed that anyone who violates the ban should be arrested and prosecuted.
He sympathised with victims of the accident, assuring them that God who is the greatest Healer would grant them speedy recovery from the various degrees of injuries they sustained.
“It is disheartening when you wake up to find your loved ones involved in avoidable accidents like this one. As a government, we will not fold our arms and watch our people suffer this terrible situation. Anyone caught transporting people using vehicles meant only for goods will be apprehended and prosecuted”, he said.
The Governor directed that the sum of N500, 000 be deposited for the treatment of the accident victims.
The Chairman, NKST High Level Classis, Pastor Johanes Hough who spoke on behalf of the Church, thanked Governor Ortom for his prompt visit to the accident victims, describing the gesture as true humanitarian work.
He visited the accident and emergency ward, the orthopaedics unit and the female surgical ward.
MRS ORTOM CELEBRATES NEW YEAR WITH PATIENTS
Earlier, wife of the Governor, Mrs Eunice Ortom had also visited patients at the Family Support Clinic, Makurdi and the Federal Medical Centre where she sympathized with the patients and prayed God to grant them speedy recovery.
THE PEOPLE SPEAK….
Social Media Corner
Here are some of the comments from members of the public on activities of Governor Ortom as reported within the week by the media:
On the 2016 Budget:
James Bigila wrote on Facebook: ‘‘For the first time in many years… The Budget for Benue state now has more emphasis laid on capital expenditure. It means more capital projects and development for Benue State. Kudos to the Governor and his team.’’
Amos Ortese wrote: ‘‘The very budget we have being waiting for.. May the Lord help us to achieve our desired change, Amen.’’
Timothy Gbinde wrote: ‘‘May de budget change de condition of dis nation(state). If not, is an apology. Workers should be paid as when due. The issue of unemployment should be taken care of.
Tyover Gabriel wrote: ‘‘If we now look at the new BIRS technology utilization, it means with expectation from Buhari as huge as N6trillion alone (for the FGN)? It is not too much to reason that states like Benue should get at least a paltry N200billion. If that is allowed, I see Benue making up to at least N300billion this 2016.’’
Torkwase Queen: ‘‘My prediction is that Benue shall witness more Supplementary Appropriation Bills because the budget is mean. Just look back in the last 6months, over N60billion has been expended. By the time capital projects are embarked upon and outstanding recurrent debts are to be cleared, I know for sure N133b will go nowhere. But the allocation for capital should be improved upon before passage.’’
On Governor Ortom’s decision to free prisoners:
Kenneth Mson Ngugban wrote on Facebook: ‘‘D leader indeed.’’
Tyav Fater Saint James wrote: ‘‘Good one for those lucky inmates, I hope he didn’t forget to tell them to sin no more?’’
Daniel Asange wrote: ‘‘IN GOD WE TRUST.’’
Hon Adzua Emmanuel Terlumun wrote: ‘‘Not only Promogating that matter but actuallysation pls. Hpy new year’’
On the Governor’s move to ban the use of trucks for human transport:
Doris Mnguzaber Yuwa wrote: ‘‘I personally appreciate your prompt attention over this issue sir. God bless our amiable Benue state governor…
Atii Nancy wrote: ‘‘God bless you with more wisdom Gov.’’
Akawe Manasseh wrote: ‘‘Our governor, tnx for de prompt gesture.’’
Utsa Vitalis Orkuma wrote: ‘‘Good gesture. Very very timely.’’
Tuve Erukaa Henry wrote: ‘‘God bless Gov. Ortom.’’
Ireyn Jimin wrote: ‘‘Good development.’’
Akor Toryila wrote: ‘‘I want to thank the Governor for the wonderful and humanitarian job. On the enforcement of the ban on trucks conveying human beings, I discovered that the church has deliberately refused to use buses. Moreso, hanging on the trucks in the name of attending National conference is also a pride to some people in our community even as scary as it looks. Good as the Governor is inspired by God to put an end to it.’’
Ioryar Akombu wrote: ‘‘This is a true man of God. That is why you are the People’s Governor. Continue with the spirit.
Please, keep the feedback (comments) coming. We appreciate them.
This is where the first edition of ‘From the Benue Peoples House’ this year ends. Many thanks to Special Adviser on Media and ICT, Mr. Tahav Agerzua for his contribution.
See you again next weekend.