<<< By Akor Godwin >>>
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state has challenged members of the Institute of Chartered Accounts of Nigeria, ICAN, to restore the dignity of the country by raising alarm anywhere corruption is noticed.
Ortom who played host to members of the Benue state chapter of the institute at Benue People’s House yesterday, said chartered accountants were in the position to put things right at this time of the country’s economic recession.
The governor said ICAN and other professional bodies have the capacity to expose corruption, stressing that since he assumed duty, no audit query has been sent to government house.
Ortom said he would not like a situation where his name would be dragged to the mud after leaving office and urged ICAN to develop interest in what happens in the civil service.
He promised to involve more chartered accountants in the management of finances when the situation improves and emphasized that his administration believes in accountability and the fight against corruption.
He said he was not against anybody, pointing out that he would continue to ensure that things are done properly.
According to him, when pension and overheads are added, Benue’s monthly wage bill is between N7 to N8 billion but federal allocation fluctuates between N4 billion and N6 billion.
He explained to the over 50 chartered accountants that visited him that staff of the Benue State University, BSU, have been paid up to date while pensioners, state and local government workers have been paid up to June, May and April respectively.
He said the immediate past administration had approved a minimum wage that was rather too high because of the state’s low level of income and emphasized that something has to be done about it.
The governor said he would provide conducive atmosphere for ICAN to operate and pledged the state government’s contribution of N25 million towards the building of the institute’s study center which would cost N50 million.
Governor Ortom further pledged that accountants in the public service would participate in the professional workshop that would soon be organized by ICAN in Benue and assured further that the state government would look into the possibility of making ICAN’s Northern Conference slated for next year a success.
While insisting that he would succeed as governor of the state, Governor Ortom said he has never failed in his assignments and observed that his administration believes in participatory democracy.
Earlier, the state Chairman of ICAN, Mr Amity Ijuwo, had told the governor that the institute would like to partner with his administration and appealed to him to consider appointing members of the institute as accountant general and auditor general.
Ijuwo also requested the governor to approve the placement of ICAN on the state’s protocol list.