FROM THE BENUE PEOPLES HOUSE…
3rd – 9th Jan. 2016
<<< By Terver Akase >>>
I’m glad to come your way with a fresh edition of ‘From the Benue Peoples House’, a weekly review of activities of the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom.
In this package, Governor Ortom announces extension of amnesty in Benue South; urges indigenes to be compassionate, begins moves to establish civil airport in Makurdi and accords priority to hospitality and tourism as alternative sources of revenue. You will get these and lots more.
Last week was another busy time for Governor Samuel Ortom as he had a number of engagements both in Benue and Abuja.
0RTOM URGES EVERY BENUE ADULT TO OWN A FARM
Governor Samuel Ortom, urged all adult indigenes of the state to own at least one kind of farm.
He made the appeal during his investiture as the Grand Patron of the Sunday school of the Universal Reformed Christian Church, URCC, abbreviated as NKST in Tiv.
The Governor noted that the dwindling fortunes of the oil sector should be the rise of agriculture and urged the people of the state to exploit the advantage they have by each of them owning a farm to produce cash crops and other food items.
According to him, provision has been made in the 2016 state budget to support activities of the church, particularly in the education, health and agriculture sectors and called on faith based organizations to seize the opportunity by intensifying efforts in the sectors.
He commended the church for molding the character of youths through the Sunday school and urged young people to serve God so that He could help them to grow up and become responsible citizens.
The Governor appealed to the church to set up permanent convention sites equipped with facilities to take care of members during meetings rather than the present situation where such meetings are being rotated from one place to another without the necessary amenities.
…ANNOUNCES AMNESTY EXTENSION IN BENUE SOUTH
Governor Ortom stated that the amnesty program granted illegally armed youths in the state which came to an end in September last year will be reactivated and extended in the Benue South Senatorial District.
He made the disclosure in Otukpo during a security meeting with stakeholders from the zone, promised to present the request made by the Idoma Traditional Council for the extension of the amnesty period in the area to the State Security Council.
The Governor however blamed stakeholders from the zone for not supporting the program when the grace period had not expired.
The Governor warned youths still keeping arms illegally in the area to voluntarily return them to the state and be reintegrated into the society as failure to do so would leave the government with no other option than to go after them.
He said he was in Otukpo to hold the second security meeting with the stakeholders in the area in a short time because of his commitment to ensuring that the people live in peace.
“I have cause to be here for a second time in a short while because we want peace in this place. We want our people to be free from insecurity and go about their businesses at all times because violence does not differentiate between individuals; it affects everyone,” Governor Ortom stated.
BENUE GOVT, AEROTROPOLIS, TO SIGN AIRPORT MOU
The Benue State Government and a private firm, Aerotropolis, have concluded arrangements to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, for the construction of a civil airport in Makurdi.
Governor Ortom, who made the disclosure at a meeting with a delegation from the company in his office, said the proposed airport would boost economic activities in the state.
He expressed the commitment of his administration to the partnership with private organizations in the development of the state, thanking the company for finding Benue as a worthy business ally.
Governor Ortom said when completed, the airport would add immense value to the economy of the state as it will open new frontiers of trade particularly exportation for the people of Benue and neighbouring states.
‘‘Our administration is committed to the airport project and it is our belief that at the end of the day, the economy of our state will be better for it. We hope to sign the MOU soon so that we can move to the next level of the project’’, he stated.
Governor Ortom added that the Makurdi Airport would also help in improving the internally generated revenue of the state.
Earlier, the Coordinator and Head of Public Private Partnership, Aerotropolis Development Company, Dr. Daniel Tarka, said the proposed cargo airport and the airport city could be developed around kilometer 28 along Makurdi-Lafia road.
ORTOM CHARGES BENUE PEOPLE TO BE COMPASSIONATE
Governor Ortom charged well to do individuals and organizations in the state to show compassion on the less privileged in the society.
He gave the charge when he visited the Centre for Parental Care of the Old and Vulnerable, CEPACOV, in Makurdi.
According to him, showing compassion was the surest way of attracting and retaining God’s blessings.
He donated a Toyota Hilux, pledged a monthly imprest of N500, 000, beds and mattresses as well as wheelchairs to the home even as he directed that one of the inmates, Pa Iurun Tso, should be treated of hernia at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital at his cost.
Governor Ortom promised to support the home to deliver on its responsibilities to the inmates and urged well to do individuals and organizations to emulate the Executive Director of the home, Mrs. Theresa Atser Iwail who he described as the Mother Theresa of Benue State.
…Inaugurates population committee
The Benue State Population Technical Working Committee was inaugurated with Governor Ortom as Chairman.
Vice-Chairman of the Committee is the Federal Commissioner of the National Population Commission, NPC in the State, Dr Timothy Sule, while State Ministries of Health, Education,
Information, Finance, Women Affairs, Youths and Sports as well as the State Planning Commission are members.
Others are, the State Traditional Council, State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Jama’atu Nasril Islam, Benue NGO Network, State House of Assembly, Association of Local Government of Nigeria, ALGON with the State Director, NPC as member Secretary.
Performing the ceremony at the Old Banquet Hall of the Benue People’s House, Makurdi, Governor Ortom said his Chairmanship of the Committee underscores the importance of the population census to the State.
Earlier during a courtesy call on the Governor, Federal Commissioner of NPC Dr Sule said they were at the People’s House to present to the Governor the last census report in the State and other activities of the Commission.
… Directs COE Katsina-Ala to respect catchment area provisions
Also on Tuesday, the Governor charged authorities of the College of Education, Katsina-Ala to respect the law which stipulates that junior staff must be employed from the catchment area of the institution.
He gave the charge when a delegation from the Ikurav-tiev community, led by Chief Abu King Shuluwa, paid him a courtesy call at the Benue Peoples House.
Governor Ortom stated that it was imperative to be sensitive to the interest of the host community in that respect in order to guarantee the security of the institution.
He expressed appreciation for what he described as the massive votes which the community gave him during the general elections and pledged to justify the confidence reposed in him.
Governor Ortom promised to tackle the infrastructural deficit in the area within the available resources.
Those who spoke including Mr. John Ive, President General, Ikurav-Tiev Development Association, Chief Sarwuan Kwaghga, third class traditional ruler in the area and Chief Abu King Shuluwa lamented the lack of critical infrastructure in the area and requested the Governor to address the challenges.
REPORT ON NON-INDIGENOUS TEACHERS’ SACK MISCHIEVOUS
Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and ICT, Mr Tahav Agerzua, dismissed a publication which claimed that the Benue State Government disobeyed a court order on the retrenchment of non-indigenous teachers between 2005 and 2006.
Mr. Agerzua described the report as untenable, uncharitable and mischievous.
“For the benefit of the general public let it be known that the Benue State Government currently led by Governor Samuel Ortom has neither retrenched any teacher nor disobeyed any court order on the matter since assumption of office.
It is curious that those allegedly retrenched would wait for a long period before resorting to the media to demand compliance with a judgment from a seven-month old administration that inherited a deficit treasury.
If such a legitimate claim existed, it ought to have been channeled through the appropriate channel and the Ortom administration which believes in the rule of law would have engaged with those involved on the matter since government remains a continuous process.”
ORTOM CONDOLES DECEASED LABOUR LEADER’S FAMILY
Governor Ortom visited the family of deceased Secretary of the Trade Union Congress, TUC, in the state, the late Torkuma Ifan, to condole with them on his demise.
He appealed to the family to look to God for consolation and for upkeep assuring that help would always come from the Almighty who he said gave and took life.
Governor Ortom described the deceased as a unique and peaceful labour leader who promoted dialogue and harmony and expressed appreciation to God for his accomplishments during his life time.
…TRAVELS TO ABUJA
Governor Ortom left for Abuja that day to perform other official functions in the nation’s capital
…APPROVES ELEVATION OF AKASE
Special Adviser, Media and ICT, Mr. Agerzua, announced the elevation of Mr. Terver Akase from Senior Special Adviser on Media to Chief Press Secretary.
Secretary to the Benue State Government, Barrister Targema Takema, conveyed Governor Ortom’s approval of the elevation which took effect from September 22, last year.
THURSDAY AND FRIDAY
…SOLICITS MORE APPOINTMENTS FOR BENUE INDIGENES
Governor Ortom appealed to the Federal Government to give more opportunities to indigenes of the state at the Federal level to make contributions to the development of the country.
He spoke when he visited the Secretary of the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir David Lawal, in Abuja.
Governor Ortom stated that Benue has qualified, competent and patriotic sons and daughters in all fields of human endeavour who are ready to offer qualitative service to the nation, if given the opportunity.
He stated that the people of the state also expect more appointments at the Federal level by virtue of their antecedents of contributions to the unity and progress of the country in general and the emergence of All Progressives Congress, APC, government at the center in particular.
In his response the SGF, Lawal, acknowledged the submissions of Governor Ortom and pledged to take up his request at the appropriate quarters.
Governor Ortom urged the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, when he visited him, to justify the confidence reposed in him by his appointment and also deploy his vast experience to the service of the nation.
He also appealed to Chief Ogbeh to assist the state to utilize its potentials in the agriculture sector where it has comparative and competitive advantages pointing out that the Minister’s appointment was made with the consciousness that he was a Benue indigene.
Governor Ortom announced that the state government had concluded plans to host the Minister to a grand reception.
Governor Ortom also visited the Permanent Secretary in the Ecological Funds office where he sought assistance to tackle ecological challenges in Makurdi, Gboko and Otukpo and received assurance from Alhaji Mohammed Abbas, the Permanent Secretary, that his request will be considered.
…PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR HOSPITALITY INSTITUTE
Governor Samuel Ortom, pledged support for the take-off of the Institute of Hospitality and Tourism in Benue State.
He spoke at the Governor’s Lodge in Abuja, during the signing of an agreement between the state Ministry of Arts, Culture and Tourism and the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism for the take-off of the Institute.
The Commissioner, Ministry of Arts, Culture and Tourism, Mr Sekav Dzua Iyortom signed for the state government while Mrs. Chika Balogun, Director General, signed for the Institute.
Governor Ortom said with the decline in oil revenues it was imperative to look inwards and that Benue would explore areas where it has competitive and comparative advantages including agriculture, solid minerals, culture and tourism to boost its economy.
…SAYS GOVERNMENT’S STAND ON ACCOUNTABILITY YIELDING RESULTS
Governor Ortom, assured the people of the state that his administration will continue to uphold the values of transparency and accountability in running state affairs.
He gave the assurance in a message to the wedding reception for Mr Nabem Dabur and former Miss Joy Mwuese Agbecha which took place at the Open Air wing of the Aminu Isa Kontagora Theatre Complex, Makurdi.
Represented his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Akase, the Governor reiterated the commitment of the present administration to transparency and accountability which he said was already yielding positive results, as Benue people now know precisely how their resources are managed.
He said the steps being taken by his administration had put an end to impunity and financial recklessness, promising to do more.
Governor Ortom advised the people to adhere to the preventive measures publicized by the State Ministry of Health to prevent the outbreak of Lassa fever such as frequent hand washing, proper storage of food, eradication of house rats among others.
He stressed that the State Government had taken proactive measures by setting up the Rapid Response Team to forestall the outbreak of the Lassa virus.
That brings us to the end of this edition of ‘From the Benue Peoples House’. Thanks to Special Adviser, Media and ICT, Mr. Agerzua for his contribution.
See you again next weekend.