The All Progressives Congress, APC, in Benue State has described the arraignment of the former governor of Benue State, Dr Gabriel Suswam, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over N3 billion theft, at an Abuja Federal High Court yesterday, as a tip of the iceberg.
State chairman of the party, Comrade Abba Yaro, while reacting to the arraighment in a statement in Makurdi noted that the former governor’s financial crimes against the people of the state far exceeded the N3 billion for which he was arraigned.
Comrade Yaro urged the commission to dig deeper, pointing out that such an excavation will reveal corruption of enormous magnitude.
The party chairman said if the commission beamed its searchlight on the defunct SURE-P programme in the state it would discover that the former governor and his collaborators diverted over N6 billion into their personal use.
Comrade Yaro stated that similarly, the former governor and loyalists diverted over N18 billion which they claimed they were setting aside for the payment of salaries of striking primary school teachers leaving the backlog of such salaries as a financial burden to the state government which the succeeding Samuel Ortom administration is battling to clear.
According to him, over one billion naira from the sale of shares of the state in Julius Berger was also missing from the coffers of the state government.
The APC state chairman maintained that the former governor’s unprecedented corruption has brought the state to its knees resulting to untold hardship for the people of the state particularly workers at the local and state government levels.
He said Dr Suswam was using the loot to organize thanksgiving ceremonies to celebrate with his cronnies and also sponsor media campaigns against the APC-led administration in the state.
Comrade Yaro commended the anti -graft body for arraigning the former governor, but urged that it should dig deeper to uncover more fraud and press harder to secure his conviction and return of stolen funds into the coffers of the state government to clear the mess he has left behind.
He said such funds would also enable the Ortom administration to deliver on its mandate of providing critical infrastructure.