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Alia is Bandying Figures to Discredit me – Ortom

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From Attah Ede Makurdi

The immediate past governor of Benue state, Samuel Ortom, on Wednesday, accused his successor, Governor Hyacinth Alia of bandying figures to discredit him.

The former governor was reacting to a media report credited to the state Attorney General and commissioner for justice and public order, Barrister Fidelis Mnyim where he said that the Alia administration inherited N14B debt profile from his administration.

Former Governor Ortom in a statement issued by his former special adviser on media, Terver Akase and made available to newsmen in Makurdi, said that governor Alia is just using every opportunity to paint his predecessor in dark colours.

Akase noted that the “present government is quick to publish unsubstantiated figures in the media only to accuse the previous administration without giving evidence to back their claims.”

Parts of the statement reads: “We read a newspaper report in which the Benue State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Fidelis Mnyim was quoted to have said the present administration inherited a debt profile of over N14 billion as consent judgment from the immediate past government of Chief Samuel Ortom.

“What the Justice Commissioner said was one in a series of media outings by the Alia administration aimed at dragging the name of the former Governor and his administration to disrepute.

“The present government is quick to publish unsubstantiated figures in the media only to accuse the previous administration without giving evidence to back their claims. The sole intention is to cast Chief Ortom and his government in dark colours, make political capital out of every issue while evading public scrutiny.

“It should be noted that most of the issues raised by the Commissioner for Justice are from pensions and gratuity cases. It is on record that the Ortom administration inherited arrears of pension and gratuity which cut across several past administrations and the court cases filed by the pensioners were still pending when Chief Ortom assumed office in 2015”.

He said Governor Ortom, in his humanitarian disposition, decided that the senior citizens had served the state meritoriously so his government would not enter defense against them in court, and opted for amicable resolution of the cases.

“The State Government had an agreement with the retirees and was paying their arrears of pensions and gratuities as funds permitted. This was even as the economic situation in the country was severe with federal allocations to states at their lowest since 1999 and Nigeria had plunged into recession at two different times.

“If the present government is complaining about numerous garnishee orders, there is the possibility that it has defaulted on the payment arrangement that the Ortom administration made with the pensioners and the retirees have returned to the courts.

“Interestingly, the current Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Fidelis Mnyim served as counsel to some persons who took the Benue State Government to court. He ought to have told the media if the case he handled was among the garnishee orders resulting in the N14 billion that he claimed”.

He appealed to Governor Hyacinth Alia to take advantage of the huge funds available to his administration from the federation’s account following the removal of fuel subsidy, to address development challenges.

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Wuye/Wuse Flyover 85% Completed, Ready in May – Wike

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The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr Nyesom Wike, says the Wuye/Wuse Flyover is 85 per cent completed and will be inaugurated in May.

Wike stated this in Abuja on Saturday, after inspecting the project, along with the Vice-President’s residence and  11-kilometre (km) six lane dual carriage expressway linking Airport Expressway to Kuje.

Wike added that the road from Kuje to Airport Expressway, when completed, would open the area for transformative economic growth and development.

The minister, who equally visited the vice-president’s residence being handled by Julius Berger, expressed optimism that the project would be completed in May.

“I must commend the various contractors, the Arab Contractors and Julius Berger.

“The first site we went to is almost 85 per cent completed, that is, one of those interchanges in Wuye District. The contractors are keeping faith with their commitment to handover the project by May.

“Then we also went to Kuje to inspect the six-lane road of about 11km. The road from the Airport Road down to Kuje will open that area of the Area Council.

“The last time when I went to flag off one of the rural roads, we didn’t see much about the contractors, and I did say that the contractors are not serious.

“Going back there today, I am very impressed with the level and quality of work,” he said.

Speaking at the official residence of the vice-president, the minister said the contractors were at the stage of electrical installations, adding that a lot of changes would be seen in the next few weeks.

“We were at the VP’s residence which is being handled by Julius Berger and like I said, they have made further commitment that by May, they are going to hand it over.

“They are known for quality, and we are financing them well,” the minister said.

Wike reiterated that no ongoing project in the FCT would be abandoned, adding that the projects were considered as priority and have been included in the FCT’s 2024 statutory budget to ensure adequate funding. (NAN)

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Benue Rep Hands over Reconstructed Police Division, Quarters

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The Member representing Gwer /Gwer West Federal Constituency, Arc Asema Achado, has pledged to

enhance the working condition of police personnel in the constituency to boost their morale.

Achado made the pledge when he handed over the reconstructed Aliade Divisional Police Headquarters and personnel quarters, on Saturday in Gwer Local Government Area.

“This initiative stems from my firm belief that a conducive working environment fosters the morale of officers, thereby bolstering their capacity to combat criminal activities and mitigate the prevailing insecurity in the local government area”.

He said law enforcement agencies play critical roles in safeguarding the country and needed good working environment to operate effectively.

Achado recalled that the police division and personnel quarters were in a dilapidated state,  and he had to lobby the Federal Government through the Nigeria Police Force to award the contract.

He urged local authorities and Benue Government to provide infrastructure, vehicles and other logistics for the police and other security agencies to be more clinical in the discharge of their responsibilities.

An official of the Federal Housing Authority, Dr Mathias Byuan, said the federal government has made adequate provision for the building affordable houses for Nigerians.

He also said President Bola Tinubu was committed to providing enough funds to all security formations to enhance Nigeria’s internal and external defence systems. (NAN)

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Police Place N50m Bounty on 2 Katsina Bandits

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The Police Command in Katsina State on Sunday promised a N50 million reward to anyone with useful information that could lead to the arrest of two bandits – Modi Modi and Jan Kare.

The Police, in a statement by the Public Relations Officer, Mr Abubakar Aliyu, alleged that the duo had been responsible for most of the terrorist attacks in the state.

The statement alleged that Modi Modi and Jan Kare, all males, were operating within Katsina State, particularly in the regions of Kankara and Safana Local Government Areas.

“The safety of the residents is of paramount importance, that is why we are making these commitments.

We are taking decisive actions against criminal elements threatening peace and stability,” it said.

Aliyu explained that the identity of the informant and the information provided would be kept strictly confidential.

“All concerned citizens are encouraged to give us any relevant information that could assist the security agencies in apprehending the masterminds behind these heinous crimes of kidnapping and banditry in the state,” he said.

He urged anyone with useful information to contact the command headquarters or call the following numbers: 07015142112 08023871144. (NAN)

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