From Chris Gaga, Makurdi
Benue State Executive Council on Thursday, approved the immediate suspension of the State Programme Manager, ‘Saving One Milion Lives’, Dr Stanley Ugah, over allegations of embezzlement of funds.
The State EXCO also approved the extension of the years of service of the State Head of Service, Mrs Veronica Onyeke by two years. Mrs Onyeke was due for retirement later this year.
The decision was taken when Dr Ugah appeared before the State Executive Council but could not convince it on how his office spent funds released to the ‘Saving One Milion Lives Programme’ over a period of time.
Governor Samuel Ortom who presided over the Council meeting, said the suspension of the Programme Manager was to pave way for thorough investigation into the handling of over N900 million being part of the funds meant for the health scheme.
He said the investigation will also ascertain why Benue State took 35th position out of the 36 states in 2017 rating despite the huge sums available to the Programme.
Governor Ortom announced the setting up of a three-man Panel to investigate activities of the Programme under Dr Ugah.
The Panel has Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Michael Gusa as Chairman, Commissioner for Health, Director General, Planning Commission and Special Adviser Economic Matters as members.
The Panel is to submit its report within one week.
‘Saving One Million Lives’ is a scheme run in partnership between the Federal and State governments to expand access to essential primary health care services for women and children.