No money Exchanged Hand Between me and Supreme Court Judges- Suswam

Governor Gabriel Suswam  the Executive Governor of Benue state just
achieved victory at the Supreme Court in an appeal filed against him
by the governorship candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN),
Prof. Steven Ugba. In this interview, he denied the huge allegation of
bribe against his person and said that the speculation was baseless
and unfounded. atiterkula reports

Que: Your victory at the Supreme Court has attracted a lot of
attention, what is your reaction about the apex court judgment?

Ans: First and foremost is to thank God that at least we will put the
issue of election behind us and move Benue state forward. I will just
appeal to the Benue sons and daughters to come together and let us
forget about election and concentrate on governance so that we will be
able to impact positiveImage
development on the people. I must say that this is victory for all
Benue sons and daughters. As far as I am concern there is no victor,
there is no vanquish. I want to once again call on my brothers who are
in the opposition to put their ideas on the table so that we can work
on them together to impact rapid development on the people. I expect
all Benue people to join hands in rejoicing for the victory for
Benue.

A complete one year is wasted on litigation and so now I will
absolutely concentrate on the things that  will positively impact on
the lives of our people other than everyday waking up with all kinds
of rumours and speculations from the opposition and then creating
anxiety in the minds of the people. We have put that behind us and so
there will be concentration. As I said there is no victor, there is no
vanquish and so let all of the opposition members come back. It is
victory for us. Let them drop the idea of unnecessary rumour intended
to create apathy and disunity among the people of Benue. As meaningful
citizens of the state, let us come together and uplift our dear state
in the positive direction.

Que: You have been accused of paying huge sums of money to bribe the
Supreme Court judges to smuggle your way and secure victory for you.
What is your take on the allegation?

Ans: Well, it then means that the people who are accusing me were also
where I was paying the money, otherwise how do they know? These are
speculations that are intended to create doubts in the minds of the
people. This case since the start of it from the tribunal here, up to
the Supreme court and back here have been all kinds of allegations
alluding to the fact that some money have exchanged hand. If the
opposition party, ACN is accusing me of that, it then means that they
are also involved.

As far as I am concerned, the Nigerian judiciary is very upright. And
the judges are doing exactly what they need to do. The Nigerian
constitution is very clear except the ACN have their own. And the
judges are expected to follow the constitution and not to follow the
whims and caprices of the desperate individuals. So there is no money
that exchanged hand between me and any person and so these are mere
speculations that are baseless and unfounded.

Que:  What will you say is going to be the priority in the next three
years of your administration?

Ans
: Yes, I have started very well and at least you can see what I am
trying to do in the area of agriculture. I am trying to address the
issue of poverty reduction. I have just disbursed a billion naira loan
to farmers and I have another two billion that we are trying to get to
the farmers. We have
another one billion naira to give to small scale entrepreneurs. We are
collaborating with the Bank of Industry. There is already one billion
naira that we have, what we intend to do is to be able to train some
young men and women. We will then give them loans after they would
have acquired these skills. The loans will not necessarily require
some collateralization so that they will be able to access this money
and will be able to start small scale industry and employ other
people.
This is also a strategy to get some youths employed and also to reduce
poverty from the villages. If you go to the villages, there are some
small scale farmers who were able to access two million naira from the
initialone billion we distributed. What we are trying to do is to
encourage those who are into processing of raw materials. So in the
one billion, we were able to set aside some money and also give to
some people who are already into processing of agricultural produce or
those whom we are convinced that will start processing so that people
don’t harvest produce and there is no market for it. So the two
billion naira, a substantial chunk of it will be given to people who
will want to go into processing.

What we want is to spread the trend so that we will not just have a
clog of raw materials and then we don’t have value that can be added
on it. I believe that when we encourage more people to go into
processing they will be able to help one, three, four or ten persons
that will also address the issue of unemployment of our youths. My
concentration in the next three years is to create wealth and reduce
poverty.

Que: Why is work of some roads taking longer time to be finished,
particularly the Katsina-Ala-Ugbema road?

Ans: Well, you know that, that is a federal road and my experience as
I talk to you now, the federal government is owing me close to N6
billion on federal roads that I have constructed or done that have not
paid me. Ordinarily, one would have been able to address that but
there are processes, especially now that the President even announced
that if any governor who wants to construct such roads should go
through that processes. And so I believe that I have a lot of rural
roads that are unattended to that  are meant for the state. I rather
attend those state roads than put a lot of money on federal roads
knowing that I will not be paid back that money and that is why the
roads are still like the way they are.

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