While reacting to the judgment of the Makurdi High Court that lifted the stay of proceedings on the commissions of inquiry Governor Samuel Ortom in this interview, explained why he set up panels to probe the past administration.
We just left the High Court of Makurdi where the court dismissed the two suits filed by former Governor Gabriel Suswam challenging the probe of his administration and ordered the commissions of inquiry to resume sitting, what’s your reaction sir?
I want to thank God. Like I keep saying, those two panels were not meant to witch hunt anyone. Of course everybody in the state knows that I’m a Christian, I’m not a witch, so I cannot be seen as witch hunting anyone. All that I had wanted is that I’m a democratically elected Governor and my allegiance is to the people. The people of Benue State want to know what happened to their funds. The money that accrued to the state through the sale of Benue State government shares in BCC amounting to N8.3 billion; what went wrong with it? We could not find where
it was expended, whether it was in compliance with the laws of the land as stipulated in the budget. The money that came to Benue State through Sure-P, the money that came to Benue State through the excess crude account, the money that came to Benue State through the sale of shares from Julius Berger, the money that came to Benue State through several other means within the eight years because the amount of debt that we inherited is alarming. For the first time, we have witnessed this. So all that we’re saying is for people to go out there and verify and rather exonerate themselves. So we’ve provided a platform for people to go there and exonerate themselves if they are not culpable, but if you are, what we’re saying is that you must repent. You must make restitution by returning such monies. So that is all. The second panel is set up to verify government’s assets. How can you have a government and you don’t know what is government’s assets in Lagos, in Kaduna, in Benue State itself. How will people be just buying off government property including part of Government House? It is unthinkable that a government under my watch will just fold its hands and watch. (more…)