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A group of media practitioners under the auspices of the Association of Benue Journalists(ABJ), has commended the efforts of the government of Dr. Samuel Ioraer Ortom, Governor of Benue state, north central Nigeria, to recover a hundred and thirty billion naira 130 billion naira ($650 million), allegedly stolen from the coffers of State government by the Administration Gabriel Suswam, the immediate past governor of the state.
The group, through a statement signed by its National Chairman, Mr. Emmanuel Iffer, described as unfortunate, the alleged pilfering of the state’s resources by the predecessor of Dr. Ortom, and urged the government of Benue State, North central Nigeria, to begin the prosecution of the last administration, with the view to recovering all moneys stolen from the state.
While it commended the Governor for his efforts in the last three months to revive the economy of the State, the group of journalists, however regretted that the panel set up by the government of Ortom to probe Suswam, would have to wait for long six (6) months to conclude its investigations before acting on its findings.
The group urged the Ortom administration to abridge the duration of enquiry to three months, in view of the urgency required to restore Benue to the path of development. “We are worried that six months is too long a time for the probe committees to conclude their assignments, we believe that three months would have been just sufficient for the assignment.” According to the group, the enquiry should however not be a witch-hunt, shadow-boxing show or another exercise in utter waste of the meagre resources of the State.
The group reiterated the need for Ortom to make haste and revive the Benue Burnt Bricks Factory, Benue Hotels, Taraku Mills and several other moribund factories in the State in order to tackle the growing population of unemployed persons in the State. “We therefore, call on Governor Ortom, to urgently take steps to revive the moribund Benue Burnt Bricks, Taraku Mills, Benue Hotels, and several others, so as to tackle the problem of unemployment in the state.” The group concluded that the State should also consider setting up more factories and adopting an aggressive plan to industrialize the State.
Gabriel Suswan was the governor of Benue state from 2007 – 2015. Suswam is said to have escaped a day before handover, and believed to be hiding in UK or USA.
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