Governor Samuel Ortom has announced that the state government would harness comprehensive sources of internally generated revenue to ensure funding and implementation of the 2017 budget.
He made the disclosure yesterday at the opening of a three day budget retreat organized for House of Assembly members at the Obudu Mountain Resort.
The Governor explained that revenue sources that were not identified by Ministries, Departments and Agencies during the implementation of the previous budget have been identified and targets set to ensure funding sustainability.
He maintained that this year's budget estimate was prepared in line with the approved International Public Sector Accounting Standards accrual format which he said is a requirement for the state to access Federal Government funding.
The Governor urged the assembly members to have fruitful deliberations during the retreat to prepare them for speedy consideration and passage of the budget.
In his remarks, Speaker of the Assembly, Mr. Terkimbi Ikyange, commended Governor Ortom for facilitating the retreat and for always supporting the training of the lawmakers to sharpen their legislative skills.
He assured that the purpose of the retreat would be fully utilised and appealed to members not only to be realistic during the deliberations but to avoid using the exercise as an avenue for confrontation with the executive.
Earlier, the Chief Executive Officer of Tinker Business Services, organizers of the retreat, Mr. Hyacinth Nyakuma, said resource persons were carefully selected to deepen the knowledge of members on the budget process.
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, today announced that his administration has facilitated the graduation of 152 medical doctors from the College of Health Sciences of the Benue State University, since assumption of office.
He spoke when the fourth set of doctors from the institution visited him at the Benue Peoples House.
Governor Ortom stated that the first set comprised 40 doctors, the second 27, the third 44 with the fourth set that visited producing 41, bringing the total to 152.
He also announced the approval and release of N3.7 million for the registration of each of the fresh graduates with the Dental and Medical Council of Nigeria.
The Governor commended the staff, management and students of the Benue State University for what he described as the milestones recorded in spite of the current economic challenges adding that his passion for education has made him to place the institution top of his priority list.
He said the payment of accreditation requirements by his administration in the face of lean resources paved way for the graduation of the doctors who had stagnated at the school for up to 12 years.
Leader of the delegation, Dr. Ashimom Timothy Msughter, stated that the set had come to express appreciation to Governor Ortom for his role in their graduation.
“Upon assumption of office he took upon himself to ensure that the monster of stagnation was defeated, within five months in office, he provided all that was needed to secure the last accreditation without which graduation would have remained an empty dream,” he stated.
“Today, like one of the colleagues rightly described it, Benue State is ‘bleeding’ doctors; we have achieved the impossible. Within 14 months the College has graduated four sets of medical doctors, the last three coming within one year, a feat which no other medical school in this country has ever achieved.”
The Governors of Benue and Nasarawa states, Samuel Ortom and Tanko Al-Makura yesterday announced plans to visit Agatu local government area next week as part of peace building and reconciliation efforts.
They made the disclosure after a joint Security Council meeting of the two states at the New Banquet Hall of the Peoples House in Makurdi.
The visit was scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, January 18th and 19th, 2017.
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, yesterday stated that security agents were tracking those who assassinated a lecturer with the University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Professor Robert Okai.
He spoke when he paid a condolence visit to the family of the deceased at North Bank in Makurdi.
He described the deceased who he said was his secondary school classmate as a hardworking, quiet and God-fearing man and assured that his killers will be arrested and brought to book.
Deputy Vice Chancellor, administration, at UAM, Professor Richard Kimbi thanked the Governor for finding time to visit and commisserate with the family.
Governor Ortom also visited the family of Justice Maurice Ikpambese who lost a son, 20 year old Ngutor last week.
He urged the family to give thanks to God in all situations as enjoined by the scriptures.
Justice Ikpambese expressed appreciation for the visit.
Governor Samuel Ortom Tuesday inaugurated the Tor Tiv coronation committee with a charge on members to see their involvement as personal sacrifice.
Performing the ceremony at the New Banquet Hall of the Benue People's House, Makurdi, Governor Ortom urged them to work assiduously towards success of the coronation.
He charged members to settle down quickly and work out a programme of action that would make it possible for the event to take place either last week of February or first week of March.
Governor Ortom urged royal fathers to avoid acts capable of denigrading the institution and stressed that in due time, the Chieftaincy Law would be reviewed to conform to the realities of the times.
He promised that his administration would continue to support the traditional institution and advocated clear cut distinction of roles to avoid conflict between chiefs and politicians.
The Governor expressed happiness over the decision taken by Tor Tiv the fifth, Orchivirigh Professor James Ayatse, not to dabble into partisan politics and appealed to other traditional rulers to take a cue from him.
He said he met with the other aspirantsfor the stool who pledged not to go to court in the interest of the entire people.
In his remarks, chairman of the coronation committee, retired General Atom Kpera, promised to immediately put machinery in motion for success of the event.
General Kpera expressed gratitude to Governor Ortom for finding members worthy to serve on the committee and sued for the cooperation of all well meaning sons and daughters of Tiv land.
By Charles Iornumbe, Radio Benue
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has congratulated Professor James Ortese Ayatse over his emergence as the 5th paramount ruler of the Tiv nation.
Governor Ortom who received the new Tor Tiv this evening at the Benue Peoples House, Makurdi, described him as a man with the fear of God, honesty and integrity.
He said the transparent manner in which Professor Ayatse emerged as Tor Tiv shows the commitment of the Tiv nation to upholding fairness, truth and justice.
Governor Ortom said God had answered the prayers of the Tiv nation to have a paramount ruler who would be non-partisan and lead the people as one.
He said the outcome of the election has proven that he did not interfere with the process as he had earlier promised, saying that he was comfortable with the choice made by the kingmakers.
The Governor restated the resolve of his administration to accord the traditional institution its revered status while working with the new Tor Tiv and other traditional rulers to bring development to the people.
Responding, the Tor Tiv-elect, Professor Ayatse thanked God for making him ruler of the Tiv nation and pledged that God will be the King over the people while he as Tor Tiv would only be a servant of God.
He commended Governor Ortom for providing a level playing field for the selection of Tor Tiv the 5th, adding that he is aware of the problems confronting his people and would depend on the counsel of God in addressing the challenges.
The new Tor Tiv, Professor Ayatse was accompanied by his wife, Felicia.
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, yesterday presented the 2017 budget of N163. 9 billion to the State House of Assembly.
Making the presentation, he stated that the economic sector had the highest allocation of N88 billion followed by the social sector with N48 billion.
The budget was christened budget of rural transformation. [download here]
Governor Ortom stated that the recurrent expenditure would be N66 billion or 40 percent while capital expenditure would be N93 billion representing 60 percent of the total budget.
“The focus of government in 2017 will be rural transformation as it would embark on massive construction of rural access roads,” he stated.
“Our desire is that at the end of four years, every rural community in Benue State should be connected to another through planned rural roads.”
Governor Ortom stated that that would be done along with rural electrification to boost economic activities within the state while government would continue to make deliberate efforts to encourage cluster settlements in order to facilitate the provision of essential services and improved security.
He said the heartbeat of his administration’s economic agenda was linked to improved agriculture adding that the sector would be made attractive to the people of the state.
“With value addition through processing of agricultural produce the sector would become an attractive business,” adding that “we will embark on massive land clearing and mechanization with effective use of tractors.”
The Benue State Executive Council yesterday suspended the Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism, Mr Sekav Dzua Iyortyom, for three months, following murder charges preferred against him.
State Information and Orientation Commissioner, Chief Odeh Ageh, announced the suspension during a press briefing after the council meeting at the Benue Peoples House in Makurdi.
Chief Ageh stated that Governor Samuel Ortom chaired the meeting at which the Sole Administrator of Buruku local government area, Mr David Yiman, was also suspended for the same period on similar charges.
He said the decision of the council would be communicated to the State House of Assembly which will also be requested to approve an acting Sole Administrator for Buruku local government area.
The Commissioner stated that the council took the decision in line with the policy of the Ortom administration to comply with the rule of law and due process adding that if at the end of three months the matter was resolved or not council would review its decision.
According to Chief Ageh, the decision was also taken in consonance with the precedence set in the removal or suspension of indicted, arraigned or convicted executive council members and top government officials in compliance with the core values of the administration which include justice, fairness, and integrity.
The Commissioner said council also approved award of contracts for the construction of four major roads in the state at the total cost of N21. 5 billion.
He listed the 52- kilometre Yogbo-Udei-Udei Branch road awarded to Ms C.G.C Nigeria Limited at the cost of N6. 5 billion, 55 kilometre Ikyov-Utange-Mbagwaza-Mbagba-Lessel road with a spur at Hiiton road awarded to Ms Enerco Nigeria Limited at the cost of N5.9 billion.
Others, Chief Ageh said, are the over 40- kilometre Obagaji-Okokolo-Abian-Agagbe road, awarded to Ms Rockbridge Construction Company at the cost of N5.5 billion as well as the 21 kilometre Otukpo Icho
Odutajie-Aondona road awarded to C.G.C Nigeria Limited at the cost of N2.6 billion.
The Information Commissioner stated that the construction would span several years adding that the exchange rate also affected the cost of the contracts.
All is now set for the emergence of the new Tor Tiv between December 19 and 20th, 2016.
The date was arrived at during a meeting which Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, held with king makers and contestants for the stool at the Old Banquet Hall of the Benue People House today.
Governor Ortom requested the Electoral College to deploy dialogue as much as possible in the selection process and to vote as a last resort.
He urged the Tiv Traditional Council to first resolve the issue of who would produce the next Tor Tiv between the Ipusu lineage in Sankera or Kwande so that only contestants from one of the two blocks would emerge as the paramount ruler.
The Governor urged the royal fathers to select someone who would unite the people and propel the Tiv people to proper recognition and reckoning at the national level and appealed to contestants to live and let live with the consciousness that power belonged to God who crowns kings.
He reiterated his pledge not to interfere with the selection process.
Governor Ortom stated that his administration would map up specific roles for traditional rulers such as their inclusion in evolving security strategies but vowed to sanction any of them that would get entangled with partisan politics or disgrace the institution.
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, today announced that N12.7 billion has hit the account of the state government as Paris and London Clubs refund.
He announced this Monday at the Benue People's House in Makurdi while speaking with journalists.
According to him the amount was 25% of $181 million which was the total amount owed the state as the refund explained that local governments in the state would take 45% while the state would utilize the remaining 50%.
The Governor said he would meet with the relevant labour leaders in the state to work out an acceptable disbursement formula on Monday next week.
Governor Ortom noted that his government would comply with President Mohammadu Buhari's directive to use half of the amount to offset salary areas of civil servants at the state and local government levels.
He said the President had approved that 50% of the total amount be paid but that the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank were able to pay only the 25% at the official exchange rate three days ago.
The Governor described the information that the state had received over N10 billion as false information that emanated from the opposition political party.
On the appointment of the next paramount ruler of the Tiv he reiterated his pledge that there would be no interference with the selection and that a date for the exercise would be fixed next week.
Benue State will soon become an agro-industrial hub in the country and the entire West African sub-region, Governor Samuel Ortom has announced.
He made the announcement at the Aper Aku Stadium while declaring open the Benue Farmers' Summit.
"Climate is Changing, Food and Agriculture Must Change Too," was the theme of the summit.
Represented by his Deputy, Engr. Benson Abounu, the Governor noted that through the proactive steps taken by his administration the state witnessed bumper harvest in 2016.
He listed the initiatives as collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria on the Anchor Borrowers Programme as well as partnership with the Bank of Industries as well as Bank of Agriculture for the provision of loans, farm inputs, and training of Benue farmers in rice and soya beans production.
According to the Governor, his administration has adopted robust approaches that would guarantee sustainability and resilience adding that an Agricultural Policy and Strategic Plan of Action covering 2017 to 2020 had been drafted awaiting validation by stakeholders before finally being released.
He said the summit was part of a wake-up call on all stakeholders in the agriculture sector to rise up and embrace his administration's policy for an agricultural revolution and work in with government to take Benue to her pride of place as a leading agricultural producing state.
Earlier, wife of the Governor, Dr. Eunice Ortom, represented by Mrs. Tina Sorkaa, in her goodwill message said agriculture remained the only way to cushion the effect of the current economic recession in the country.
She stressed that Benue was blessed with fertile and arable for farming as well as two big rivers that support all year farming and urged the people to take advantage of the natural endowments as well as government support.
Dr. Mrs. Ortom appealed to the people particularly women to embrace farming in order to improve their standard of living, applauded the friendly agricultural policies of her husband and charged participants to take the summit seriously and apply the knowledge gainfully.
In separate goodwill messages, Nasarawa State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Hon. Yusuf Aliyu and his Plateau State counterpart, Hon. Linda Barau, described the summit as timely.
Hon. Aliyu suggested that North Central states should constitute a peer review committee to carry out a holistic review of agricultural activities in sister states with a view to improving participation and productivity.
Special Adviser to the Benue State Governor on Agro Business, Mr. Abua Yaji, said with the Ortom-led administration's deep interest in mechanized farming, the state was close to becoming an agro-based economy.
Also speaking, representative of Sole Administrators in Benue State, represented by their Guma colleague, Mr. Anthony Shawon, and leader of All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, Comrade Aondona Kuhe, described the summit as the first of its kind.
They pledged continued support to the policies and programmes of the present administration towards promoting agricultural activities.
Earlier in his welcome address, Benue State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr. James Anbua, disclosed that the state government was working towards providing tractors for farmers in the state as well as embarking on massive land clearing among others as a way of encouraging mechanized farming.
High points of the summit was the inspection of farm produce displayed by all the 23 local governments of the state by the Deputy Governor, Engr. Benson Abounu.