Opening Ceremony of 2016 Batch 'B' Orientation Course

Date:    November 28, 2016
Venue: NYSC Orientation Camp, Wannune, Tarka LGA
Time:  09:00 am

Courtesy Call by Code of Conduct Bureau led by Dr. Mrs. Ekoja

Date:    November 28, 2016
Venue: Old Banquet Hall, Benue People's House, Makurdi
Time:   10:00 am

Courtesy Call by DFID Team led by Dr. Bala Magaji

Date:    November 28, 2016
Venue: Old Banquet Hall, Benue People's House, Makurdi
Time:   10:30 am

The 32nd (2016) Meeting of State EXCO to consider the 2017 Draft Budget Estimates

Date:    November 28, 2016
Venue: EXCO Hall, Benue People's House, Makurdi
Time:   12:00 noon

Signed by

Secretary to Ag. Director of Protocol
(Benue People's House, Makurdi)

Our attention has been drawn to recent media reports being circulated with the intention of casting Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, in negative light as someone who keeps company with people who have criminal tendencies.

Nothing could be further from the truth.
The fact that top government officials under the Ortom administration could be investigated, charged to court, tried and convicted, suspended or asked to resign is a deliberate policy of the Governor to respect due process and the rule of law.

At his swearing in ceremony, Governor Ortom pledged to sustain whatever right things his predecessors did and to boldly correct what was wrong even as he promised to entrench core values which include justice, fairness, equity, integrity, honesty, transparency and accountability.
It was in line with these principles that he accepted the demand of the people of the state to look into how and why the state was brought to its knees resulting into a deficit treasury with untold hardship for citizens.
He therefore set up the Justice Elizabeth Kpojime Commission of Inquiry to give everyone accused of defrauding the state fair hearing and an opportunity to exonerate him or herself.

It is unfortunate that some key players in the plunder of the state's resources who pontificate these days from one event to another failed to utilize the golden opportunity presented by the public sittings of the Justice Kpojime Commission of Inquiry to respond to charges of over inflation of contracts and expenditure not appropriated amongst other allegations of fraudulent practices.

One who had neither desire nor inclination towards probity states shamelessly that he met and glossed over the mess he found as if to say he seized the opportunity to commit more. 
However, when the Commission concluded its work and released findings indicting 52 individuals and 10 corporate bodies for looting N107 billion, Governor Ortom matched his words with action about his commitment to the rule of law and due process by requesting and obtaining the resignation of an indicted member of his State Executive Council.

Subsequently, legal steps are being taken to bring those involved to book in accordance with due process and the rule of law.
This is the first time a civilian administration has taken a courageous step to probe a preceding one, and if for nothing, to demonstrate that it is not afraid of scrutiny.

In line with this deliberate policy of the administration, anyone against whom criminal charges are made, no matter how highly placed, is made to face investigation without any interference from the Governor whatsoever. 
Although the laws of the land stipulate that all suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction, by allowing top officials in his administration to be investigated, Governor Ortom has lived up to his promise that no one is above the law.

It is in accordance with this posture that a high ranking official in the administration could be charged to court, tried and convicted.
The Governor has accepted the development as a demonstration of the separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and pledges to act in accordance with the law and due process.
He therefore, deserves commendation for discarding the impunity that characterised the old order and seeking to introduce sanity and respect for the law in the change dispensation.

Those disparaging Governor Ortom on account of this deliberate policy are as unfair and uncharitable to him as their conduct amounts to an unhealthy nostalgia for the bad old days of impunity.

Benue State is the Food Basket of the Nation, a Basket of Opportunities. To buttress that fact, two students of Benue origin schooling in the state recently invented a device for irrigation of food crops and other plants.

The two young men are Joseph Orya of Mount Saint Gabriels Secondary School, Makurdi and Joshua Ichor of Christ Apostolic Secondary School, Makurdi.

Coordinated by the Benue Innovators Academy, the students participated in the National Children's Arts, Science And Technology Exhibition, EXPO 2016 where they picked the silver medal.

Happily, the Benue State Government under Governor Samuel Ortom has risen in support of the project with a promise to assist the young inventors to develop the irrigation device and make it available for farmers. Governor Ortom stated this when he hosted the students at the Benue Peoples House.

* Think Benue, innovate in Benue, invest in Benue, be proud of Benue. Together, let's build a state of our dreams.

Can I hear 3 hearty cheers to Joseph and Joshua?

The late mother of Benue State Commissioner for Finance, David Olofu, Mama Monica Egajanya Olofu was laid to rest today in Umogidi, Otukpo Local Government Area of the state after the funeral at Opaha in Apa Local Government Area.

Governor Samuel Ortom who was accompanied by his wife, Dr. Eunice and the Deputy Governor, Engineer Benson Abounu, also with his wife, Justice Rosemary, led members of the State Executive Council to the burial.

In a funeral oration, Governor Ortom described Mama Monica Olofu as a God fearing woman who brought up children to make meaningful contributions to the society in different ways.

He said his relationship with the Finance Commissioner dates back to when he was the Sales Manager at Gyado Foods and engaged the young David Olofu to work with him before they later went for further studies.

Governor Ortom pointed out that the confidence he had in the competence of Olofu made him an easy choice for the role of Finance Commissioner when he was to form a cabinet.

He commiserated with the Olofu family and the people of Apa local government area, saying that Mama Monica had left an indelible mark on the sands of time through her children.

The Governor assured the people of the area that though the economy is bad at the moment, his administration would continue to address development challenges facing them and other parts of the state.

Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Michael Gusa, who spoke on behalf of Commissioners in the state, prayed for the repose of the soul of the deceased and consoled their colleague, David Olofu and the entire family to bear the irreparable loss.

Speaking on behalf of the family, the eldest son, Mr. Tony Olofu who is a Deputy Commissioner of Police in Bayelsa State, thanked Governor Ortom and his entourage as well as other sympathisers for identifying with them in their time of grief.

Mama Monica Egajanya Olofu died at the age of 80.

The Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria, CRAN, yesterday conferred the award of best crime fighting Governor in Nigeria on Samuel Ortom of Benue State. 

He was among 75 individuals, groups and corporate bodies which received similar awards in several categories at the ceremony which was held at the Sheba Event Center, Ikeja, Lagos.

President of the association, Mr Odita Sunday, stated that the recipients were chosen after careful evaluation of their contributions to the fight against crime in Nigeria in general and their localities in particular.

He stated that Governor Ortom's carrot and stick amnesty program had contributed immensely in mopping up illegal weapons in Benue while his involvement of all the conventional security apparatus in combined onslaught against criminals was exemplary. 

The organizers stated that the non interference of the Governor in criminal investigation of government officials in the state was unprecedented in the annals of Nigerian history.

According to them, his recommendation of ranching as a permanent solution to the herders, farmers incessant clashes was a major contribution to peace efforts in the country just like his engagement with Taraba and Nasarawa counterparts. 

Special Adviser on Media and ICT, Mr Tahav Agerzua, who represented Governor Ortom at the ceremony received the award on his behalf.

Benue State Command Police Commissioner, Mr Bashir Makama, represented by the Police Public Relations Officer, Moses Yamu,received the merit award in Police leadership conferred on his principal.

A daughter of the State, Deputy Controller of Prisons, Lizzie Mwuese Ekpendu, officer in charge, Kirikiri female prison, bagged most outstanding prison officer award.

 

A consortium based in the United Kingdom in collaboration with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporations is to establish an Ethanol plant in Benue State as part of the federal government's renewable energy policy.

Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom made the disclosure on the Radio Benue Current Affairs programme, Issues of the Moment.
He said the stage was set for the signing of an agreement between major stakeholders including the State Government and the Consortium to that effect.

The Governor who said the project would be carried out in collaboration with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, stated that the Consortium was to invest $340 million for the project while feasibility studies had been concluded for its establishment. He said because President Muhammadu Buhari was so passionate about the ethanol project, he had agreed to come to the State to flag it off.

The Governor stated that another foreign company from the United States had also expressed willingness to invest in food processing in the State and that Government had decided to dedicate parts of Gwer West and Agatu Local Government Areas for that purpose. 

He said government had signed Memoranda of Understanding with a lot of foreign investors who had indicated interest to invest in the State, saying his administration was determined to develop the industrial capacity of the State and promote the processing of primary agricultural products in order to boost the economy of the state.

The Governor said Russian investors had also indicated interest to invest in the development of the agriculture in the state and that he had already consented to their request to send representatives to Benue for further interface with the hope that a Memorandum of Understanding would then be signed.

He pointed out that he has continued to keep to the promises he made to the people of Benue State to encourage investment in Small and Medium Enterprises, as well as promote agriculture driven industrialisation in addition to enhancing security.

 

... SAYS CHIEFTAINCY COMMITEE ENCOURAGING CONSENSUS

The committee set by the State government for the implementation of the new chieftaincy law in is encouraging the adoption of the consensus and dialogue approach in the selection of new chiefs.

Governor Ortom made the statement during the program.

He explained that the adoption of the consensus approach was to ensure peace, harmony, and credibility in the selection process.

The Governor said in a situation where the adoption of consensus becomes impossible, the committee would resort to voting, stating that already, a time-table has been released and the actual process would commence next week with the selection of the third class chiefs.

He said as part of efforts to ensure fairness and equity in the implementation of the new law, the committee had organised a mock selection process in the Tiv speaking area as a prelude to the actual selection.

Governor Ortom said due process was followed before the new chieftaincy law came into existence and as such its provisions were sacrosanct and above any other conflicting traditional practice.

He stated that as the Governor, he has the veto power to accept any selection that was fairly and transparently conducted according to the provisions of the law or reject any selection that did not follow due process.

The Governor called on the chiefs to abide by the code of conduct enshrined in the law, warning that anyone who flouted the code would be sanctioned.

Contributing on the matter, State Attorney-General and Justice Commissioner, Mr. Michael Gusa, said the desire of the Ortom administration was to do what the people wanted pointing out that the mock selection was to encourage people to be fair with one another and be their brother’s keeper.

Special Adviser to the Governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Titus Zam, appealed to the people to appreciate and support the good intentions of the Governor for the implementation of the new chieftaincy law in the State.

 

...JUSTIFIES CONSTRUCTION OF CARGO AIRPORT

Governor Ortom has explained why the Cargo Airport earmarked by the immediate past federal administration to be constructed at the Makurdi Airport did not materialise.


Speaking on Radio Benue live programme yesterday he explained that it was considered a security risk to have a Cargo Airport in a military airbase.

According to him, as the then supervising Minister of Aviation, he had an interface with the relevant authorities and was made to understand that the Airforce authorities stopped the project because of its security implications.


Governor Ortom said because the Makurdi Airport is not only a military airport but also headquarters of the nation’s Tactical Air Command, the authorities would not allow foreign airlines to fly in and out of the airport.


He explained that presently, for a commercial or private plane to land at the Makurdi Airport, proper authorisation must first be obtained from the Airforce.

The Governor emphasised that because the Makurdi Airport is not a civil one, there is restricted and limited access for civil or commercial planes due to the risk to military installations there. He restated that the Makurdi Cargo Airport project was a private sector initiative spearheaded by a Chinese Consortium to invest in the economy of the State.

The Governor said said the project was the product of his administration’s advocacy to attract investment and industrialization following which a number of foreign investors were willing to invest in different sectors of the State’s economy.

According to him, the Consortium was committing over N32 billion through the Chinese Exim Bank to fund the Cargo Airport project which would be completed in 36 months, emphasizing that the fund was not a financial commitment of the Benue State Government as was being alleged by critics of the project.

The Governor said the Cargo Airport had received supoort from the people of the State who appreciate the fact that it would turn Benue into a hub of economic activities.

He said it would provide training schools for air transport personnel, housing estates, clinics, shopping malls, road network for moving goods and services as well as jobs and wealth creation opportunities considering that the project site would become a mega city.

Governor Ortom lamented that the project had also received knocks from some critics who he said do not understand or appreciate what international trade entailed, pointing out that such critics were not being fair in assessing the progress the administration was making to salvage the impoverished economy it inherited from its predecessor.

He explained that because the project was sited in Benue State, the Chinese Consortium said it would not be fair for the State not to have a stake in the ownership and after discussing with the State Economic Team, it agreed to give the State Government 15 equity amounting to N5.7 billion.


According to him, the amount would be paid only after the completion of the project and from the dividends that would accrue to government thereof, stressing that at the moment, there was no financial obligation on the government except provision of the enabling environment for the investors.

A new mega layout is to be created by the Benue State Government along Mobile Baracks-Welfare Quarters road in the state capital, Makurdi.

The Government's move is to check arbitrary building of houses in the area without streets, basic infrastructure and other amenities that would meet the minimum comfort of the people.

Governor Samuel Ortom made this known today while on inspection of ongoing construction of roads and streets being rehabilitated within Makurdi metropolis.

He directed the Ministry of Lands to ensure that those who have already started putting up structures on the area stop and such structures pulled down until a proper plan of that part of the state capital is carried out.

The Governor stated that the assessment of the roads and streets was to enable government to be better informed about the quality of jobs being done and the funds required for completion of the work.

Governor Ortom who also inspected facilities at the State Civil Service Commission and School of Nursing, lamented the dilapidated state of the commission and assured that it would be renovated to give the newly constituted members a befitting environment to carryout their duties.

On the School of Nursing and Midwifery which recently regained accreditation after meeting the minimum requirements, the Governor said work will be intensified on the ongoing additional block of offices and hostel to ensure completion within record time.

 

Written by Terna Injua

The young man who rode on a bicycle from Ibadan, Oyo State to Makurdi after completing his National Youth Service, Mr. Isaac Sekav Ahungwa has been offered automatic employment by Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State.

Governor Ortom announced this today when he received Mr. Ahungwa at the Benue Peoples House, Makurdi.

He described the young man as a determined son of the state whose example should be emulated by others.

The Governor said his decision to offer automatic employment to Mr. Ahungwa was to encourage other young people never to give up on their dreams no matter the challenges they face.

Governor Ortom restated the resolve of his administration to create opportunities for youths of Benue State to realise their aspirations in different fields of endeavour.

Speaking earlier, Mr. Isaac Ahungwa said the life story of Governor Ortom inspired him to embark on the patriotism tour riding a bicycle from Ibadan to State.

He commended the Governor for his efforts in addressing the challenges of development confronting the state in spite of the current economic realities.

Let me say this, all over the world economies are being driven by the private sector. Government provides the enabling environment, provides policy, provides regulation and monitors to ensure that these are effective, and also provides security for the investors.

 

Courtesy Call by Handball Federation of Nigeria

Date: November 21, 2016
Venue: Old Banquet Hall, Benue People's House, Makurdi
Time:  11:00 am

 

Courtesy Call by UNDAD

Date: November 21, 2016
Venue: Small EXCO Hall, Benue People's House, Makurdi
Time:  1:00 pm

 

Reception of Cyclist Isaac Sekav by Governor Ortom

Date: November 21, 2016
Venue: Open Space, Benue People's House, Makurdi
Time:  11:30 pm 

 

Signed by

Secretary to Ag. Director of Protocol
(Benue People's House, Makurdi)

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, yesterday assured the core investors in the proposed Ethanol project in the state of enhanced security for their investment.
He gave the assurance at a dinner party and command performance at the New Banquet Hall of the Benue Peoples House in Makurdi.

The former Governor of Benue State, Dr Gabriel Suswam, at the weekend commended his successor, Samuel Ortom, for his resolve to complete the roads he started particularly the Zak-Biam-Afia-Gbeji road.
Dr Suswam spoke at the funeral of Mama Nguyum Mue, mother of Barrister Tera Mue, Legal Adviser of the Makarfi-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the State.
She was laid to rest at Tse Gbayier, Mbakyaha, Tsaav in Ukum local government area of Benue State.
Dr Suswam travelled on the road on his way to the funeral.
The former Governor said the development was an indication that government was a continuous process and urged Governor Ortom to sustain the efforts.
Prominent folksinger in Ukum local government area, Mr Pevikyaa Zegi, 72, also gave Governor Ortom a pat on the back for continuing with projects started by his predecessor.
He spoke in Zaki-Biam where he celebrated the golden jubilee of his career in 2014.
According to Mr Zegi, if previous administrations had demonstrated similar disposition, the state would have gone further in development.
Mr Zegi's career which started in 1964 has been marked by an expression of the aspirations of the people of his area for the provision of critical infrastructure especially roads, portable water and electricity.
The Zaki-Biam - Afia - Gbeji road being constructed by Dantata and Sawoe is at the final stages of completion.
The Ortom administration has invested the N10 billion facility obtained from the federal government in 2016 in the resumption of construction on eleven roads started by the previous administration and two new ones initiated by the present one.