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.

 

Today's Spotlight broadcast on Radio Nigeria network news

 

The much awaited groundbreaking ceremony for the Makurdi Cargo Airport, which took place recently marked the beginning of a new era in the economic life of Benue State. The airport project is a partnership between the Benue State Government and CDC Consortium, as well as Chinese and West African investors. The Makurdi Cargo Airport is sited 28 kilometers north of the Benue State capital. It is projected to be completed in 2020.

It must be stressed that the Benue State Government is not using public funds to build the cargo airport. The project is purely a public sector initiative under a public-private partnership agreement between the investors and the Samuel Ortom administration based on the fact that the private sector drives modern economies world wide.

The government provides the enabling environment through provision of security, policy, monitoring and regulation. While campaigning for election, Governor Ortom had pledged to attract private sector investment to the state to create massive jobs, wealth and opportunities as government at all levels currently lack such capacity.

According to terms of the cargo airport agreement, a consortium of several participants has pooled together N32.3 billion for the project, which represents 85% equity, while the State Government is to provide the remaining N5.7 billion as it's own 15% equity contribution.
The fifteen percent equity will be paid by the State Government from the profit to be generated when the airport begins operations.The 85% funding provided by the consortium is not a loan to the Benue State Government which has granted a 25-year concession agreement for management of the airport to CDC Consortium.

The Ortom administration is sensitive to the plight of the people particularly workers who endure delayed payment of salaries, so it could not have embarked on a capital intensive project such as the airport.
However, the Makurdi Cargo Airport will enhance exportation of farm produce, improve transportation and create thousands of jobs for the people. It will also lead to springing up of industries in the area as well as provide avenue for training of pilots and aircraft engineers.
It will bring about the dualization of roads, massive housing projects, and rapid rural transformation to the host and surrounding communities.

The airport will offer a shift from conventional airports in the country as its designers took into consideration, the export market potentials of Benue, the neighbouring states and passenger volumes projected to grow in future.
Trading in goods contributes significantly to the Gross Domestic Product, GDP of Nigeria. This reality presents states like Benue with the opportunity to use their comparative advantage in agriculture to drive the economy. This is the direction Governor Samuel Ortom is moving.

As the Governor said during the groundbreaking ceremony, the Benue State Government is giving maximum support for the successful completion of the cargo airport believing that when it begins operation, the benefits will be unquantifiable for the people of the state.
With the coming on stream of the cargo airport, the post harvest losses Benue farmers face yearly will be reduced. The possibility of farm produce being exported to Europe, Asia, the Americas and other parts of the world has excited many people in the state.

Between now and 2020 when the project is billed to be completed, the necessary advocacy for increased agriculture production and facilities to enhance the necessary inputs to feed the cargo airport from its locality would be put in place.
Already, the Benue State Bureau of Rural Development and Cooperatives is aggressively constructing and rehabilitating roads in various communities of the state to enable farmers move their produce.

With the Makurdi Cargo Airport and numerous other efforts made by the Samuel Ortom administration, the future of the Benue State economy is guaranteed.
In the face of the current economic recession in the country the opportunities offered by this private sector driven initiative remain irresistible.

By Terna Injua, Harvest FM

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has inaugurated a research centre on malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDs constructed in partnership with the Sustainable Development Goals at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital. He also donated six ambulances and thousands of exercise books and drugs purchased through the same partnership to sole administrators of six councils in the state.

Performing the ceremonies separately, Governor Ortom stated that the centre would provide the information necessary for government to formulate and implement policies that would reduce the diseases prevalence in the state.

He expressed delight that the although the project was initiated by the Federal Government under the 2014/2015 MGDs funding during the last administration it has been completed through the efforts of his administration.

Governor Ortom thanked the Federal Government for choosing Benue among the north central States to cite the project and assured that his administration would support the research centre to achieve the purpose it was established.
Governor Ortom however appealed to the Federal Government to provide the necessary fittings and additional equipment that would make the research centre a real specialist facility.

He equally charged the staff of the Teaching hospital to live up to expectation by providing the best service to patients and carry out research that would be useful to medical knowledge.

On her part, Special Adviser to the Governor on Sustainable Development Goals, Dr. Magdaline Dura expressed appreciation to Governor Ortom for his efforts in attracting projects that would benefit the people. Meamwhile, six local governments in Benue State have benefitted from the Sustainable Development Goals, SGDs, through the provision of referral ambulances, drugs and exercise books. They are Agatu, Oju, Ohimini, Tarka, Gboko and Ushongo.

Handing over the items to the benefitting Local Governments, Governor Ortom warned them not to use the items for commercial purposes but for the reasons they were meant for or face sanctions.

He stated that the commitment of his administration to providing quality health care to the people informed his decision to secure a N5.5 billion facility to pay as matching grant to SDGs and the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, which made it possible for them to provide the items and huge investment in the health and education sectors.

He stated that already, 18 primary health centers across the state were at various stages of completion under the 2015 MDGs/SDGs with modern equipment, furniture and consumables being provided.

In the area of water and sanitation, Governor Ortom said 18 solar powered boreholes have been completed and put to use in different part of the state while several others are undergoing construction in various places.

In her remark, the Special Adviser to the Governor on SDGs and NEPAD, Dr Magdalene Dura thanked the Governor for timely release of counterpart funds and assured that more of SDGs programmes would be executed across the twenty three Local Government areas.

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, yesterday disclosed that promotions always followed each time the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, visited the state.

He spoke during a session at which the Christian leader ministered to top government officials and other citizens at the New Banquet Hall of the Benue Peoples House, in Makurdi.Governor Ortom stated that he believed that Benue State would be uplifted from one level to another after the current visit pointing out that divine intervention in the state after its dedication to God in May this year had contributed to reduction in crime and enabled his administration to record several milestones.

According to him he and his wife were taking a walk down a street at the lowest ebb of their lives when they were attracted to one of the church buildings of the denomination and went in to worship and thereafter have witnessed one uplifting after another in their lives following that encounter.
He said after he made up his mind to run for the governorship of the state he approached the General Overseer who also confirmed that it was the will of God who would make his victory possible.

In his short address, Pastor Adeboye stated that the theme of his visit which was Divine Encounter was predicated on several experiences of individuals, families, cities and whole nations in the Bible.

He referred to the experiences of Moses, Abraham, Jericho and Israel who never remained the same after they had divine encounters with God and predicted that Benue State would also never be the same after the program.

Wife of the General Overseer, Pastor Folu Adeboye and other officials of the church have accompanied him on the visit.