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.

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has urged Nigerians to team up in the fight against the twin evils of corruption and child abuse.

He spoke when the Minister of Women affairs, Hajia Aisha Jumai Alhassan paid a courtesy call on him at the Benue Peoples House today. 

"We must team up to fight the cankerworm called corruption, it's not just the duty of Mr. President and anti-graft bodies," he stated.

Governor Ortom described child marriage as an abuse which the people must fight and stop.

"Where tradition is not helping us, we will help tradition," he said.

On obnoxious traditional practices against widows, the Governor disclosed that the state government was working on a law to prevent such pointing out that husbands and wives were life partners and that one party must not be subjected to further pain in the event of the loss of the other.

He pledged to ensure the upgrading the state the existing juvenile court in accordance with the request of the Minister.

Governor Ortom also assured that the state government will pay counterpart funding to be able to access the matching grant from the financial inclusion programme of the ministry.

Earlier, the Minister, Haha Alhassan had requested collaboration with her ministry in the fight against early child marriage as well as the prosecution of various social investment programmes.

"We the All Progressives Congress, APC, family are very proud of you for doing a good job quietly and we commend you for taking care of the women, the disabled and vulnerable," she stated.

On Tuesday, 29th November, 2016, Governor Samuel Ortom granted audience to a team of the management staff of National Mirror newspapers. Below are excerpts from the interactive session.


How have you been able to bridge the gap between promises made and the reality now?


We’re keeping faith with our promises to the people in our government and so far, so good, we’re in touch with the people and in spite of the recession we have today in our country and Benue State is also affected. We’re not able to pay salaries as at when due. Our wage bill is N7.8 billion on average in a month and since August last year we’ve been receiving an average of N4 billion, though once in a while we have interventions like the bailout funds, like the infrastructure fund, like LNG fund that came in. But that is where we are. You may recall that we did promise that for us we’ll ensure that we industrialize the state to ensure value addition to our primary products, and then we’ll promote micro, small and medium scale enterprises we’ll also promote and develop trading and commercial activities within the state. Most importantly, we’ll attract investments into Benue State and so far, so well. We came and met a very distressed situation on ground, one, the economy was bad, arrears of salaries were owed, arrears of pensions were owed, and arrears of gratuities were pending. When you put these things together it amounted to over N69 billion. It’s unprecedented in the history of our state and we inherited a deficit treasury, even our accounts overdrafts were hanging on them and so it was a very difficult thing taking off. Worse of all was the issue of security. Security for lives and property is the primary responsibility of every reasonable government. We took over a government and inherited an insecure state and armed robbery, kidnappings and killings, assassinations and several other crimes were going on in the state. But by the grace of God, God gave us the wisdom to introduce an amnesty program. First of all we applied the carrot approach when we pleaded with the criminals and the response was massive. More than 700 assorted weapons were recovered from these hoodlums and more than 900 of them came up to surrender to the amnesty program.  Today we’re applying the stick approach; the amnesty program is in two folds, the carrot and stick approaches. So after the expiration of the period we gave for the carrot approach we introduced the stick approach and today you can see that our state is relatively calm. We’ve been able to reduce criminality to its barest minimum and people are going about their normal duties because we knew that no investor would come to invest in Benue State in an insecure environment. We knew that no commercial or trading activities or the development of micro, small and medium scale enterprises or industrializing the state to realize our dream for an industrialized state would thrive in a state of insecurity. We appreciate God that we’ve been able to come this far and we believe that moving forward becomes very easy and there is an influx of investors coming into the state. As at today several investors have come from Europe, from America, from Asia, and we are providing the enabling environment because we believe that with these kinds of efforts we’ll turn the state from a civil service economy to an industrialized economy that will drive the system. Currently the state is more of civil servants who are driving the economy and when salaries are not paid it becomes a very big issue in this place. So we want to take people away from that. Now that the Federal Government is faced with reality and a recession has been declared in the entire country for us we believe that it’s an opportunity to look outside the box of government and begin to be creative and innovative. For now, we’re taking advantage of areas where we have comparative advantage. For us in Benue State, as the Food Basket of the Nation, we want to not just feed Nigeria; we want to feed Africa because we have the capacity. We have no business importing rice. If the opportunities that we have here in Benue State are harnessed properly rice production alone we can hit N1.5 metric tons right here because the population is there, the land is there, and we have water. All the advantages are there for us, it’s just the will and the technical support that the people need. Of course, once the market is also created and farmers are able to break even as it’s happening now and our people are really excited, I’ll tell you the truth, an average farmer here is excited with the change program of the APC. They’re very excited, they’re happy with Mr. President, they’re happy with me because for the first time in the history of this state people are getting returns on their investment in farming. I’m a typical farmer and for a very long time it was difficult for me to sell a sack of rice for N8 thousand, they gave me six to seven thousand at harvest. Today, I’ll tell you, the benefit is great. Last year’s harvest, I was able to sell mine at N15 thousand but the other people who had little patience after I sold mine the following week it went to N32 thousand and I calculated 1, 500 bags and I was losing N25 million. We have the capacity for the production of soyabeans, it’s massive and sesame seed, and several others, of course yam which is the traditional product of Benue State. It’s massive, all that is needed it to put processing factories that can add value to these primary products. Because we’ve secured the state today investors are coming and we’re very excited. Because of the challenge we have in the payment of salaries we initiated this year again that even the civil servants should go to farm and today our civil servants almost all of them are farmers. We declared Fridays work free day in July and August for planting and for harvesting November, December, January, we’ve also declared Friday work free day for civil servants, except those on essential services. If you go to our villages todayyou’ll see that people have really taken the advice of government and they’re working very hard on their farms and we expect a bountiful harvest this year. If people need food they should just come to Benue State.


Do you have any program to scale up the production in the agriculture sector and also provide storage facilities?


Yes, there is. All those things are on the line, we’re being proactive. For this year’s budget we had over N800 million for the construction of earth dams in order to give opportunity to our people to do dry season farming. We also had about N900 million for land clearing because if we must go into commercial agriculture, we must clear the land. We also made provision for the purchase of 60 tractors with all the implements on them and we’ve made a wonderful arrangement for the procurement and supply of fertilizers, working with the businessmen and supplying it directly to our farmers. We pay subsidy to the businessmen but the business supply directly to the farmers. With all these in place and of course the issue of storage and off taking in the event that prices fall, because we want to maintain and sustain the tempo, we want to engage our people, we decided to work towards getting the Benue Investment and Property Company, BIPC, which is an agency of government that handles investment activities to establish marketing boards which will be off takers of all products that are not bought immediately at good prices so that our farmers will continue to be encouraged to do more. In the area of education we’ve been able to keep to our promise. We did promise that for us show us your level of education and we’ll show you the level of your development and so education is a priority of this administration. We want to make our tertiary institutions strong; at the secondary level we want to make it stronger and to make it strongest at the primary level because that is the foundation. When we came teachers were on strike we had to talk to them to come back. Apart from that we have secured the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, funding after paying the counterpart funding, put together its N7.6 billion. We’re doing massive renovation and construction of new classroom blocks and we’re massively providing learning aids to our primary schools. We have also embarked on training of teachers. This year alone we were able to train 10, 000 primary school teachers and 6,000 others at the secondary school level and it’s a periodic thing that we’ll continue to do because we believe that building their capacities will make them more effective in handling our children to acquire knowledge. At the secondary school level too we’re making the environment more conducive by renovating most of our secondary schools and also planning to give back to some of the original owners of the schools, the missionaries and private people because government does not have the capacity to continue so let the private people do it. We set up a committee, they’ve completed their work and we’re working on the white paper. All these things we believe will strengthen the system. At the tertiary level especially the Benue State University because of the priority attention that we have given to education because we believe that even if you’re not able to bequeath anything to your children as parents you’ve given them everything. The Benue State University in particular, the other institutions too we’re supporting them to continue to operate but Benue State University it is connected to almost all the families in Benue State and we’re not joking with it. Despite the fact that we’re not able to pay salaries as at when due, Benue State University we’ve been able to pay them up to date as I talk to you. There are challenges about some allowances but it’s understood. This is where we are and since coming on board Benue State University used to have some challenges especially with the College of Health Sciences. For 12 years medical doctors were not graduated from that school until we came on board. We were able to fulfill all the conditions for the accreditation and the team came and did the accreditation and as I talk to you we have graduated up to four batches of medical doctors from the Benue State University. We also met the Schools of Nursing and Midwifery which accreditation was withdrawn for over four years. We went into it, injected money and we were able to fulfill the conditions and we have been reaccredited and so today we’ve advertised for admission of students. For four years admissions were not done in those schools so we’ve been able to do this. Likewise the College of Health Technology Agasha we believe that early next year we shall have accreditation and our children will return there. We’ve been able to support the NKST School of Nursing and Midwifery, their accreditation was withdrawn too, it has been restored. These are efforts that we’ve made in the health sector. For health services we’re working closely with development partners and they’re really supporting us. Of recent we were able to pay our counterpart funding of N1.2 billion to the Sustainable Development Goals and they matched it with another N1.2 and we have massively provided some health facilities at the rural level to be handed over to the Primary Health Care Board which has taken off and it remains the process of the integration of local government staff transferred to the board that we’re working on. We’ve been able to secure $1.5 million grant from the Federal Ministry of Health and the process of utilizing it is on. Our intention is to provide primary health facilities for our rural people so that they benefit. Apart from the health services the Sustainable Development Goals are providing water, skills acquisition centers, and orange packaging, garri and rice processing plants. On our own the Ministry of Works and Bureau for Rural Development are massively providing roads for our people in various villages. Because of paucity of funds we’re not able to say we’ll tar all of them but at least construction of bridges and culverts and then opening and lateriting of these roads and making them accessible to our peasant farmers and all that is being done and it’s been welcome by the people. We’re also providing electricity and reaching out to them and the communities are really excited about these things that we’ve undertaken in this regard. I tell you the truth that it has been difficult getting funding because like I said we have a wage bill of N7.8 billion and we’re getting an average of N4 billion and our internally generated revenue is around N250 million it becomes a very big challenge solving all these problems. 


What about your promise of accountability, transparency and recovery of looted funds?


I’ve kept faith with those promises. When I came in the transition committee did their work and I was not satisfied and they also recommended that we should set up a commission of inquiry which we did. It was headed by a sound judge of the Benue State judiciary. It gave opportunity to all that had issues because we didn’t want to witch hunt anyone but wanted the facts to be unveiled. That was done and the commission recommended that due to time factor they were not able to conclude investigation on some alleged N44 billion diversion so we should probe it further. But they recommended that N107 billion should be refunded by the former governor and his team, about 52 of them. So far, we’ve been able to recover about N355 million for a contractor who collected money and disappeared so he brought it back into the treasury while the other ones are dragging. I think about 29 of them out of the 52 took us to court and they have been losing almost all the cases. I think to the best of my knowledge only one won on technical grounds but we’ve gone on appeal that it’s not right, they must refund it. We’ve also petitioned to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, and even the police. We decided to get the police involved to do some independent prosecution and that is on-going. Many people have been arrested and a lot of things have been unveiled even beyond what was in the contents of the commission’s report. There’s no going back, we must recover all these have looted funds. I tell you we’re committed to our promises. we are constantly reminded of what we told our people. We said we were going to lead with the fear of God and we’ll ensure honesty, justice, fairness, accountability, selflessness, integrity into government, discipline, and we’ll be selfless in the course of our service. So we have kept faith with these. Everything we do is transparent. Today even our inability to pay salaries as at when due workers are not on strike because they appreciate the fact that we’re transparent. Every fund that comes from the federation account and the IGR is put on the table and they’ve been deliberately included in the sharing committee. They are so everybody sees it and that has brought a lot of peace and harmony and understanding with the labor unions. So I can assure you that we’re keeping faith with these. Honestly I must say that despite the challenges the people too appreciate that I’m open to them.


The state government was said to have secured a N10 billion infrastructure facility, we want to find out…

That is what I said, you’ll recall that I did say we receive an average of N4 billion from the federation account but we had interventions like the infrastructure loan which we received from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, through the federal government, the bailout funds, N28 billion which we used in settling four months arrears. At the state level we had N12.5 billion and because of the screening method we adopted, we were able to save up to N1.6 billion and we injected it back into the treasury. At the local government level because of the screening method we adopted we were able to save up to N1.3 billion and it’s currently in the account though it has been garnished by some Taraku Mills staff but we have made an appeal and we believe that when this money comes out we’ll pay back to workers. So the N10 billion was allocated for infrastructure and we had already given it out to the various critical infrastructure that were needed in the state. We’ve been able to call back all the contractors who were on site but because of lack of funding they abandoned all these projects and so we recalled them. Right now in the three senatorial districts of the state massive work is going on. Some of them are near completion and they will soon be commissioned. Some of them are ongoing. We were able to channel some of the monies for rural development as I told you; specifically it went for infrastructure in the state, so that is it. 


You were in China, we want to find out about the visit, what has it brought?


We were in China, we held a business forum and then signed Memorandum of Understanding, MOUs, with many companies and organizations. Some have visited us twice and some are doing their due diligence and some have indicated interest in one or two areas. As you are aware the Chinese government made available over N64 billion to develop Africa and the opportunities are there but it’s not something that can just happen overnight. Due diligence is going on as I speak to you and I believe that at the end we should have something to put on the table.
What’s your relationship with local governments here and the idea of abolishing the joint account structure?
I don’t think we operate joint account in Benue State. The local government is completely independent from the state in terms of funding. The federation account specifies what goes to the local governments and what comes to the state. What I’ve done as Governor since I came in was to abolish the project account that was operated between local governments and the state. I decided that that one should go. Local governments should know what is good for them and they should fund themselves and all monies accruing to the local governments should go to them so they sit and decide what to do with their money. I don’t interfere with them but as Governor I once in a while advise them. If things are going wrong I have the duty to advise them and to ensure that prudence is ensured.


How have you been able to tackle the incessant clashes between farmers and herdsmen in your state?


This is as a result of commitment and sincerity. This peace you are witnessing todayhas come because of commitment and sacrifices from the state security council and the people of the state who stood by me to ensure that we resolve this matter. Our position is very clear that the way out of this quagmire of herdsmen and farmers is to ranch the cattle. Global best practice is that cattle are ranched. There’s nowhere in the world including parts of Africa that you continue grazing the cattle which stop vehicles right on Ahmadu Bello way in Abuja in the city. You have cattle going to the airport and trying to cause problems to flights. You have cattle going into peoples’ farms, this is not allowed elsewhere. You ranch your cattle. That is the position of the Benue state government and the people. We have no land for grazing and our land is for farming. In some other states where they have idle lands they can allow this but for Benue state the best option is ranching. But you see I’ve always said that this is something that requires understanding. The nomads all their life for decades, they have lived that wild life of grazing and all that, not appreciating the fact that the population is growing and the land is decreasing and so these are illiterates that require education, require to be informed of the happenings globally. I’m not sure the man in the jungle knows what is happening around the world, how the towns are expanding, more of people, more schools, more hospitals, more clinics, more roads, more of these things. So there is decreasing land for grazing now that we have a recession and the need to diversify the economy especially the focus on agriculture there’s almost no more land again except you encroach. Anywhere you take your cattle you encroach on somebody’s farm. So I believe that the state and federal government will have to think together, work out a modality to support and assist herdsmen to ranch their cattle. If you leave it on their own they will not have the capacity because ranching will require infrastructure, will require new methods of raising these cattle and so you must give them some kind of induction, you must stimulate them by supporting them, providing certain incentives that will attract them to it. I know they will be better off for it because they will stay in decent houses, they will drink better water, they will eat better food, their children will go to school and the cattle will benefit. In my farm in Makurdi here when you go there I’m ranching my cattle. I’ve domesticated grass cutters, I’ve domesticated rabbits, I’ve domesticated pigs so these are things that can be done. It’s just to summon the will and look forward that we’ll get to it.


Benue is known for a very vibrant culture in Nigeria, is there any strategic plan to promote tourism in the state generally?


We have done that. We have a development plan spanning 10 years, the first of its kind that we are doing for the state, and culture and tourism is a major component. If you ask me three areas where we have comparative advantage I’ll tell you agriculture, number one, then solid minerals is there then the third one will be culture and tourism. There are other areas too. So we’re working out a strategy just that funding has been a problem, security used to be a problem too but today with the stability we believe that investors will come.


From 250 million IGR in your state, you moved it to N500. How did you do it?


Well I set up the board of the Benue State Internal Revenue Service. At the initial stage they were able to do that, more strength, more vigor, more commitment and more zeal. But as we went on the challenge was that people started resisting. You know people, our people don’t like to pay tax, no we will not pay, no we will not pay and so they started resisting and you know as a listening government and a democratically elected one you begin to retract. You have a limit to how far you can go with the people especially when they are trying to cast aspersions about you and the government you try to mellow down.

 

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has provided land for the establishment of the Digital Bridge Institute in the state.

Special Adviser on Media and ICT, Mr. Tahav Agerzua, made the disclosure during a stakeholders’ meeting with officials of the National

Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, at the Old Banquet Hall of the Benue Peoples House today.

Mr. Agerzua stated that Governor Ortom had already written a letter inviting officials of the Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC, to come and inspect the land sequel to the commencement of activities for the takeoff of at the institute.

He said the land was large enough for a university should the Commission choose to establish one or upgrade the institute to that status.

According to the Special Adviser, the Governor also approached the organization to help him resuscitate the 52 knowledge centers spread across the state.

Director General of the Agency who was represented by Dr. Femi Adeluyi, expressed excitement that the Benue State executive council has already bought into the development of Information and Communication Technology, ICT in the state.

He said with the approval of the bill for the establishment of the Benue Information and Technology Development Agency, BITDA, he was convinced that it would be easy for the state not only to fashion out an ICT policy but also to implement same.

Executive officer, International Operations, of Wesa ComServe, Mr. Pius Bakare, stated that the forum was convened to enable stakeholders make inputs into the state’s ICT policy.

Heads of ICT in all tertiary institutions in the state attended as well as officials of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology attended the meeting.

 

 

 

More than 1,000 applicants today wrote the aptitude test for admission into the Benue State School of Nursing, Makurdi which regained accreditation through the efforts of Governor Samuel Ortom.

The test was held today at the premises of the institution in Makurdi.

Director of Nursing Services at the Ministry of Health, Mrs. Rose Adobe disclosed that 1, 065 applicants bought forms the sales of which lasted for two weeks.

She explained that in the past the exercise lasted for two months but it was shortened this time in order to meet the 2016/17 academic session.

“The response is overwhelming and I’m happy that our people have responded in this magnitude with a new consciousness that they’ll get nothing reasonable without education,” she stated.

“I want to sincerely appreciate the almighty God for His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Benue State, Dr. Samuel Ortom, who has come to our aid. We were like sheep without shepherd for four years.”

Mrs. Abobe expressed gratitude to God that she would retire as a fulfilled person

“I want to thank God for removing shame from my head because by God’s grace I’ll be retiring next year November, and God has come to my aid through the Governor who has transformed the school, we have accreditation and life is going to start bubbling on the compound again.”

Principal of the school, Mrs. Pauline Atser, also attributed the reopening of the institution to Governor Ortom and pledged that the test would be conducted with integrity in the consciousness that the nursing profession was concerned with human life.

“With the powerful efforts of Governor Ortom our school has regained accreditation and the embargo on admission was lifted this year by October,” she said.

“We’re going to do the test today and we hope that it’s going to be conducted with the highest integrity, right from the word go we know that we’re dealing with lives and so it’s not like any other entrance examination.”

Messrs Mhange Moses Mchivga and Onah Grace Ene who responded for the applicants pledged to abide by the rules and regulations governing the aptitude test and expressed appreciation to the Governor for the opportunity given to them through the opening of the school.

summit2

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom says 60% of the loans the State Government has secured to boost agriculture and other commercial activities are to be allocated to female entrepreneurs.

Governor Ortom announced this today in Makurdi, while declaring open the First Benue Women Economic Summit organised by the Eunice Spring of Life Foundation, a pet project of his wife, Dr.Eunice.

He stated for instance, that the disbursement of the Bank of Industry loans which the State Government has obtained through partnership with the bank, will be disbursed with the understanding that women are better managers of resources.

Governor Ortom therefore urged Benue women to take advantage of the enabling environment and other opportunities created by his administration such as the loan facilities offered by the Central Bank of Nigeria, Bank of Industry and Bank of Agriculture in order to add value to themselves and the state economy.

He reaffirmed the commitment of his administration to the development of women, saying that any society which empowers its women reaps immense benefits from such investment.

The Governor praised his wife Dr. Eunice for the enormous contributions she had made over the years and for standing by him during difficult times.

Governor Ortom added that he is proud of his wife for complementing the efforts of his government in many laudable ways and promised to support her initiatives.

Earlier, Dr. Eunice Ortom who also commended her husband for being a great leader and family man, said she had received tremendous inispiration from the Governor.

Mrs. Ortom said the First Benue Women Economic Summit had become necessary to help women of the state to identify areas of their strength in entrepreneurship. She added that her organization, the Eunice Spring of Life Foundation, ESLF, would not relent in its efforts at giving bearing to the less privileged.

 

By Charles Iornumbe, Radio Benue

First Benue Women Economic Summit

Date:    November 29, 2016
Venue: Sheraton International Hotels, Makurdi
Time:  08:00 am

Commissioning and Dedication of Victoria Atorough Tyough Complex

Date:    November 29, 2016
Venue: Atorough Tyough Complex, Makurdi
Time:   09:00 am

 

Signed by

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

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?