BY AMOS DUNIA, ABUJA – Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has shock at the decision by All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government to recall the final tranche of his state share of the Paris Club refund.
Ortom however expressed hope that the unwarranted decision will be reversed in the interest of workers and retirees of the state and therefore appealed to the people of the state to remain calm.
This was contained in a statement by Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Terver Akase, who quoted his principal as having said that plans had been concluded to start paying workers’ salaries and pensions with the fund before the sudden recall.
Akase explained that following Governor Ortom’s directive to the state ministry of Finance, payment of salaries, pensions and gratuities was set to commence on Tuesday, only for the people to wake up with the demoralizing news of the Federal Government’s recall of the funds from the state’s accounts.
In his words; “We hope this latest move is not part of the ongoing witch-hunt of the state. Benue people have already suffered enough impunity and attacks.
“We also hope that the withdrawal order was made in error, because the said funds are not grants from the Federal Government.
“This was a refund of funds the Federal Government has been owing Benue over the years, so they shouldn’t make it look as though they had given the state a loan or a grant.”
Akase said Governor Ortom expressed optimism that the Nigerian Governor’s Forum (NGF), will meet and take a common and beneficial position on the matter.