Group accuses FG of blocking Benue government from accessing N41bn loan – The Sun Nigeria

By Rose Ejembi, Makurdi

A group under the Benue People of Conscience (B-POC) umbrella has accused the federal government of blocking the Benue state government from accessing the N41.39 billion loan approved by the State House of Assembly, to pay workers’ salaries and pensions.

The group further accused the federal government of throwing a spoke in the political wheels of the administration of local state governor Samuel Ortom and, by extension, Benue state and its people.

In a statement co-signed by its president, John Orshio and
Secretary, Tersoo Iorbee, the group has urged the Federal Government to ensure that the N41.39 billion loan, together with the final tranche of Paris Club repayments of around N14.9 billion which has been withdrawn by the Federal Government be paid to the Benue State Government to pay workers’ pensions and wages.

“We have watched with keen interest the political scenario unfolding in Benue State for some time now and have found it necessary that we lend our voice to some burning issues for the sake of posterity.

“Normally we would not have commented, but the situation where it appears the Federal Government is throwing a spoke in the political wheels of the administration of Benue State Governor, His Excellency, Samuel Ortom and by extension, Benue State and its people, has reached an unprecedented level.

The group, while describing the development as a political persecution of Governor Ortom by the federal government, said that while the federal government had a problem with Governor Ortom, it should not have allowed such issues to affect the good people of Benue State. are currently facing many challenges, including attacks by armed herdsmen on the population, which has left an estimated 2 million people displaced in camps across the state.

“The situation where the government would prevent Benue State from accessing the N41.39 billion loan approved by the Benue State Legislative Assembly, to pay workers wages and pensions is unwarranted.

“In the event that the loan is approved, we know that Governor Samuel Ortom has put in place a mechanism that will ensure that all those who owe salaries and pensions are paid to reduce their hardship.

The group noted that the N41 billion loan is not a new loan, but in fact a revalidation of the N69 billion loan which was approved in 2015, of which only N28 billion has been released so far. that time.

“Other states also requested the bailout, which the federal government decided to grant to states in 2015 to cushion the effect of the recession and allow them to pay unpaid wages and pensions.”

The group lamented that while some states, including Kogi State, have received the balance of the originally requested bailout, Benue is not yet able to access it, for political reasons, as the federal government has blocked Benue from accessing the funds. .

“We also understand that for political reasons, some people in high places in the state supported the actions of the federal government, for their own selfish gains, thereby further impoverishing the people of the state.

“B-POC is aware that the pull-Ortom-down syndrome is hired to discredit him in front of the people of the state. It is also a plot to ensure that Governor Ortom does not emerge as a senator from the Benue North West senatorial constituency, by 2023.

“Benue People of Conscience wishes to warn those sons of Benue whose business it is to shoot down other politicians for pecuniary gain to desist from this act or risk facing the law of karma in the near future”, the statement reads in part.

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