The Benue axPeople Of Conscience, B-POC has berated the Federal Government for blocking Benue’s N56bn meant for payment of workers salaries and pensioners entitlements.
The B-POC has asked the FG to release to the state government the last tranche of the Paris club refund of about N14.9 billion as done to other states.
In a statement by the Chairman of the group, John Orshio and Secretary, Tersoo Iorbee, among others, said “Ordinarily, we would not have made any comments, but the situation when it looks like the Federal Government is throwing spanners in the works of the political wheels of the administration of Governor Samuel Ortom and by extension, Benue State and its people, has reached an unprecedented level.
“The situation where, Government would block Benue state from accessing the N41.39 billion loan approved by Benue State House of Assembly, to pay salaries of workers and pensions is uncalled for.
“In the event that the loan is approved, we are aware that Governor Samuel Ortom has put in place machinery that will ensure that all those being owed salaries and pensions are paid to reduce their hardship. On the other hand the N41 billion loan is not a fresh loan, but actually a revalidation of the N69 billion loan that was approved in 2015 and at that time, out of the total amount, only N28 billion was released.”
The group noted that other states also applied for the funds in 2015 to cushion the effect of the recession, “however, the Federal Government has blocked Benue from accessing it. Although states, including Kogi State had received the balance of the bailout initially requested for, Benue is yet to access it, for political reasons.
“We also understand that for political reasons, some highly placed persons in the state have backed the actions of the Federal Government, for their own selfish gains, thus further impoverishing the people of the state.
“B-POC is aware that the pull-Ortom-down syndrome is being engaged to discredit him before the people of the state. It is also a plot to ensure that Governor Ortom does not emerge Senator of Benue North-West senatorial district, come 2023.”
While urging the Federal Government to release the funds to build the people’s confidence, the B-POC warned Benue sons “whose stock-in-trade is to pull down other politicians for pecuniary gains to desist from the act or risk facing the law of karma in the near future. For avoidance of doubt, we would like to inform the Federal Government that all monies of state belong to the people and as such, it should not be seen to extend favours to its favourites and exclude those perceived to be its enemies.”