Ortom vows to recover all stolen funds
Ortom said this after receiving the report of the Justice Elizabeth Kpojime commission of inquiry, which looked into the activities of past administrations in the state.
“You can appreciate that over N1 trillion came to the state within the space of eight years but about over N200 billion was not accounted for. You can then begin to see why we have salary arrears, pensions and gratuity running into billions.”
He expressed his desire to change the state’s fortunes with recovered funds stolen from the state.
Ortom said, “We want to pay salaries, we want to pay pensioners their money, we want to pay gratuity and we want to fulfill our contractual obligations, including the ones we inherited.
“We need rural roads, we need electricity, we want our hospitals to work, and we want our schools to be functional. This is where this money will go. So we must recover it by the grace of God.”
He said there would be no plea bargain or political settlement for anyone who had illegally taken the state’s money.
“If you can make refund, I have no case against you. If you said you took N10 billion and you refund the N10 billion, I will tell you to go and sin no more. But where you did not, this is when I will have problem with you,” Ortom stated.
The Benue State governor said, “These challenges have become more acute in the face of dwindling fortunes of Nigeria’s economy as a result of falling oil prices. As things stand today, governments at all levels have a herculean task of fulfilling their obligations hence the need to think beyond the box to diversify the economy to boost internally generated revenue.
“We must sincerely return to agriculture with emphasis on processing and the entire value chain as a way of boosting our economy. Our government has put in place ingenious initiatives to boost agricultural production as listed in the 2016 budget. We must also provide the necessary infrastructure to boost our rural economy.
“To this end, the Ministry of Works and Transport shall be given the additional mandate of Power and Energy as a way of refocusing on needed power supply for our economic development and emancipation. The ministry shall become Ministry of Works, Transport and Energy.”