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Ortom expresses readiness to waive immunity, face trial


Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom

APC has taken EFCC’s job, says aide
Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, has expressed his readiness to waive his executive immunity and face prosecution, if need be, for the criminal allegations against him.

At a thanksgiving mass organised for him by the Isherev and Utyondu communities in Guma and Makurdi councils yesterday at St. Francis Mission in Daudu, he said the current smear campaign against him by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state indicated that the opposition party had nothing to tell the people ahead of the general elections.

Ortom described as baseless allegations that he defrauded the state government to fund his private businesses.The governor explained that the expansion of the business conglomerate which he established before he became governor was funded from bank loans.“Before I became governor, I was an established industrialist. Though I no longer manage the companies which I set up, they are being expanded from loans obtained from various financial institutions, and the records are there,” he stressed.He described as false and mischievous allegations from leaders of a political party that he had diverted public funds into his private businesses in Nigeria and abroad.

The recent utterances of APC leaders in Benue State, he asserted, showed that the opposition is bereft of ideas to win votes in the coming elections. Ortom denied setting up any business abroad and stated that he might take legal action against those who made the allegations.

In his sermon, Rev. Fr. Barnabas Shaagee, admonished Christians to involve Jesus Christ in all their endeavours, so that he would contribute positively in their lives, like he did at the wedding in Cana.

However, his chief press secretary, Terver Akase, has expressed shock over the plan by the federal government to question the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) flag-bearer, Atiku Abubakar, who just returned from the United States. Akase, in a statement yesterday, described such move as a confirmation that the anti-graft agency has not only lost its neutrality but also conceded its constitutional role to the APC.

Information minister, Lai Mohammed, had reportedly vowed that the federal government would interrogate Atiku on his return frum the U.S.According to Akase, the move by APC leadership to interrogate Atiku shows that the Muhammadu Buhari administration is clearly on a voyage of misplaced priorities while also usurping functions of the country’s institutions, which ought to be independent.

“EFCC is now the witch-hunt tool in the hand of APC selectively unleashed on opponents of the government in power. This is contrary to the EFCC Act of 2004, which emphasises that the commission treats all persons and cases it investigates without bias or prejudice.”“We are confident that the current attempt by the Buhari administration to smear the reputation of Atiku Abubakar will end as another vain chase like the previous ones,”Akase noted.

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Samuel Ortom
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