Benue APC\PDP Disagree Over N43 Billion Debt Profile

Benue State Governor, Mr Samuel Ortom.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue State has lashed out on some of its members for applauding Governor Samuel Ortom’s performance, which it described as abysmal, despite a debt of N43 billion in four months.

State Vice Chairman of the party, Tsetim Ayargwer, accused Governor Ortom of poor performance considering the N10 billion loan, supplementary budgets of N13.9 billion and the recent bail out funds of N28.5 billion, wondering why “the governor is still owing state civil servants”.

The party also alleged politically motivated probe and witch-hunting of former Governor Gabriel Suswam and called for a probe of the administration of former governor, George Akume from 1999-2007.

However, Senior Special Adviser to the Governor on Media, Terver Akase, alleged that the PDP led the state into indebtedness, adding that the party got its facts mixed up while crying blue murder after the defeat it suffered at the April general elections.

Governor Ortom had last week last week convened the first ever Benue stakeholders forum to discuss his administration’s performance and allow for inputs from participants.

Governor Ortom also gave reasons for not probing Senator George Akume’s tenure as governor, which has made the opposition PDP to demand a holistic probe from 1999 to date.

Governor Ortom said his government has received the N28.5 billion bailout fund and would commence payment once it completes its staff audit.

Benue State In Trade Agreement With The Gambia

BenueGovernor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State has taken advantage of being a member of Nigeria’s delegation, led by Vice President Namadi Sambo to the Gambia 50th independence anniversary, to attract investment and trade opportunities to the agrarian state of Benue.

The Governor, in company of Benue State officials met with President Yahaya Jameh of the Gambia where both parties held discussion on wide range of investment opportunities.

While Governor Suswam hoped to attract the attention of the Gambian government to the abundant agricultural opportunities in Benue State, with well documented facts of its natural resources, the Gambia is interested in developing more trade in Nigeria.

Suswam listed key areas of business interest to Benue State in the Gambia as he presented the country’s President with a brochure of Benue resources and investment opportunities.

The visibly impressed Gambian President took interest in Mr Suswam’s presentation, when he invited the Governor and Nigerian businessmen to  also invest in the Gambian agriculture sector.

Governor Gabriel Suswam was in company of senior government officials at the office of the Gambian President in Banjul, the country’s capital.

Sam Ode Declares For Benue Governorship

Sam OdeFormer Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs and a governorship aspirant in Benue State, Dr. Sam Ode, has promised to fix the basic education sector challenges if elected Governor of Benue State.

While declaring his ambition to be governor come may 2015, Dr Sam Ode listed education, agriculture, cottage industries, health care and local government reforms as key sectors he would use to transform the state.

The governorship aspiration of Dr Sam Ode on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, is considered favourable and capable of fixing the infrastructural and social needs of the state among the 18 aspirants seeking to replace Governor Gabriel Suswam.

This was evident as the former minister arrived the IBB Square for his formal declaration amidst rousing ovation from his supporters.

Leaders from the three senatorial zones of Benue State, Salem Astehe, Ioryue Yajir and Sunday Onehi, also brought endorsement messages from their people.

Political watchers say Dr Sam Ode is considered a bridge between the two most dominant tribes in Benue State, the Tiv and Idoma, hence the dominant support he seems to be enjoying.

Nigeria Labour Congress Suspends Strike In Benue

nlc The Benue State Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has suspended its industrial action embarked by works in the state over deductions in their monthly salaries, in order to pave way for discussions between the government and Labour.

With determination to end the strike, Governor Gabriel Suswam, convened an emergency meeting with executive members of the congress, where he appealed to workers to return to the discussion table for amicable settlement of issues at hand.

The meeting later went into a closed door discussion among government officials led by the State Head Of Service and NLC state chairman,Comrade Simon Anchaver.

In a communique issued at the end of discussions amongst the parties, a committee is to be constituted to discuss the dispute in question and arrive at an amicable solution within one month.

Reading the communique on the outcome of the meeting, the Labour Chairman announced the suspension of the strike  and other agreements arrived at the meeting.



Tiv, Fulani Clash: Most Marauding Herdsmen Are Not Fulani

Terver-AkparA lecturer with the Department of Political Science, Benue State University, Dr Terver Akpar, says most of the people involved in the attack of Tiv people in Benue State are not Fulani people as portrayed.

Mr Akpar told Channels Television on Monday that there has been disinformation about the true origin of the persons marauding Tiv dwellers in the name of Fulani herdsmen.

He explained that most of them do not speak English and could only speak French.

“Some of them have been apprehended because they got lost. Have you ever had of a Fulani man getting lost in his terrain? It is very unlikely. Fulani people are more ardent in knowing where they are,” he said

He further explained that the Fulani people that use to take their cattle from one end of the country to another treasure their cow and would not want to be involved in a fight that could lead to the death of their animal.

Dr Akpar, however, alleged that the issue had been shrouded in conspiracy, pointing out that the government had not reacted to the incidents the way it was expected to.Tiv-Fulani Attack

“The attacks on Tiv people started in 2010 and since then, the government has not made any strong commitment to addressing it. This thing has gone beyond the Fulani/Tiv clash. I want to believe that the people are not Nigerians and they are hired for a particular purpose. They are from the Jihadis Triangle, Chard, Niger and Mali,” he said.

The Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, who had been attacked by the supposed herdsmen, told channels Television after his convoy was attacked that the people he saw could not be ordinary herdsmen, describing them as well trained people.

“These are not just people that are pasturing. These are people who are actually terrorists and are determined that they will destabilise not just Benue State but Nigeria as a whole,” Governor Suswam said.

Dr Akpar urged the government to step in and take a decisive action to end the attacks by the marauding ‘terrorist’ disguising as herdsmen.

FG/ASUU Meeting Deadlocked Again

The resumed negotiation between the federal government and the Academic Staff Union Of Universities (ASUU) has once again reached a stalemate.

At the end of a closed door meeting which lasted for about three hours, Chairman of the Needs Assessment Implementation Committee, Governor Gabriel Suswam announced the launch of N100 billion by September 1 to address infrastructure deficit in all universities across the country.

The federal government further approved an additional intervention of N30 billion to be released to university council as against the initial N92 billion demanded by ASUU to resolve the issue of earned allowances.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim told journalists that the fund is only to clear off the backlog but would need to verify ASUU’s claims.

President of ASUU, Proffesor Nasir Faggae however noted that the government’s intervention move is tantamount to a re-negotiation of the 2009 agreement, which would not be accepted by the Union.

Jonathan Orders NACA To Produce Action Plan For HIV/AIDS

Worried by the huge prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria and the country’s rating as the second highest in Africa, President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday, summoned the governors  of the worst-hit states, the leadership of the National Action Committee on HIV/AIDS (NACA), donor agencies as well as other stakeholders to the state house for a meeting.

At an African Union (AU) meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia earlier in the week the scourge of HIV/AIDS was among top items on the agenda.

Speaking to state house correspondents after the meeting, Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State, one of the worst affected states, said the President was worried about the social, economic and security implications of the disease, and the way out of the problem.

Supreme Court to decide Gabriel Suswam’s fate on June 8th

The Supreme Court will on the 8th of June decide whether or not, it can entertain two appeals filed by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) challenging the election of Benue state, Governor Gabriel Suswam.

Counsel to the ACN governorship candidate, Olu Akeredolu, prayed the court to allow them exercise their constitutional rights  to fair hearing while adding that the appeal is based on an earlier decision of the court which ordered that the election petition tribunal hear their petition afresh.

He argued that Section 36 of the Constitution which is the right to fear hearing supersedes any other section of the law.

He urged the court to evoke its rights to hear his suit as if it is the court of first instance.

Benue state governor, Gabriel Suswan, through his counsel Mr Damian Dodo, however argued that the two appeals constitute gross abuse of court process on grounds that the 180 days stipulated by Section 285(6) of the constitution to determine the appellant petition had elapsed.

Mr Dodo maintained that the relief been sought by the Appellants are not tenable in law and ask the apex court to throw it out.

Having listened to all the parties carefully the seven man panel fixed June 8 for the ruling.

The apex court last week, struck a similar application against the election of the Akwa Ibom state governor, by the ACN and its gubernatorial candidate.

The court’s panel of judges stated that the appeal had elapsed the stipulated 180 days stipulated by the Electoral Act.