The Benue State Governor, Mr Samuel Ortom, has denied reports of herdsmen killings of Tiv farmers in Jato-Aka of Kwande Local Council, following the outbreak of civil unrest between the youths and some soldiers last week.
Governor Ortom cleared the air during an expanded Security Council meeting with elders and traditional rulers from Sankera axis, saying that security reports indicated that there were no fresh killings in Jato-Aka.
He, however noted that there is need for security investigation of the renewed herdsmen killings in four out of the five council wards in Turan/Jato-Aka, a border community with Moon District where herdsmen have taken over since 2013.
Meanwhile, the governor expressed his displeasure and warned against unverified media reports of the herdsmen/farmers crisis.
“I can’t just act on rumours that people are being killed. It is not fair when you see pictures that people were killed in Kaduna and posted as pictures of people killed in Benue state, it is not fair to us. Please let us try and verify these facts, we are on top of the situation.
“I just concluded a meeting with my security council and the entire traditional rulers from that area and nobody is talking about killings. We recovered a gun that was missing from the 93 Battalion and we brought it and handed over to the Commander 72 Battalion here in Makurdi and we did not hear about report of killings”.
The expanded Security Council meeting according to governor, revealed that criminal elements were responsible for the weeks of violent gunmen attacks in Zaki-Biam and the entire Sankera axis of the state.
He therefore reiterated his administration’s resolve to flush them out.
The Benue State Governor, Mr Samuel Ortom, has ordered the immediate termination of the appointment of the Executive Secretary of the Teaching Service Board (TSB), Mr James Pine, for embarrassing the state government.
The Acting Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr Bem Melladu, disclosed this on Monday in Makurdi.
He said that the government was embarrassed by the actions of Mr Pine, who was convicted of assault against a member of staff in his agency.
According to the acting SSG, “Mr James Pine used criminal force on the staff and while the case was in court, he turned down all overtures towards a peaceful resolution of the matter”.
The SSG regretted that the matter dragged on in court till he was convicted.
“Very senior officials in government tried to arbitrate in the matter to no avail; see the consequence of his actions now. His conviction is very embarrassing to the government.
“Governor Ortom has, therefore, directed the termination of his appointment because Pine’s conviction by the court was an embarrassment to the Governor, the government and the people of the state.”
Mr James Pine, who was appointed by Governor Ortom in 2015, was dragged to court by one of his subordinates, James Asema, on account of assault and criminal use of force against him.
The Magistrate Court found him culpable and sentenced him to five months imprisonment with an option of N10,000 fine.
Benue State Governor, Mr Samuel Ortom, has demanded more action and inter-agency cooperation among security agencies to tackle insecurity in Nigeria.
Governor Ortom said the synergy would help bring all perpetrators of crime to justice, following the implementation of the stick approach of his amnesty deal.
He made the demand on Monday when he received the Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in charge of Zone H, Joseph Oragande, at his office in Makurdi, the capital of the north-central Nigeria state.
The Governor noted that no economic activity would thrive in the face of security challenges.
The NSCDC Commandant briefed reporters on the outcome of his visit to the State Government House.
Mr Oragande said a joint security and strategy meeting would be convened with the specific aim of addressing inter-state crisis, as well as dialogue between farmers and herdsmen.
The Zone H of the NSCDC comprises of Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Nasarawa and Kogi states.
The Federal Government has promised a better national budget in 2017 to address the issue of abandoned projects across Nigeria.
The government also pledged to bring a rest to the crisis of confidence over the 2016 Budget, which has been fraught with allegation of padding right from the beginning.
The Minister of National Planning and Budget, Mr Udo Udoma, disclosed this on Wednesday at a two-day conference on capital projects, implementation and monitoring organised by the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.
The Minister, who was represented by the Director of Budget Planning, Mrs Olasunbor Ayinde, hinted that the 2017 Budget would attain uniform cost price for all items presented by MDAs to fund the abandoned projects spread across the country.
President of the NIQS, Mercy Iyortyer, expressed worry over the more than 19,000 abandoned projects across Nigeria, including the Benue State Sheraton Hotel which has remained uncompleted after 33 years.
The Benue State Governor, Mr Samuel Ortom, who was represented by his deputy, Benson Abounu, blamed the spate of uncompleted projects on lack of ethical behaviour on the part of professionals.
The Senate Committee Chairman on Public Procurement, Senator Mohammed Abdulsalami, on his part explained the controversy of budget padding while he blamed the legislature and the executive for lack of restraint.
The Benue State Governor, Mr Samuel Ortom, has denied the allegation of fraudulently diverting 4.29 billion Naira state funds through proxies and associates.
Mr Ortom, while speaking through his Special Adviser on Media and ICT, Mr Tahav Agerzua, said that the report published in some national dailies and social media, is the oppositions’ plot and campaign to smear his name.
Governor Ortom explained that the withdrawals made from the Bureau for Local Government Affairs was meant to provide logistics for internal security in the wake of herdsmen attacks on the 23 local government areas of the state.
He urged the people of Benue to disregard the allegation which he claimed is being sponsored by those involved in the diversion of N107 billion by officials of the former administration.
The Benue State Governor, Mr Samuel Ortom, has directed the Ministry of Health to apply for the re-accreditation of the School of Nursing and Midwifery Makurdi.
The institution’s operational license was withdrawn in 2014 and the ministry is expected to apply to the Council of Nursing and Midwifery for accreditation.
Governor Ortom gave the directive while on the state wide inspection of ongoing projects ahead of preparations to mark his administration’s One Year Anniversary.
The Governor in company of his commissioners and contractors handling the reconstruction and furnishing of the School of Nursing, said the institution was ready for human capital development.
Governor Ortom arrived at the School of Nursing and Midwifery in company of political appointees and the contractors handling the reconstruction and furnishing of the institution.
Over 80 per cent of the structural work has been completed, while details like furnishing, landscaping and fittings were being installed ahead of the re-accreditation of the institution.
He warned against further delays in seeking for approval to reopen the school.
Done with the inspection at the school, the Governor and his team also visited the Achusa Journalist Village Road where the contractor was working hard to meet the set deadline.
Mr Ortom also inspected the Mobile Police Barrack and Welfare Quarters Road, where he expressed joy on the level of work being done by the contractor, Hajiag Construction Limited.
Both the Governor and the contractor speaks on the project specifications and delivery date.
The Ortom administration is funding over 10 rural and urban road projects across the state in addition to the School of Nursing and Midwifery for the training of Nursing and other health professionals.
The Governors of Benue and Nasarawa States have agreed to hold a security and peace meeting in Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State where nine persons were killed last week.
The Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State, Silas Agara, on Sunday, said the decision to visit some communities in Agatu was reached because of the consistent clashes between farmers and herdsmen.
Last year, at least 86 persons were killed despite existing peace accord.
The killing of nine Agatu villagers came barely two weeks after a renewed peace deal was reached at a meeting between Governor Tanko Al-makura of Nasarawa State and his Benue State counterpart, Mr Samuel Ortom.
Benue State Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu, however, visited the affected communities in Agatu Local Government Area where he pledged the government’s support for the people.
While making comments about the killings in Agatu, Mr Agara said that both Governors of Nasarawa and Benue States would visit the community to rebuild the peace.
Speaking on the crisis, Governor Ortom stated further that the meeting would hold on both sides of Nasarawa and Benue States – in communities across the banks of the River Benue.
The massacre that saw the death of 86 people by suspected Fulani herdsmen occurred in 2015. Several persons were injured and houses were burnt down.
While some of the women made widowed in that attack cried out their heart, the injured were taken to local clinics for treatment while the dead were given mass burial, with as much as four corpses in a shallow grave.
The Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has identified major factors preventing Nigerians from enjoying uninterrupted and regular power supply.
Vandalising power supply equipment across the nation, creating stumbling blocks in the way of power lines, blowing up of gas pipelines as well as litigations in courts over power projects are some issues the Minister listed.
Mr Fashola made the observation after inspecting the distribution sub power station in Pankshin, Plateau State, where equipment at the substation have been vandalised by hoodlums.
The Minister had earlier been conducted round the ongoing construction of an overhead bridge along Yakubu Gowon Way before proceeding to the sub power distribution station where the act of vandalism has slowed down the pace of work and thus affected distribution of power.
The Minister appealed to Nigerians to guard power installations in order to have regular and adequate power supply.
While on a courtesy visit to the Plateau State Governor, the Minister equally warned Nigerians to desist from wasting the available energy with an advice that energy should be preserved especially during the day.
As the Minister and his entourage continue the tour and monitoring of facilities under the ministry, it is expected that the findings and subsequent recommendations would eventually translate to adequate power supply as well as good and safe highways.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has begun an inspection of ongoing projects across the country with a view to ensuring budgetary provision for them in the coming year.
Mr Fashola told journalists in Makurdi that he was inspecting the Apir power plant of the Transmission Company of Nigeria along with officials of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, in order to ascertain its level of operation in the state.
After inspecting the control room of the power plant, he said that the federal government would give priority attention to the project in the 2017 budget.
The delegation also visited the State Governor, Mr Samuel Ortom, where the Otukpo-Enugu highway was one of the issues discussed
The Minister was expected to also inspect the Makurdi-Lafia federal highway as the team leaves for Nasarawa State to round off his trip to the north central states.
The Benue State Governor, Mr Samuel Ortom, has told local government retirees in the state of the efforts between his administration and the Federal Government, to secure additional funds for the payment of their outstanding pension arrears.
Governor Ortom disclosed this when he received the pensioners who were at the Government House to protest the non-payment of the pension arrears.
The pensioners, from local government areas across the state, lamented the hardship they have been going through and the need for urgent intervention.
They emphasized their inability to pay the school fees of their children, with many of them being sent away from their various schools.
The Governor acknowledged their pains and assured them that going by the efforts being made by his administration, they would soon be paid.
He also seized the occassion to explain to them that the state did not receive bailout funds on behalf of pensioners, denying rumours making the rounds that the bailout funds had been misappropriated.
The Benue State Governor, Mr Samuel Ortom, may be asking his predecessor, Gabriel Suswam, to explain the 600 million naira allegedly over paid contractors for biometrics for local government officials.
The state government observed that the said amount was withdrawn from government coffers and was later recovered as payment for biometrics.
The Secretary to the State Government, Barrister Targema Takema, told newsmen in Makurdi that the former administration allegedly mismanaged the funds which was meant for 23 Local Government Areas.
He said that as a former member of the transition committee he was privy to the fact that the former administration left huge debt for the current government to settle.
He said that the new government of Governor Samuel Ortom, is now battling for survival.
That air transport moves people that are relevant to critical economic and political actions and decisions that ensure the existence of a nation is a statement of fact.
But here in Nigeria high indebtedness to banks, payment of multiple charges to various aviation agencies and the lack of maintenance facilities in the country are some of the challenges domestic airlines operators cite as factors that slow down their growth.
While they acknowledge that the recent airport upgrade has given a new face to air travel, they also ask for a better operating environment.
This edition of Aviation This Week, looks at the need for a better operating environment and the impact it will have on the activities of airliners in the sector.
The aviation sector in Nigeria is witnessing the re-modelling of airports across the nation and the Minister of Aviation, Mr Samuel Ortom, said that the reforms would continue to ensure safety of passengers.
Since the disappearance of the Malaysian M370 plane, international regulatory body is looking to track all airline across the globe.
They are looking to put in place a policy that will ensure that all airlines can identify their planes over oceans.
The 36 countries that belong to the governing council of the International Civil Aviation Organisation that suggest policies agreed to adopt a flight tracking policy.