Benue Inauguration Of  Probe Panels  Ploy To Shield Failure  From Public Scrutiny – PDP

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By;  ARCHIBONG ESUENE Makurdi

The main opposition Party in Benue State, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)  had  said that the constitution of two panels by the state governor, Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia, to probe the administration of his predecessor, Chief Samuel Ortom, is  nothing but a deliberate ploy to shield from public scrutiny the serial failures associated with his administration.

To this end, the party has therefore, vowed to stand by the immediate past governor of the state, Chief Samuel Ortom throughout the period of the probe.

The PDP expressed  this in a  statement signed by its publicity secretary, Chief Bemgba Iortyom, and made available to newsmen in Makurdi.

Governor Alia had constituted two commission of Inquiries to investigate income and expenditure of former Governor Samuel Ortom’s administration and Chief Ortom, has therefore, expressed his readiness to submit himself before any lawful process as will require him to give account of his stewardship.

According Iortyom,  the PDP recognizes the place of probity and accountability as necessary components of good governance, and, “will stand by its leader, Chief Ortom, through this process of stock-taking, if that is actually what it will be.

“In what may be interpreted as a lack of confidence in the Benue Judicial family, Governor Alia selected two justices from outside the state to head the two panels which are vested with separate mandates to probe into the assets and finances of the state during the era of the Ortom administration from May 29, 2015 to May 28, 2023.

“Nevertheless, the party raises questions as to the timing of the probe exercise, coming at a time Governor Alia’s table is already full with issues of insecurity and allegations of monumental corruption taking place under his watch.

“PDP recalls that only last week, the governor issued a 14 days ultimatum to Fulani herdsmen who have instreamed into the state with thousands of cattle to leave, however, there was no clear statement on the consequences for non compliance with the ultimatum.

“Today marks the 8th day into that ultimatum and if anything, the herders have intensified their influx into the state coming in larger numbers and with larger herds of livestock, thereby, deepening insecurity and putting to greater jeopardy the survival of the people who depend on the land for basic sustenance.” 

The party also noted allegations of massive corruption taking place at the Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, where allegations of sharp practices have been exposed in the form of illegal deductions and remittances from the accounts of the 23 local government councils into private accounts of certain officials of government and some suspected cronies of the governor.

PDP noted with sadness that those allegations of mismanagement of taxpayers monies by the Alia government are such that, “an alleged N20 billion out of N50 billion belonging to the 23 LG councils has been deducted into illegal accounts, and this hints loudly at the reason why Governor Alia had gone to the extremities of disregarding series of court orders to sack the lawful councils and put in their place his selected cronies as caretaker chairmen.

“Also of grave concern are the allegations that an estimated close to N300 million was deducted from the local government funds monthly purportedly to feed and cater for the IDPs in the state, yet it is not anywhere known that the Alia government has any programme in place for the IDPs.”

PDP cautionee Governor Alia against trifling with the security and well-being of the people of the state whom he swore on oath to serve, and must resist the temptation to indulge in vendetta and smokescreens while insecurity and poverty pose an increasingly monstrous existential threat to the people.

The party also called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), ICPC, DSS and the Presidency to ensure that those officials of the Alia administration fingered in the alleged grand theft of local government funds in the state are brought to book.

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