Tuesday, 26 January 2016

REPORT | Governor Ortom Unable to Pay Salaries After Borrowing N60 Billion in 7 Months

ortom white2

ortom white2

In the midst of Benue State government’s inability to pay salaries, several Benue State indigenes who spoke to SIGNAL on Monday on condition of anonymity lamented Ortom’s flagrant wastage of the state’s resources on frivolous projects that have no direct or indirect bearing on the welfare of Benue State workers, the latest being the political campaign of Daniel Onjeh.

“What is the relevance of Daniel Onjeh’s election to Benue State that the governor pulled out N100 million from the state’s treasury for his declaration on Saturday when I am being owed 4 months salary?”, a concerned Benue civil servant who did not want to be named queried in frustration.
A top official of the Benue State government who spoke to this newspaper decried Ortom’s excessive borrowing since he came into office. “The first month he came he borrowed N10 billion. The second month he borrowed N5 billion. Then he got a bailout of N28.1 billion. Just a few days ago, he wrote to the Benue State House of Assembly seeking permission to borrow another N15 billion. What is all this borrowing about? These are debts that Benue State will continue to pay for the next 60 years. What it means is that Ortom has mortgaged the future of Benue State for the next 60 years. Despite all these borrowing, he is seven months in office and owing 4 months salaries. So where is the money going to? Benue State is in a mess”, the source lamented painfully.
Ortom, SIGNAL gathered pulled out the sum of N100 million for Saturday’s declaration ceremony of Daniel Onjeh who is contesting for the Benue South Senatorial district election under Ortom’s All Progressives Congress (APC).
Efforts to reach the governor’s media assistant for a reaction have proved abortive.
But supporters of the governor are quick to argue that the governor is borrowing to start up government and set a base for looking into the critical financial challenges faced by the state workers. They also claim the issue of unpaid salaries was an inheritance from the past administration.
Notwithstanding, Governor Ortom recently collected N28.1 billion bailout funds released by the federal government as interest free loan to the state. The money, Benue State indigenes had expected would be used in settling a backlog of unpaid salaries of workers.
Seven months after Ortom entered office as governor; workers in the state are being owed salaries for the past 4 months. This is even more shocking as the governor is said to have borrowed a gigantic N60 billion so far in just seven months raising critical questions as to where all the funds have vanished into.

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