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INTERVIEW: Benue people voted me because they believe I’m a good Christian – Ortom

Written By Idoma Television on Saturday, September 3, 2016 | 2:14:00 AM

By Vera Enenche

Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom has once again admitted that civil servants in the state are going through hell.

Ortom said that workers in the state have not been paid for half a year, adding that he inherited a deficit treasury from Suswam.

Speaking with Daily Sun, Ortom thanked the people of the state for bringing him on board, believing that he is a good Christian.
He said, “It has not been easy; meeting a deficit treasury; it has not been easy inheriting many years of unpaid gratuity and pension that was not paid and salary arrears that we inherited from the past administration. In fact, my predecessor told me that I could not run this government for three months before I was sworn in.

“He knew that he had run the state to the ground and there was no hope according to him. The challenges were much and the preliminary investigation which we did through the transition committee indicated that we had N18 billion certificated contracts not paid, we had over N69 billion pension, gratuity and salary arrears that were not paid, and so many other financial obligations.

“These created a lot of anxiety and problems but coming from the background that the people trusted me that as a Christian they knew that yes, they had someone who would deliver and the pressure was much and there was nothing to even kick start government. Even on our own bank account, there was an overdraft of over N2 billion and so even the first money that came in May had to be consumed by this overdraft.”

On why he has not been able to pay workers, the governor said, “As from August last year, it has been pretty difficult because now you have a wage bill of about N7.8 billion, that is at the local government and at the state and since August, we have been receiving an average of N4 billion.

“So, it has been very difficult trying to cope. But one thing that I must appreciate the Almighty God for is for the ability to be transparent, to ensure that we are accountable; to ensure that everybody knows what is happening around me. So I have less tension and pressure.”

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