Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue has appealed for patience as his administration strives to meet the yearnings and aspirations of the people of the state.
Ortom, who made the appeal when he marked his first 100 days in office in Makurdi on Wednesday, said he would sustain all viable projects started by his predecessor.
He said government was a continuum, but expressed regrets that the previous administration clogged the joint transition committee set up to coordinate the transition programme.
The governor said the former administration frustrated the committee’s efforts by denying them access to information on the financial status of the state to determine its true indebtedness.
He said no matter the indebtedness of the state, he was determined to improve on the peoples’ wellbeing by ensuring prompt payment of salaries and the provision of social security.
He said the state had processed the bailout loan, and would soon receive N28 billion bonds at low interest rate and payable within 20 years.
He said he intended to use the money for the payment of primary school teachers and deploy a sizable chunk to critical sectors of the economy while also exploring other areas to generate income.
He said the state also planned to carry out a staff audit to determine the actual number of its workforce, stressing that the current monthly wage bill of about N3.7 billion was unacceptable.
Ortom said his administration also reclaimed the accreditation of the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Makurdi, withdrawn three years ago on account of dilapidated infrastructures.
“This administrations considers the school of nursing very critical to our programme, this is one institution that in an era of unemployment, already has a ready market for its graduates.
“For the past three years, it never admitted new students owing to the withdrawal of accreditation, since our assumption of office, we have already sunk in N200 million for the upgrading of facilities.’’
Ortom disclosed that his administration had earmarked varying sums ranging from N500 million and N300 million for the rehabilitation of Makurdi/Gbajimba Road and the completion of the state House of Assembly complex, respectively.
The governor also pointed out that his administration had subsidised the sale of fertiliser and eliminated the role of middlemen in its procurement to enable farmers buy at controlled price.
On arms recovery and his amnesty programme, the governor said the programme was on course.
“We have recovered several illegal assorted arms from militia leaders in the state, the biggest being that from Terwase Agwaza otherwise called Ghana, who surrendered 84 different weapons.
“Following the meeting we had with him, I have extended the amnesty programme till the end of September after which I will pursue those who are still harboring arms,’’ he said.
He assured that the amnesty programme would never be mortgaged and arms returnees would be reintegrated into society through training and other vocation designed to make them useful members of society.
Ortom further said the administration succeeded in ending the persistent border skirmishes with other states through dialogue, including the use of other peaceful engagements.
According to him, the efforts are a foundation for a better state.
Ortom, who said he was not averse to criticisms, however, warned that such criticisms should respect the sensibilities of others. (NAN)