By Chimezie Godfrey
The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has disclosed that the State Government is to benefit from the N2.3trn being receipts from stamp duties that have accrued to the Federal Government for the past eight years.
The Governor disclosed this Thursday, May 25th, 2023 when he paid a farewell visit to the Idoma Area Traditional Council at the Och’Idoma’s Palace in Otukpo, the administrative headquarters of Idoma nation.
Governor Ortom during the visit, briefed the Idoma Area Traditional Council on efforts by his administration towards uplifting the State from present financial challenges it was grappling with.
According to him, the Federal Government is to also remit the difference of N22bn to the Benue State coffers from the debt swap agreement negotiated by the Nigerian Governors Forum.
Governor Ortom stated that the Nigerian Governors Forum reached an agreement with the Federal Government that the N2.3trn stamp duties should be shared across the States.
He revealed that 50% of the stamp duty accruals were to be given to the outgoing administration before handover to attend to financial issues standing against it while the remaining 50% was to be preserved for the incoming administration.
Governor Ortom however told the traditional rulers that contrary to the agreement, the State was yet to receive payment from the stamp duty funds from the Federal Government.
He however expressed optimism that whenever the money comes and whoever receives it, would expend it for the development of the state, stressing that it was money meant for the state.
The Governor stated that he has been persecuted for standing on the side of truth and ensuring peace for all citizens through lawful means but would not be deterred by the persecution from doing the right thing at all times.
He commended the Idoma Area Traditional Council for adapting to reforms in the new chieftaincy laws and for the support to his administration in the past eight years, stressing that he remains grateful to God and people of Idoma nation.
The Och’Idoma, His Royal Majesty, John Elaigwu Odogbo in his response invoked blessings upon the Governor, stating he has made commendable efforts towards protecting the state and providing critical infrastructure and many people who have openly spoken against the Governor have had cause to praise him behind the scene.
The paramount ruler affirmed that Governor Ortom has won accolades for re-creating the traditional institution and reinforcing the chieftaincy institution.
He added that Governor Ortom has earned the honour and respect of the Idoma people and would be sought after by the present and future generations for his courageous leadership, urging him to remain steadfast and focused.
In separate remarks, the four First Class Chiefs in Idoma kingdom, the Ad’ Enone, HRH Engr. George Edeh, Agangwu Apa/Agatu, HRH Baba Odangla, Adarihu Ny’Igede, HRH Oga Eru and Ad’ Otukpo/Ohimini, HRH Emmanuel Okochi all extolled the leadership qualities of Governor Ortom and applauded his untiring efforts to unite the people and ensure peace in the land.