Governor Samuel Ortom Of Benue State has stated that some people came to him to join the All Progressives Congress, adding that the Muhammadu Buhari-led government refused to support him regarding the payment of the arrears of salaries and gratuity across the state.
Ortom accused the federal government of allocating insufficient funds to the state government for the payment of both salaries and gratuity arrears.
He further revealed that the N28billion received from the federal government was not enough to cater to the accumulated shortfalls of N70billion by his administration and the previous ones compared to the amount given to other states government.
Ortom said, “I have been intimidated, I have been vilified, blackmailed and several other things. I mean well for our country Nigeria. I believe in Nigeria and that is why you see me carrying the colours of Nigeria and the colours of major ethnic nationalities in Benue State; the Tiv, Idoma, Egede and then the Nigerian flag. So I believe in Nigeria. United we stand and divided we fall. Our strength is in our unity in diversity. And I believe that our people should work together.
"The federal government has refused to help me in terms of ensuring that we clear the arrears of pension and gratuity which I inherited. It wasn’t my fault. Aper Aku had arrears of salaries and gratuity, Akume had, Adasu had, Suswam had and I also have. I also inherited it; N70billion arrears of pensions, salaries and gratuity. It is not a new thing.
“The federal government gave me N28 billion and I appropriated it and unfortunately, it was not enough. Other people have been given more, but the federal government, because of my stance in saying the truth, they have refused to give me support.
"People came to me and say if you move to APC, we will support you and I said I cannot sell my people out like others are doing today, I can’t sell my people, I remain committed with the people. They elected me, their pain should be my pains and for whatever reasons with the number of people we have here, if you send them away from their ancestral land and take over, where do you want them to go?"
"I am not against any Fulani man but I am against impunity and lawlessness. Here in Benue State, people are free but when you want to impose religion on us, we say no. I can’t allow Christianity to be imposed on Muslims and I don’t want Islam to be imposed on Christians or pagans. Here, everybody is free.”