BREAKING: Former Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom in EFCC Custody for Questioning

Former Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, is currently in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), our correspondent has learned. Ortom was invited by the anti-graft body to provide clarifications regarding his tenure as governor.

At precisely 10:08 a.m., Ortom arrived at the Makurdi zonal office of the EFCC, located on Alor Gordon Street in the state capital. He walked directly into the building accompanied by his media aide, Terver Akase, and Principal Special Assistant on Special Duties, Abraham Kwanhgu.

As of the time of filing this report at 11:25 a.m., Ortom had not left the premises, indicating that the questioning was still ongoing.

Earlier, during a brief ceremony held at the old banquet hall of the Government House in Makurdi, Ortom presented his handover notes to his successor, Alia. The notes, consisting of three volumes, summarized his eight years in office.

Ortom shared key financial details with Alia, revealing that the total income of the state during his tenure amounted to N734.9 billion as of April 2023. However, the state’s total debt, including unpaid salaries, pension arrears, loans, and bonds, stood at N187.7 billion.

The former governor also informed his successor about a debt swap/reduction arrangement between the state and the Federal Government worth N97.716 billion. Through this agreement, the state’s total debt profile would be reduced to N45.2 billion after an expected inflow of N48 billion, following a negotiated discount.

Ortom disclosed that his administration had already obtained approval for a N41 billion loan and a N20 billion facility from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). He urged Alia’s administration to prioritize the release of these funds upon assuming office.

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The presence of Ortom at the EFCC’s office has attracted attention and raised questions among the public. The nature and outcome of the ongoing questioning will likely shape the discourse surrounding his tenure as governor and the state’s financial landscape.

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