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Ex-Gov Ortom released by EFCC after 10 hours in custody

Ex-Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has been released from custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).


The former governor granted the invitation of the commission around 10:00am yesterday.


He drove into the Makurdi zonal office of the agency, which is located at Alor Gordon street in the state capital, accompanied by two of his former aides.


The former governor’s media aide, Terver Akase, and Principal Special Assistant on Special Duties, Abraham Kwanhgu, were sighted with him.


Detectives grilled Ortom over the financial expenditure of Benue under him.


One of his aides, who didn’t want his name mentioned, told journalists outside the commission’s building that there were no cause for alarm.


“It’s a normal routine. And you don’t expect him to just be through in a jiffy – answering questions about his eight years administration will surely take some hours. But, he will soon be done,” the aide said.


During his cabinet valedictory session held at the old banquet hall of Government House, Makurdi, Ortom had urged his council members not to entertain any fear whenever the EFCC invites them for questioning.


Ortom had told his cabinet members that he is not a coward to run away from the EFCC.


“Anytime you are invited by EFCC, don’t be afraid to go, as for me I’m not a coward to run away from EFCC, if they come for me I will follow them.


“I don’t have any investment in Europe, all I have are in this state. If I have committed any crime let the person come and show me,” he had said.


Meanwhile, the former governor’s presence at the EFCC facility stirred lots of reaction on the social media space with most users hailing the anti-graft body for their action and urging it to ensure proper investigation of Ortom’s administration.


On the other hand, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue State commended the former governor for voluntarily submitting himself to answer questions about his eight years tenure in office before the EFCC.


Bemgba Iortyom, who is the State Publicity Secretary of PDP, stated that Ortom went over to the Makurdi office of the EFCC to honour invitation extended to him by the Commission, and that the party hails his conduct as exemplary and reflecting clarity of conscience.


“The former governor’s action also depict him as a man of his words as it fulfills promises he made while in office that at the end of his tenure he will be willing to give open account of all that he did in execution of the mandate vested to him as governor by the Benue electorate.


“PDP notes that while this won’t be the first time a former governor will be answering questions before the anti graft body, Ortom’s case is remarkably distinct for the lack of rancour and acrimony which usually attends such appearances.


“The party is satisfied that Ex-Governor Ortom’s conduct is a clear reflection of his having no skeletons in his cupboard.”


Ortom handed over a debt profile of N187.7 billion to the administration of Reverend Father Hyacinth Alia.


He also intimated his successor of a debt swap/reduction arrangement between the state and the Federal Government to the tune of N97.716billion.


Ortom explained that with an expected inflow of N48billion, after discount, the negotiated debt swap would be reduced to N45.2billion, thereby bringing down the state’s total debt profile.


He further disclosed that his administration already secured an approval of N41billion loan and a N20billion Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) facility, urging the Alia’s administration to press for the release of the money.


(Daily Trust)


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