The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members of the House of Representatives from Benue State have asked the federal government to redeem the N10 billion pledged to the state through the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
The caucus, while briefing journalists on Wednesday, said the federal government has failed to redeem the pledge it made in 2018 to help resettle IDPs across the state.
The vice president had in 2018 announced that the federal government had approved N10 billion for the resettlement of displaced persons to their communities.
Mr Osinbajo made the pledge during his visit to Abagena IDP camp back in 2018.
However, Mr Osinbajo did not state if the fund was for Benue State alone.
Mr Ortom was a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the time the pledge was made.
The governor later dumped the APC, the party at the centre for the opposition PDP.
Mark Gbillah (PDP, Benue), who led the caucus at the briefing, said the government has been able to allocate billions to the building of ranches in Katsina State, but unable to give the state the N10 billion.
“This government has approved N6 billion for cattle rearing in Katsina State for ranching, while they promised N10 billion for the resettlement of human beings— citizens of this nation – several years ago and they have been unable to meet that promise. This same government is building a railway to Niger Republic. We seem to have money to do all these things but no money to resettle IDPs in Benue after a pledge in that regard. How can we take that government seriously?”
Francis Agbo, another member of the caucus, said Mr Ortom has been overwhelmed with the general insecurity in the state, noting that the N10 billion will help the state to manage the IDPs.
Ben Nzondu, representing Makurdi/Guma Federal Constituency, disclosed that half of his constituency is inaccessible due to the insecurity in the country.
He said over one million persons in the state have been displaced because of the insecurity in the country.
“I represent the governor, and we have 21 council wards, and as we speak, nine of those are inaccessible. That is to tell you that half of my constituency is not accessible. That is the state capital.
“The humanitarian situation in the state, over a million people, in a population of about four million people. You have about 1.5 million in IDPs across the state,” he said.
The caucus also frowned at the recent call by the Minister for Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, George Akume, for a state of emergency in Benue State.
Mr Akume, a former governor of the state, had in a press conference in Abuja and attended by some members of the APC, asked Mr Ortom to desist from attacking Mr Buhari.
The former governor also accused the governor of using the livestock guard as political tool of intimidating opponents.
He spoke in reaction to a media interview by Mr Ortom during which the governor accused the president of “Fulanisation” agenda in the country.
The caucus rejected the position of Mr Akume.
The caucus said: ”We wish to respond to the issues raised in the press conference by Sen. George Akume who has never lent his voice to the clarion call for the cessation of incessant killings in Benue, despite his assumed closeness to the president, rather chose to attack the person of the governor, called for the disbandment of the livestock guards so as to bring further hardship on the displaced people of Benue State with over a million people in IDP camps.
“It is pathetic that the person of Akume who has benefited greatly from the Benue people can call for emergency rule in Benue State and invite soldiers to further rape and maim our people.
“The governor, as far as members of this caucus are aware, has called ad infinitum, on the Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to intervene and arrest the protracted bloodletting in the state, with little or in very many instances, no response from the federal government.
“We will not dwell on the allegations of a lack of accountability against Gov. Ortom, on a plethora of issues, as raised by Sen. George Akume, but we leave him to the legal dictum that says: “He who claims, must prove.”
The caucus also disclosed that it will explore legislative interventions when the lawmakers resume from their annual holiday.
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