Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue on Thursday vowed to make former Lagos State police commissioner, Abubakar Tsav, prove allegations of corruption against him in court, or be punished for such “lies”.
Mr. Ortom was reacting to Mr. Tsav’s refusal to apologise over allegations he made against him in a letter written to the presidency.
Mr. Tsav, Public Complaints Commissioner overseeing Benue, had, in a letter addressed to the presidency, anti-graft agencies and the Bill Gates Foundation, accused Mr. Ortom of financial recklessness and massive corruption.
He accused the governor of running the state like a personal estate, and alleged that resources were being shared among friends, family members and party officials.
Mr. Tsav urged the presidency to investigate the governor, and declared that he authored the letter in his capacity as the official “whistle blower” of Benue.
Angered by the allegations which he described as “fabricated and malicious”, Mr. Ortom dragged Mr. Tsav to court.
With the relationship between the duo worsening by the day, the Tor Tiv, James Ayatse, intervened and after due deliberations, advised Mr. Tsav to retract the letter and tender a public apology to the governor within two weeks.
The reconciliation meeting was held in Makurdi, on July 2.
But, instead of the apology the governor was waiting for, Mr. Tsav told the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Makurdi that he would never apologise to Mr. Ortom.
“I stand by my letter to the Presidency. There is massive corruption in Benue that should be investigated. I have no regrets writing to alert the whole world to what is happening in Benue,” he told NAN.
He said that the meeting where he was asked to apologize was convened by the governor to prevail on him to retract the allegations.
Tsav said that he was ready to prove his allegations in court, stressing that apologizing over the allegations would “impinge on my integrity”.
Reacting to Tsav’s refusal to apologize, Ortom, through his Special Adviser on Media and ICT, Tahav Agerzua, told NAN on Thursday in Makurdi that he (Tsav) would have to prove the allegations in court.
“Since Tsav has refused to retract the allegations and tender a public apology as requested by the Tor Tiv, Prof. James Ayatse, he will have to prove them in court.
“Since he has opted not to honour his word, the Benue State Government shall put him to judicial test; he must prove his baseless and fabricated lies in the court of law,” Mr. Agerzua said.
Agerzua rejected the claims by Tsav that Ortom initiated the reconciliation meeting where he was asked to retract the letter and apologize to the governor.
“It was Tsav that invited Mr. Emanuel Ogbile, the Chief Public Affairs Commissioner, the Tor Tiv and first-class chiefs to intervene on his behalf; he wanted them to prevail on the governor to withdraw the criminal case against him.
“The governor agreed to withdraw the case on the condition that Tsav will retract the letter and tender a public apology to him.
“It was Tsav that made the peace moves because the governor was already in court. It was Tsav that rushed to invite his boss to Makurdi, not the governor,” he said.
He said that during the meeting, Tsav agreed to tender a public apology and meet other conditions as prerequisite for withdrawal of the case.
“For the man to say he will neither apologize nor retract the letter is surprising. The only option left for him is to prove the allegations in court, otherwise the law will take its course,” he said.