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Ortom, others lose life benefit in Benue

The 10th Benue State House of Assembly on Monday, June 5, 2023. | Image: Pius Angbo/Channels TV)

. Assembly repeals Life Pension Law for ex-govs, deputies

By James Aduku

Benue State former Governor, Samuel Ortom, and other ex-governors and deputies are nolonger to milk the poverty-stricken state via maintenance allowances after leaving office.

This followed the repeal of the law for the maintenance of the former elected governors of the state and their deputies by the Benue State House of Assembly.

The former Governor Samuel Ortom had passed and assented to the bill in the twilight of his administration in May 2023.

But the bill to repeal the law was presented on Monday May 27, 2024 by Douglas Akya, the Chairman of the House standing Committee on Appointments, Public Service and Pension Matters, who represents Makurdi South Constituency in the state assembly.

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Akya said that the law was not enacted in the interest of the state, which has lean resources to finance other pressing obligations.

Some other lawmakers –Samuel Agada, who represents Ogbadibo Constituency, and Alfred Emberga of Makurdi North Constituency –pointed out that the meagre resources of the state made it unwise to spend exorbitantly on former governors and their deputies, when the state has a huge infrastructure gaps and debt burden.

There had been public outcry since the bill was passed by the Ortom administration, particularly from then opposition party, which later won the governorship election.

Many had called on Governor Hyacinth Alia to repeal the law when he assumed office but things did not take the speed of light as it took the lawmakers one year to repeal the pension law.

Also at plenary on Monday, the legislators passed the bill to prohibit harassment and extortion of money from investors, developers and businessmen popularly known as ‘marching ground’.

Chairman of House standing committee on Lands, Survey and Solid Minerals, Elias Audu, who led debate, said that when passed, the law would address the excesses of miscreants who go about extorting land from developers and residents.

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