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I want to warmly welcome you to this briefing called in response to a report by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and published in some national newspapers.
First, let me thank all of you for showing so much enthusiasm and interest in knowing the truth concerning the issue raised by the ICPC. Above all, we specially appreciate your continuous support for this government and the efforts it is making to put the state on the path of sustained economic growth.
The report of the ICPC on the application of the bail-out funds by states of the federation as it concerns Benue state is the subject matter for this response.
As a state, we are happy that the ICPC is carrying out its statutory obligation in this manner and would therefore give them all the necessary cooperation in order to carry out their investigation. However, on the face value of their report as published in some national newspapers, we want to state categorically that there is neither a diversion nor misuse of the bailout funds in Benue state. Indeed, Governor Samuel Ortom has announced it in several fora that Benue state saved well over N1 billion from the bail-out funds after arrears of salaries were paid.
Specifically, the issue of N37,760,000 each concerned the remittance of salaries and emoluments to Lobi Stars Football Club players and officials. Like you know, the Benue State Deputy Governor is the Chairman of Lobi Stars Football Club and his office where the bank account for Lobi Stars' funds is domiciled, handles all matters affecting the club including payment of salaries and allowances.
This has been a long standing monthly allocation even before the advent of the current administration. This amount was approved by the last administration and inherited by the Samuel Ortom administration.
The two payments cited by the ICPC reports covers arrears being owed from the second half of December 2014 to the second half of February 2015, a period of two months. There is nothing like double payments to the office of the Deputy Governor.
While we commend the effort of the ICPC to instill financial discipline and transparency in governance, we feel it could have been better if they had first contacted us for clarifications before going to the Press; moreso that investigations are still on-going.
This administration has remained transparent in all its dealings and would continue to uphold transparency in its service to the good people of Benue state.
Chief (Hon.) Odeh Ageh
Hon. Commissioner

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