Benue State Governor, Rev Father Hyacinth Alia, has identified various assets to be recovered from the previous governor and his associates, including government land, vehicles, houses, and furniture. This announcement was made during the inauguration of the State and Local Government Property Committee at the old banquet hall of the Government House in Makurdi.
According to The Eyewitness9JA, Governor Alia had previously established a committee with former permanent secretary, Hingah Biem, as the chairman, to focus on the retrieval of looted government property. However, shortly after the committee was formed, the immediate past governor, Samuel Ortom, and his deputy, Benson Abounu, filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent the committee and the government from taking any action towards property recovery.
As of now, the lawsuit has not yet been assigned to a judge. During the committee’s inauguration, Governor Alia emphasized the importance of reclaiming all state government assets that were unlawfully taken during the previous administration led by Ortom.
He said, “It’s not to victimise anybody but it’s the right thing to do to account for all government assets.”
Biem, the committee’s chairman, assured the government and the people of the state that they would not let them down in fulfilling their responsibilities.
In the meantime, Governor Alia took action on Friday by suspending all 23 local government chairmen and their councillors.
Ode Ochelle, the Permanent Secretary of the Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, communicated this decision through a letter dated June 23, 2023, addressed to all 23 local government chairmen and leaders of the 23 legislative houses.
It is worth noting that the State House of Assembly had previously recommended to the governor the suspension of the chairmen and legislative bodies of all 23 local governments in the state.