The immediate past governor of Benue has criticised the current state government for invading his automobile workshop, saying it’s a plot to torment and persecute him over retirement benefits that were duly allocated to him.
Mr Ortom, who spoke through his spokesman, Terver Akase, said this in reaction to the Benue state assets recovery committee that raided his ‘automobile workshop,’ where about 30 vehicles were towed away.
The said automobile workshop is located along Makurdi-Otukpo Road within Makurdi, Benue State’s capital, and is reportedly owned by Mr Ortom, according to AIT.
Reacting to the development, Mr Akase described the action as a move to humiliate his principal in every unconventional means.
According to a video posted by AIT via its Twitter handle, it was seen that several Toyota Hilux vehicles were moved away from the workshop.
“Before his administration elapsed, the state executive council made a resolution and asked him and his deputy and other officials of the administration to leave with their vehicles,” Mr Akase told reporters.
He further alleged victimisation of his boss, saying several other former administration officials similarly left with exotic vehicles.
“The current administration has not hidden its resolve to torment the immediate past governor, Samuel Ortorm. All former governors left with their vehicles. The vehicles that were officially allocated to them.
“And Governor Ortom cannot be an exception.
“So it appears that the current governor is yet to look into the extracts of excos and handover notes. If and when they do, they would realise Mr Ortom has not done anything illegal. It has been the tradition.
“Even the chief of staff to the current governor was a majority leader of the House, and he left the government with official vehicles,” he said.
Mr Akase, who was Mr Ortom’s chief press secretary throughout the administration’s eight years between May 2015 and May 2023, also listed several other lawmakers and officials from the past administration who left with official vehicles and are currently serving in the current administration.
In his remarks, Hinga Biem, a member of the committee, said the exercise had kicked off in the past weeks, where the government have been conducting tracing of movable and immovable properties suspected to be owned by Benue state.
He said the committee is focusing on properties that were bought between 2015 and 2023.
Mr Ortom served as governor for two terms beginning in 2015 under the All Progressives Congress (APC) before switching to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), where he was also re-elected in 2019.