The Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom has asked the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) Adams Oshiomhole ), to retract allegations made against him or be dragged to court.
The governor said this in a letter to the APC chairman asking the former Edo governor for a public apology in the media within 7 days and N10bn as damages having damaged his reputation during a press conference in Abuja on July, 2018.
Oshiomhole had during the press conference, accused the governor of deepening the circle of poverty in his state alleging that Ortom mismanaged bailout funds and Paris Club refund and also refused to pay salaries.
In the letter written by Samuel Irabor, the governor’s counsel, he said the allegations made by the APC chairman against his client were ‘very astonishing, unsubstantiated, wild.’
The letter read “A letter of retraction/apology addressed to our client in respect of the false, defamatory and libellous statement made against him in the sponsored press conference herein complained of.”
“That the said retraction/apology be simultaneously published in the Sunday edition of 10 National Dailies circulating within Benue State as well as a paid advertorial to the same effect on the prime time beats of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Channels TV, TVC News, African Independent Television (AIT), Independent Television (ITV) Benin, Radio Nigeria, Radio Benue and Harvest FM, Makurdi.
“An undertaking not to indulge in any such false publication against our client in future. Payment of N10,000,000,000.00 (Ten Billion Naira) only to our client as punitive, general, exemplary and aggravated damages.”
Governor Ortom, however, insisted that no amount of torment or persecution will make him reconsider his defection from the ruling APC.
According to a statement issued on his behalf by Terver Akase, his chief press secretary, the governor accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of being a strike squad of the ruling party.
He also alleged that the federal government had been using the anti-graft agency to “cripple governance in the state.”
“After succumbing to nationwide condemnation of its illegal freezing of Benue State Government accounts, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has resorted to yet another shameful act in its desperation to cripple governance in the state,” the statement read.
“The anti-graft agency’s latest move is the bandying of figures in national dailies claiming that such figures are those of transactions in the accounts owned by the Benue State Government.
“It released figures allegedly withdrawn from the Benue State Government accounts without disclosing the dates of the withdrawals and the period during which they were made.
“The commission has also not been able to state accounts into which such monies withdrawn were paid to prove that the funds had been diverted.
“EFCC is contented with publishing the figures without stating how impropriety has been established.
“Are government monies supposed to be kept in the accounts indefinitely without expenditure? Their objective is apparently to give Governor Samuel Ortom and his administration a bad name.
“On this score, it is clear that the EFCC has now become both a strike squad of the APC for torment, and their law court for the trial and conviction of political opponents.
“The commission may torment and persecute Governor Ortom and his subordinates on the directives of the powers that be as much as it serves their purposes, but he will neither be distracted nor reconsider his defection from APC.”