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Paris Club Refund Recall: Ortom Calls For Calm, As Labour Kicks

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Paris Club Refund Recall: Ortom Calls For Calm, As Labour Kicks

Paris Club Refund Recall: Ortom Calls For Calm, As Labour Kicks

From Msughshima Andrew, Makurdi

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has urged the people of the state to remain calm, following the decision of the Federal Government to withdraw the final tranche of Paris club refund sent to the state.

This was contained in a press statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase in reaction to the retrieval of the Paris Club fund

While expressing shock at the decision of the Federal Government to withdraw the funds, Govermor Ortom expressed hope that the decision will be reversed in the interest of the workers and retirees of the state.

The Governor had earlier directed the state Ministry of Finance to pay salaries, pensions and gratuities which ought to have started today, only for the people to wake up with the demoralizing news of Federal Government’s recall of the funds from the state’s accounts.

We hope this latest move is not part of the ongoing witchunt of the state. Benue people have already suffered enough impunity and attacks.

We also hope that the withdrawal order was made in error, because the said funds are not grants from the Federal Government. This was a refund of funds the Federal Government has been owing Benue over the years, so they shouldn’t make it look as though they had given the state a loan or a grant.

Governor Ortom gives assurance that the Nigerian Governor’s Forum will meet today and an official position will be taken on the matter.

Meanwhile, the State Chairman Nigerian Labour Congress, Godwin Anya, who spoke on the development said he did not know detials of the withdrawal but described it as evil saying workers in Benue and other states are suffering.

He recalled that when Buhari came into government in the ’80s, there were arrears particularity for primary school teachers, Buhari have money to clear the arrears. But I don’t know what is happening in this country now.

He lamented that workers are suffering in many states and the federal government is not doing anything to ease their pain even after giving this money reluctantly, they are also withdrawing it. It is not fair”  he said

Asked if there is any political undertones, Anya said he may not know but that the people will find out soon.

He advised workers to remain calm as government is working hard to get to the root of the matter.

A retired Civil servant Teghtegh Dakor expressed sadness over the withdrawal of the fund.

Dakor who spoke to our correspondent at the state NLC premises said he was there to see how part of his pension and gratuity will be paid to him because the governor has directed that 80 percent of the money should be used for pension salary and gratuity and now the money has been withdrawn.

“For me to hear that the money has been withdrawn by the federal government and the state government is telling us to be calm is an alarming satement to me.

“I have left office for nine months now and nothing has been paid to me.  I was thinking that with this money, my family and I will have something to rely on.

“I expected the federal government to know which state is eligible and which is not before disbursing it. So I think it is evil”.

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