The Benue State governor, Mr. Samuel Ortom, yesterday, raised alarm that a fresh plot to make the state ungovernable had been hatched in China.
This came just as a former governor of the state, Senator George Akume, and some leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) asked Federal Government to immediately withhold further release of federal allocations to the state.
Addressing a press conference alongside some APC leaders from Benue State in Abuja, Akume also accused Ortom of provoking APC members in the state through harassment, particularly lawmakers and Local governments chairmen who refused to defect to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
But in a swift reaction, Governor Samuel Ortom said Akume’s remarks were preparatory to carrying out plot to unleash further mayhem and disruption of peace in Benue State.
A statement signed by Ortom’s Special Adviser on Media and ICT, Tarhav Agerzua, yesterday, read in part: “We have intelligence reports that meetings were held recently in China, where plans were perfected to make Benue State ungovernable.
We wish to assure the people of the state and Nigerians that all these plans will fail, just like the others before them. Power belongs ultimately to God. As a government, we are also prepared to tackle all threats to peace within the ambit of the law.
In his press conference, Akume accused the state government of corruption and alleged breach of financial regulation in spending of allocations.
Ortom, however, said the allegation was baseless, even as he challenged Akume to show proof of any corrupt practice he perpetrated.
The governor declared that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) had investigated the N28bn corruption allegation and cleared him of any wrongdoing.
Akume condemned alleged massive investment of state funds by Ortom in acquiring illegal arms, hiring and training of thugs and criminal elements.
He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take necessary steps to forestall breakdown of law and order.
He threatened that APC would be forced to react against provocative actions by the state government, if appropriate steps are not taken.
When asked whether he would want a State of Emergency declared in Benue State, Akume said: “When we get to that bridge, we know how to cross it. It is sad and unfortunate that Ortom is engaging in clandestine meetings and plans with other desperate people to trample on and breach Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which he swore to protect and uphold. Upon his defection to PDP, Ortom has engaged in serious constitution breaches capable of igniting violence and total breakdown of law and order in Benue State.”