The immediate past governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, will receive monthly stipend equivalent to the basic salary of an incumbent governor and luxury cars after his tenure ended on Monday.
Ortom signed a lifetime maintenance bill for former elected Benue governors and their deputies, which will see him, George Akume and Gabriel Suswam get N25 million each every four years and receive two SUVs. The former deputies of Benue State will receive N15 million and one official SUV.
According to The Cable report on Tuesday, Ortom signed the bill four days before the end of his administration as Benue State governor. The bill was sent to the State House of Assembly in April 2023 but was passed and signed on May 25.
The report circulated amid claims that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) plans to arrest Ortom.
It was gathered that the Consolidated Revenue Funds (CRF), which consist of pay-as-you-earn tax (PAYE), direct assessment, road taxes, and revenues from some ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs), will provide the monthly stipend by law.
Ortom signed the bill despite his administration owing workers 10 to 11 months’ salary as at May 2, 2023. His government also owed pensioners 38 months of pension.
Before the end of his administration, Benue is the 13 most indebted state in Nigeria, owing N141.3 billion, according to the Debt Management Office (DMO), as of December 2022.
Similarly, his government was unable to grow Benue state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to a significant level, with 2021 IGR, N12.6 billion, falling below the N17.2 billion generated in 2019, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Other benefits Ortom signed into law for former governors and their deputies include “provision of security personnel on a 24hrs guard on surveillance as the former governor directs in his lifetime, coverage of yearly medical expenses, a replacement of vehicles every four years with new ones of same quality and status and six personal staff for the governor to be paid by the state”.
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