From Scholastica Hir, Makurdi

Media aide to the former Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Mr Terver Akase, has stated that his boss did not inherit or purchase an aircraft during his two tenures in office.

Akase was reacting to a press release signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor, Hyacinth Alia, Tersoo Kula, in which the Governor alleged that “he understands the state has an airplane but its whereabouts is still being looked into.”

Governor Alia was quoted to have stated that during a Zoom meeting with the Benue diaspora community organized by the Mutual Union of Tiv in America MUTA and the Idoma Association in the United States.

Akase, in a statement made available to newsmen in Makurdi on Monday, said “We want to state categorically that if the Benue State Government purchased an aircraft before Chief Samuel Ortom became Governor in 2015, such a transaction was not part of the handover notes that he received from his predecessor, and no aircraft was handed to the State Government under Ortom.

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“Similarly, throughout his two tenures (2015 – 2023), the Ortom administration did not buy an airplane. When he was leaving office, the handover notes he presented to his successor, Governor Alia also had no indication that the state purchased/owned an aircraft.

Akase who urged the governor to prove that Benue owns a airplane said “An allegation of this nature is too weighty to be swept under the carpet, and only its proof will enable Benue people to know the truth.

“We therefore challenge Governor Alia to show evidence that the Benue State Government owned an aircraft before he became Governor.

“He should do this with proof of the date and amount paid for the plane, model/manufacturer of the aircraft, as well as the particular administration that purchased it.

“On the Governor’s frequent statements that all his predecessors performed badly and Makurdi, the state capital, was a glorified village before he was elected, we will not bother to comment on that. If a Governor who is supposed to be the chief image-maker of his state decides to brand it as backward and poorly developed, so be it.”