Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue on Saturday said that he inherited a debt burden of N90 billion from the immediate past administration in the state.
Ortom, who disclose this at an interactive session with newsmen in Makurdi, said the debt were for salaries arrears, bond, overdrafts, and contracts.
“The state Ministry of Finance reported that the N9.3 billion that the former governor disclosed to the public was the balance of the N18 billion bond he collected.
“The state is owing salaries arrears of N12 billion, contract ready for payment N18 billion, overdrafts N1.6 billion, ongoing contracts N50 billion, totaling N90 billion.
“That was why I took N10 billion bond to pay salaries, take off government from all the three arms and renovate the government house,’’ he said.
He explained that the bond was also to secure accreditation for the Benue State University Medical School, where students were in the school for over 12 years without graduating.
Ortom said that he received N1.7 billion statutory allocation and N500 million from the value added tax account.
He said that the wage bill of the state keeps on increasing, and pointed out that he had paid salaries for May, while June salaries would be paid after the staff audit.
The governor said his administration would always welcome superior arguments and constructive criticisms.
“Please do not run me or my government down. You are free to criticised my actions, but please be constructive in your arguments.
“If I fail history will be told that a journalist has failed and this will be a big minus to our pen profession.
“I am your governor, advised me and pray for me for the success of this administration because it will be said that when journalist come to power they don’t perform,’’ he said.
He said that he was ready to reverse any of his decisions provided that a superior argument was put forward.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the governor was the publisher of The Oracle Newspaper in the state.(NAN)