N100 Billion Ranches: My Story- Dr. Suswam
A former governor of Benue state, Rt. Hon. (Dr) Gabriel Torwua Suswam, today faulted media reports which he said were sponsored by his successor, Mr. Samuel Ortom, to claim that he was under an investigation over an alleged disappearance of N100 billion meant for the construction of ranches across the country.
Members of the Social Media team of the All Progressive Congress (APC) have been engaging the cyberspace for some days now to allege that the former governor is under an investigation by the House of Representatives over allegations of diversion of monies meant for construction of cattle ranches in Nigeria.
The allegation continued that the N100 billion which was set aside by the previous administration for the establishment of ranches across the country was diverted into private pockets, and this has prompted the House of Representatives to move for the probe of some individuals including former governor Suswam.
In his reaction which was widely circulated in the media today, Dr. Suswam who noted that it was with utmost constraint that he responded to the allegation which touches on the sensitive issue of the crisis between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in Benue state, also stated it categorically that he is not being investigated by the House of Representatives or any agency of State over any such allegations.
His words: “To put the records straight I was appointed by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014 to chair the Committee which was set up by the National Economic Council to proffer solutions to the crisis between nomadic Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the country, mostly in the North-Central geopolitical region.
“As a Committee we did our work within the ambit of our terms of reference which did not go beyond making recommendations on the best and most feasible solutions to the crisis, and those included but were not limited to the establishment of ranches across the country for rearing of cattle”
The former governor continued that his Committee’s recommendations were duly submitted to the National Economic Council which was its supervising authority, stressing that no money was released to that Committee for the establishment of ranches.
He continued: “This could not have been so since the Committee was not vested with such statutory powers or mandate. I reiterate here therefore, that I am not under investigation by the House of Representatives or any other agency of State over diversion of any monies meant for the establishment of ranches in Nigeria.
“It is regrettable to note that it’s only when the Ortom administration mentions my name that it hopes to draw attention to whatever it is saying, yet there comes a time when a people must close ranks to find solutions to certain weighty challenges confronting them, and I think choosing this moment to make such baseless insinuations against me is not only unfortunate but also seeks to undermine our collective resolve as a people at a moment of grave challenges”
Furthermore, Dr. Suswam said the Ortom administration must explore all internal as well as external avenues to secure lasting solutions to this crisis.
He added that this is only achievable where the government chooses to shun at such critical moment its penchant for infusing subjective negative propaganda into its actions merely to score cheap points against its perceived opponents.