Suswam Clears Airs On Demolition Of St. Gabriel Catholic Church, Makurdi
Written By Abiodun Oluwarotimi
Former governor of Benue state, Dr. Gabriel Torwua Suswam, on Thursday afternoon cleared air on the demolition of St. Gabriel Catholic Church Gyado Villa in Makurdi which was linked to his administration by his successor, Governor Samuel Ortom.
Reacting to the allegation in a press statement personally signed by him and sent to Nigerian Concord, Dr. Suswam who said it was important for him to address the mischief behind his association with the demolition of the church by Governor Ortom, disclosed that he was shocked to learn that his successor in office moved politics of blackmail and character assassination to the Church of God by associating him with the said demolition.
According to the statement by Suswam, Ortom even dramatized the falsehood by kneeling down before the congregation to allegedly “beg for forgiveness” over the demolition of their church by his (Suswam) administration.
The former governor said this act of mischief was obviously intended to set the Catholic Church in Benue State against his person in continuation of the Governor’s agenda to destroy his political personality before the Benue people.
“The facts of the matter are however, as follows: St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church was operating in a make-shift structure on a small parcel of land in the Gyado Villa Area of Makurdi along Gboko Road, belonging to the Benue State Teaching Hospital.
“When the Benue State University Teaching Hospital project was initiated by my predecessor, the Church premises and several other plots of land owned by private persons was acquired by Government as part of land for the Teaching Hospital project.
“As required by law, compensation was paid to the Church and other plot owners by government. After collecting the compensation, the Church and a few other plot owners still occupied the plots rather than relocate” the statement reads in parts.
Suswam pressed further that his administration was required by the Nigerian Medical and Dental Council to fence the Hospital premises when it started the accreditation process of the Teaching Hospital.
“We then advised all former plot owners who as you will recall had earlier been compensated to relocate. They all did and the land was fenced” he added.
Dr. Suswam also said: “To further support the Church, Gov. Ortom even accompanied me to a Thanksgiving Mass in the Church’s new premises where a substantial financial donation was made to the Church, both for myself and on behalf of the State government to support the Church.
“If Ortom is not a hypocrite, why didn’t he go to the other plot owners who equally suffered the same faith as the Church to ask for forgiveness? His action is not only laughable, but also cheap politics at its highest”
He continued that this allegation that his administration demolished the St Gabriel’s Catholic Church is misleading and should be discountenanced as a usual lie by the Ortom administration to dent his good relationship with the church in Benue.