Memo Leakage: Governor Ortom Sends SARS After Nigerian Concord Staff
Written By Babajide Omotara
In order to cover the allegations of financial misappropriation that were made against his administration, the governor of Benue state, Chief Samuel Ortom, on Thursday evening sent men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) to arrest the Chief Correspondent of Nigerian Concord in the state, Mr. Chir Msugh Armstrong
The governor has also sent security operatives after the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of thr media outfit, Mr. Abiodun Oluwarotimi.
Apart from this, Ortom, according to his special adviser on media, Mr. Tahav Agerzua, had directed the state Ministry of Justice to take a legal action against the Management of Nigerian Concord.
According to Mr. Armstrong, the security operatives arrived his residence beside Government Model School In Makurdi at about 7:15PM in order to effect his arrest.
He added that he took to his heels immediately he sighted the patrol vehicle that the operatives brought to his house to arrest him.
On getting to the place, men of the SARS who didn’t find Armstrong at home whisked away his elder brother, Mr. Damian Saawuan and he has not been released as at press time.
However, this Newspaper gathered that the governor had ordered the security operatives not to release Mr. Saawuan until Armstrong reports himself at the station.
It would be recalled that this newspaper had during the week carried an exclusive report on how Governor Otom directed the Secretary to the State Government to raise a memo with which the sum of 200 million Naira was released to the chief accountant, government house for the last May 29th Democracy Day Celebration.
Yesterday also, this newspaper carried another exclusive news on a contract scam involving some members of Ortom’s Cabinet.
Earlier, the governor called for an immediate but secret investigation on how a secret Memorandum with Reference Number SSG/CONF/1731/VOL.4/15, that he directed the Secretary to the State Government, Barrister Tagema Takema, to raise in order to get a whooping sum of 200 million Naira for the last May 29th Democracy Day Celebration, got leaked to Nigerian Concord Newspaper.
According to an inside source at the Office of the Governor’s Special Adviser on Media and ICT, Mr. Tahav Agerzua, the governor has instructed the SSG, Mr. Takema, to investigate how the memo he secretly directed to the state Finance Commissioner, Mr. David Olofu, to ask for the funds, got leaked.
The source said that Governor Ortom who was speaking on top of his voice immediately the story broke out on Tuesday night also told the finance commissioner and the chief accountant, Government House to do the same investigation in their offices too.
Ortom was quoted as saying that he would not leave any stone untouched while investigating the matter which he reportedly said may lead to an emergency cabinet shake-up in the state.
Our source continued that the governor has been so worried since Tuesday night that the secret of how he used the Democracy Day Celebration to defraud the state of a whooping 200 million Naira got leaked especially when he had nothing to show as his achievement on May 29th.
“Oga is so troubled since the story came out last night. Normally, such memorandum was supposed to be written by the Chief of Staff but the governor asked Takema to write it because of its nature.
“They did that so as to have a good chance of disclaiming it if at all it gets to the press just as it got to you. He (Ortom) has been mad with everyone around him. He said he wants to know where the memorandum got leaked among the offices of the SSG, finance commissioner and the chief accountant of the Government House” the source who preferred not to be mentioned said.
However, this Newspaper has gathered that Governor Ortom is not happy with the poor way his SA Media, Mr. Agerzua, reacted to the first story broken by Nigerian Concord.
The governor was said to have raised issues with the way Agerzua disclosed in his rejoinder that only 2 million Naira was spent on the celebration after it had come to the public notice that a whooping 200 million Naira was collected from the Ministry of Finance.