Illegal Take-Over: Ortom On Vendetta Mission Against Suswam- PDP
The Benue state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP on Monday said that the governor of the state, Chief Samuel Ortom, is on a vendetta mission against his predecessor, Dr. Gabriel Torwua Suswam, over the illegal take-over of the former governor’s Atom Kpera Lodge.
The party which expressed serious disappointment in Ortom’s decision to go so dirty with his predecessor added that the governor was wrong to have sent armed men to invade the Lodge despite a pending court order on the matter.
Speaking in a press statement signed by its State Publicity Secretary, Mr. Bemgba Iortyom, the Benue PDP challenged Governor Ortom to undertake an open review of the process of the acquisition of the other lodges sold alongside Atom Kpera Lodge as well as other government landed properties including parts of the Industrial Layout in Makurdi which had been reportedly bought by Oracle Business conglomerate owned by him.
The party urged the governor to do the review for purpose of credibility and transparency as anything short of this would only further deepen the view that he is merely on a vendetta mission against Suswam on this Atom Kpera Lodge saga.
The statement reads: “Our attention has been drawn to the forceful take-over of a Makurdi residence of immediate past governor of Benue State, Rt. Hon. Gabriel Torwua Suswam PhD CON, by the Benue State Government, despite a pending court action to determine the ownership of the property.
“It is our understanding that former governor Suswam had purchased the property located in Makurdi from the state government and it had served as his residence following the expiration of his tenure as governor. But last year the administration of Gov. Samuel Ortom had revoked Suswam’s ownership of the property following which the former governor had approached the State High Court in Makurdi challenging the revocation.
“But Presiding Judge of the High Court, Justice Theresa Igoche, had struck out the matter on 10th February 2016 for lack of jurisdiction of her court to entertain it, and Suswam, through his Counsel, David Iorhemba Esq leading Barristers M. T. Nyiutsa and T. A. Shija, had approached the Court of Appeal sitting in Makurdi.
“We further understand that on 27th June, 2016, after adopting the motions of both parties, Presiding Judge of the Appellate court, Justice Oyebisi Oluwaye JCA, had adjourned the matter to 6th October, 2016 for the entertainment of written addresses of both parties, and had further directed against a forceful take-over of the property by government, reiterating to its Counsel, Barr. Mike Assoh, the need for compliance and warning against the consequences of disobedience of the directive.
“However, we find it regrettable and deeply disturbing that despite such a clear position of the law on this matter officials of the Ortom administration a few days back had gone and forced their way into the property which still houses the personal belongings of the former governor, stating an official directive to convert the place into office accommodation for an agency of government.
“It ought to be noted that the property in issue here, Atom Kpera Lodge, like several other lodges, was sold out during George Akume’s tenure as governor, who bought one for himself, with the then Head of Service, Mr. Mike Iordye who presided over the sales, also buying one, wile a Mr. Ahom had bought one and another was sold to former President of the Customary Court of Appeal, Rtd. Justice A. P. B. Utsaha and the remaining sold to a relation of Ochi’ Idoma. It is the one earlier sold to Rtd. Justice Utsaha, who it is said could not meet the stipulated terms of payment, that Suswam eventually had bought.
“However, it is only that bought by Suswam that is the focus of scrutiny by the Ortom government, while of the rest nothing is being said, investing on the exercise a huge credibility crisis and a direct question as to the motives attending it. The open willingness to throw caution and decorum to the winds by government in dispossessing Suswam of the property is also a matter of grave concern.
“An interesting observation is that of those lodges sold out it is our understanding that Mr. Ahom did not pay for the one allocated to him and up till date it is still unoccupied, so if office space is what the Ortom government is actually in need of it should have taken up the vacant lodge rather than opt to forcefully take-over the one encumbered by litigation even at the risk of contempt of court.
“This we must say is a most brazen show of disregard for rule of the law and due process, one which hints loudly at a resolve of the present regime to continue on a path of action and conduct towards the immediate past governor which is motivated more of vendetta than the pursuit of the common good of the people of the state.
“It could be recalled that since assumption of office as governor, Ortom has, in speech and action, actively sown the seeds of discord between himself and his predecessor whom he is known to have severally described in unprintable terms at public functions, and this we dare say, renders as insincere the governor’s professed pursuit of reconciliation as a policy of his administration.
“We like to state that as a party we will not fold our arms and watch our members, traduced and treated with impunity and arrogance by the ruling government, since we are very much aware of the fundamental rights of our members and the safeguards provided for same by the laws of the land.
“Furthermore, as a Party we have a proud legacy of having allowed free space for the thriving of individual liberties and the pursuit of group interests, while we held power in this state, and we demand nothing less than this in return, not only for members of our Party, but for all citizens of the state.
“We demand that Gov. Ortom and his government show respect for the rule of law and due process and stay away from Atom Kpera Lodge pending the exaustive determination of the legal process.
“Furthermore, we challenge the governor to undertake an open review of the process of the acquisition of the other lodges sold alongside Atom Kpera Lodge, and other government landed properties too, including parts of the Industrial Layout in Makurdi which we understand had been bought by Oracle Business conglomerate owned by Gov. Ortom.
“This we challenge the governor to do for purpose of credibility and transparency, as anything short of this will only further deepen the view that he is merely on a vendetta mission against Suswam on this Atom Kpera Lodge saga”