By John Charles
The asset recovery committee set up by Benue State Governor, Hyacinth Alia, on Tuesday, stormed the automobile workshop owned by former governor Samuel Ortom with towing vehicles and removed some vehicles.
Alia, through his Chief Press Secretary, Kula Tersoo, recently disclosed that government vehicles, numbering 29, were allegedly looted by the past governor.
Tersoo had said in a statement that “the case of the Goverment House is particularly pitiable with vandalised furniture, window blinds, electronics and other household appliances.
“This is besides the carting away of all vehicles, including an ambulance and A press crew bus, attached to the office of the governor.
“At the last count, 29 vehicles, attached to the governor’s office, are still no where to be found.”
A source told our correspondent on Tuesday that the asset recovery committee stormed Ortom’s automobile workshop on Tuesday afternoon but were resisted by the workers there.
When contacted, the Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Bemgba Iortyom, confirmed that indeed state agents went to Ortom’s automobile workshop.
Iortyom said, “Governor Alia has now sent towing trucks to ex-Governor Ortom’s automobile workshop to cart away vehicles, after attempts to drive them away failed.”
It will be recalled that Ortom and his deputy, Benson Abounu, secured a court order restraining the asset recovery committee from coming after them.
In the suit, marked MHC/199/2023, filed through their lawyer, Douglas Pepe (SAN), Ortom and Abounu asked the court to determine “whether property legitimately allocated to them as entitlements and remuneration can be considered as state government assets.”
They are seeking “a determination of court whether or not by the combined effect of sections 5(2), 44, 318(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the executive actions and decisions of the Governor and Government of Benue State taken by Ortom and Abounu and the State Executive Council, in good faith before May 29th, 2023, were valid.”
The ex-governor and his deputy also want the court to determine “whether or not the Governor of Benue State is not bound by the constitutional approvals made by his predecessor.”
They are contending that the asset recovery committee set up by Alia has no power to interfere with their rights to own property “vested in them by the Benue State Government at all material times or without following due process.”