‘Ortom addressing UN on his achievements, not Suswan’s’

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By IKANA ADAKOLE, Otukpo
The Benue State Government has faulted reports published online that informed that Governor Samuel Ortom’s invitation to speak on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in New York was as a result of achievements recorded by former Governor Gabriel Suswan.

A statement signed by the Special Adviser,  Media and ICT to Governor Samuel Ortom, Tahav Agerzua, described the publication as malicious and wicked.
“Our attention has been drawn to falsehood being circulated on the social media that Governor Samuel Ortom has been invited to speak at an event at the United Nations in New York, United States of America, based on the achievements of his predecessor in executing programs of the Millennium Development Goals. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“Governor Ortom attended UN programs in September last year where the activities of the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, were rounded up and the transition from that program into the Sustainable Development Goals was concluded,” it explained.
It recalled that it was during his interactions and those of his Special Adviser on Development Cooperation, Dr Magdalyn Dura, that a Benue indigene who served in the office of the Senior Special Assistant on MDGs in the Presidency informed him about overlapping projects for which a counterpart fund of N1. 2 billion was required to access.
It further explained that upon their return funds were sourced and paid leading to the securing of the matching grant of an equal amount.
The statement went on to inform that Benue State became the first state in the country to access such funds in 2015 and obtain the MDGs/SDGs conditional grants scheme projects which were flagged off in the state on 11th March, 2016, after a transparent bidding process.
It noted that most of the initial projects were in the health, water and sanitation as well as the economic empowerment sectors located in 32 communities across the state while adding that the second round of the projects will soon commence.
“Projects in the first phase are going on smoothly with many already completed. One of the completed projects includes the Primary Health Care Centre with solar-powered overhead thank at Gbatse, in Ushongo local government area.
“Available records from the organizers of the event at which Governor Ortom would speak indicate that their fascination with the Benue SDGs has been its incorporation into a well articulated Development Plan and involvement of multiple stakeholders in their execution,” it stressed.
It debunked the insinuation, stressing that the invitation extended to the Governor did not mention previous experiences of his predecessor with MDGs in the state.
“All efforts to access the website www.MDGs.information.ng cited in the report as basis for conclusions have proved fruitless.
“The so-called assessment of the execution of SDG projects in the state based on information purported to have been posted on the phantom website is entirely the imagination of fabricators of the false and mischievous report.
“Members of the public are therefore advised to dismiss the report as the handiwork of mischief makers,” it emphasized.

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