The governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, has revealed that despite his position, he has yet to see the new naira notes.
He made the revelation on Wednesday, January 25, 2023, as he backed calls for the extension of the deadline for changing the old naira notes to the redesigned ones.
Ortom said he was concerned about the short duration handed to Nigerians to effect the change of their old notes to the new ones considering the rural dwellers who are yet to be aware of the development and the fact that the new notes were scarce.
Speaking at the Government House in Makurdi when the Governing Council of Joseph Sarwaaun Tarka University, Makurdi (JOSTUM) paid him a visit, Ortom said: “As governor, I have not seen any new naira despite six days to the deadline. What will happen to the man in the village? I join the Senate in calling for the extension of the change of the currency from the old to the new one.
“Our people are already going through the pains of insecurity in this country. A majority of the people are suffering. Things are not okay in the country, Mr President should know this.”
Ortom said that since the new notes were not much in circulation, it was not possible, especially for the rural dwellers, to meet up with the deadline, adding that most of them did not even have bank accounts.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for heeding to the demand of immortalising late Joseph Sarwuan Tarka by changing the name of the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi to JOSTUM.
“Tarka had contributed immensely to the development of politics and to humanity within his short stay on earth.
He fought for the right of minorities. I appreciate Mr President for honouring us not just Tarka but the entire people of the state.
He, however, alleged that the host community of the school was shortchanged, adding that the money that was released for compensation did not get to them.
“So, relocation of the people to other areas became a problem. That is why they are still laying claims to the land.
“We have formed a committee and we will bring in the management of the school into it. This will enable us to see how we will have a win win situation for both the host community and the institution,” Ortom said.
Also, the Chairperson of the council, Mrs Edith Uwajumogu, said she was grateful to God for making her the first female Pro-Chancellor of the university since its inception.
Uwajumogu disclosed that their interest was to see that the school became greater, adding that the name of the school had been changed but it had not gone conventional yet, expressing optimism that it would be done pretty soon.
She appealed to the state government to rehabilitate the road from the SRS junction to the school.
The Pro-chacellor also demanded for vehicles to ease students transportation challenges.
She said the institution was too large, therefore, students trekked long distances to attend lectures.
Acting Vice Chancellor (VC), Prof. Paul Anune, said they were grateful to Ortom for his willingness to partner with the institution.
Anune informed the governor that encroachment on the institution’s land by the host community was still prevalent.
“We wanted to open up a road from the school to Agan gate and build a perimeter fence round the school but the host community attacked the workers.
“We are seeking the intervention of the state government in order to put the matter to rest permanently,” Anune said. (Pieced together from reports by Daily Trust and NAN)