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The Chairman of Benue State Assets Recovery Committee, Hinga Biem, said the committee had recovered 48 vehicles from former Governor Samuel Ortom and other top government officials in the immediate past administration.

Governor Hyacinth Alia had inaugurated the committee on June 16, 2023, to recover vehicles and landed property that were illegally sold or removed away from government premises by government officials.

Biem said three tractors were among the recovered government property.

The committee chairman said five persons had willingly returned the vehicles in their possession while demand notice had been given to 36 public officers to appear before the committee.

He said the committee decided to go after some vehicles because the last administration illegally disposed of them without following due process.

“Let’s say, for instance, the governor of Benue State has a number of vehicles in his convoy. While it is right to go with his official and backup vehicles, it is questionable why he would also go with an escort, press crew, ambulance and security vehicles, which ordinarily belong to the pool,” Biem said.


On the claims that some vehicles towed away from an automobile workshop belong to certain individuals who took them to the place for repairs, the committee chairman said: “Let such individuals come forward with their vehicles’ particulars. The security agencies shall crosscheck and return them to the lawful owners.

“However, let me add that some of the vehicles have their chassis numbers removed. So, they need to also explain why they did so to security agencies.”


Biem debunked the allegation that two vehicles were missing, saying: “No vehicle is missing. This is because before we moved any vehicle, the person we met on any premises, house or workshop must sign our inventory.”

A member of the committee, who spoke in confidence, told The Nation that a bullet-proof BMW car among the governor’s official vehicles at the Benue State Liaison office in Abuja, valued at N3 billion in current market price, was allegedly sold off at N3 million.


Also, Biem said the panel would examine the veracity of the claims that the vehicles given to certain persons had waivers.

He said: “We are going to look at the rules because if a government allocated a vehicle to you and you paid a certain amount out of your salary; if at the end of your tenure or service year, you have not completed payment, the balance would be deducted from your emolument.”

According to him, the chairman of a board bought a 2023 Toyota Hilux after the All Progressives Congress (APC) had defeated the then-ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and claimed that he was given a waiver.

“But we said no. This is not correct. The vehicle must be returned to the government,” Biem said.


He urged Benue State residents to support Governor Alia to actualise his administration’s programmes and policies for the development of the state and to enable the people to reap dividends of democracy.

(The Nation)


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