Despite claiming that there was no funds to pay public primary school teachers in Benue State the new minimum wage, outgoing Governor of the state, Mr. Gabriel Suswam, Thursday, donated eight brand new SUVs to the incoming administration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led by Dr. Samuel Ortom.
Public primary schools in the “Food Basket of the Nation” have been shut for over 8 months following a dispute over teachers’ salaries since the implementation of the national minimum wage.
The governor, who has only a month to spend in office before the expiration of his tenure, had during the height of negotiations with the striking teachers, said the state did not have the money to meet their demands. “There’s no way, even if the teachers are on strike for 20 years, I can’t raise 4billion (Naira) to pay all these salaries; that is practically out of place”, he was quoted to have said.
But yesterday, a happy Gov. Suswam said the donation of the multi-million Naira vehicles to Ortom, the deputy governor-elect, Engr Benson Abounu and their spouses was aimed at ensuring that the new government starts on a smooth note.
Speaking with journalists at the handing over ceremony of the vehicles at Government House, Makurdi, Suswam urged media practitioners to give the same level of support his administration enjoyed to the incoming APC administration, which will be headed by Mr. Ortom.
“I want you people (journalists) to extend the same support and cooperation our government enjoyed to the incoming administration of APC in the interest of the nation”, the outgoing governor, who is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, said.