The immediate past Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, yesterday, declared his innocence in the face of allegations that he plundered the state’s resources during his eight years tenure in office.
Suswam, who was supposed to be arraigned last week by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a nine-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N3.1billion at a Federal High Court, Abuja, spoke at a special thanksgiving service organised in his honour by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, lawmakers of the Benue State House of Assembly at the Holy Ghost Catholic Church, Makurdi.
The ex-governor regretted that before the last general elections, the All Progressives Congress, APC, had told the people during political campaigns that salaries were not being paid because the state’s funds were being stolen.
“Today that same salary issue is persisting, that is to tell you that we are in a deep economic crisis”, Suswam said.
“I am not a thief, I’m not a criminal, I did not steal government money neither did I syphon the state’s resources”, he insisted adding that “In our time, we assumed office under tough circumstances, but we were able to achieve a milestone. The fact is that no one can do the job of governance at once”.
According to him, “You do your best and leave the rest. I did my best. And I refused to demonize anyone when I assumed office, though I was pushed to do so by forces and individuals but I refused.
“That seat of governor of Benue State is the hottest in the country. If you spend one day in office as a governor, and if somebody takes over, and he wants to take you to jail, he will do so.
“The fact is that nobody is a saint, we have serious economic situation. I raised the alarm, they said I was stealing money, my successor is raising same alarm today.
“Unfortunately, the Tiv man always wants to bring down his own brother, the truth is that as governor, there is no way you cannot step on toes”.