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By John Charles, Punch

Following the economic downturn in Benue State, Governor Samuel Ortom has said some of the ongoing projects across the state would have to stop.

The prevalent decline in the country’s economy took a troubling turn in the state on Friday with the resolution of the state government to declare a state of emergency on payment of workers’ salaries.

Benue workers are being owed arrears of up to five months, while local government workers are nine months behind on salary payment .

According to a statement by Ortom’s media aide, Godwin Akor, the governor dropped the hint of abandoning ongoing projects so as to give priority to payment of workers’ salaries.

The statement said Ortom spoke during a wedding ceremony at St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Nyiman in Makurdi.

It quoted the governor as saying, “With the recent development in the country leading to the resolution of the meeting held between our government and workers to declare a state of emergency on the payment of salaries of workers, all the ongoing projects may have to stop for now.”

Ortom stated that labour leaders and the state government had agreed that a state of emergency should be declared on the payment of salaries, adding that the emergency situation would continue until payment of salaries normalised.

He said federal allocation to the state improved marginally in April and expressed hope that subsequent months would witness more increase.

The governor further stated that the National Economic Council, at its last meeting, approved the establishment of ranching as a way of curtailing crises between herdsmen and farmers and urged citizens not to take the law into their hands when there was trespassing.

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