Samuel Ortom, the Benue State Governor, says he has spent the sum of N680 million treating victims of snakebite in the State, in the last 22 years.
This is contained in the checks conducted by the State Ministry of Health and Human Services.
The Governor, who has personally maintained a retainership with Bishop Murray Hospital Makurdi for the free treatment of snakebites since the year 2000, disclosed this on Tuesday, during a meeting with MINDA PDP Elders Forum.
The MINDA consists of people from Masev, Ihyarev and Nongov Development Association and comprises of Guma, Makurdi, Gwer-East and Gwer-West.
The Governor, however, disclosed that owing to the increasing costs this has placed on him, he had sought the approval of the Benue State executive council for the State government takes over the scheme since it had overwhelmed him financially.
The Governor while recounting the destruction caused by the invasion of three, out of the four local governments of MINDA, namely Guma, Makurdi and Gwer West by activities of militia herdsmen, lamented that thousands have been displaced and many others killed.
He, however, expressed optimism that despite the challenging times, his administration had executed and was still executing projects in parts of MINDA, including roads, saying that such efforts will be sustained.
Governor Ortom urged the party elders to go into the forthcoming local government elections in unity by discussing in earnest, zoning and consensus arrangements and to bring on board, real politicians who will be elected as Chairmen and councilors.
The Governor, who also called for the inclusion of women right from deliberations at all levels, noted that women play vital role during campaigns and in voting and such should be featured prominently in key positions.
Governor Ortom sued for patience and understanding among his kinsmen as challenges confronting them are being addressed with limited resources.
National President, MINDA PDP Elders Forum, Engr Samuel Utoo, acknowledged the good works and support to them by the Governor and urged him to step up as his administration comes to an end.
Other speakers at the event, including Senator Fred Orti for Masev, Rt Hon Cletus Upaa for Ihyarev, elder Bendena Nongu for Nongov and Mrs Rebecca Apezan for women, all commended Governor Ortom for his giant strides and pledged their unalloyed support for him now and in future ambitions.