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Ortom denies operating snake farm, says ‘I’ve spent N31m treating victims of snake bite ’

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Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, on Tuesday, denied allegations making the rounds that he operates snake farm.

The governor noted that instead, he had been saving the lives of those bitten by snakes.

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Ortom further disclosed that rather than inflicting pains on people through his alleged snake farm, he had incurred N31m within three months treating victims of snake bites.

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He, however, said there was nothing wrong for anybody to go into any kind of farming, including snake farming, which the constitution permits.

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His denial is coming on the heels of a report alleging that the governor owns snakes farm at his Oracle Farm along Naka Road, Makurdi; and that the consignment intercepted last week by the Nigerian Customs in Calabar belonged to him.

TheNewsGuru.com reports that the Federal Government on Friday said it has commenced investigations to uncover the importers of the three consignments containing 140 species of snakes and 660 other animals imported into Nigeria from Cameroon on July 26.

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The governor, who briefed newsmen after his return from a two-week leave in the United Kingdom, denied the allegation.

He added that he received a divine mandate 20 years ago to assist victims of snake bites who cannot afford to pay for their treatment and that he had been doing that, culminating in his spending of N31m in three months this year alone.

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He added that he runs a foundation that was specifically established to cater for the poor and peasant farmers in the rural areas that are bitten by snakes but have no means of treatment.

Ortom further disclosed that he had decided to retain St. Theresa and Rahama Hospitals, Makurdi, where people who are bitten by snakes go for treatment, stating that over one million people have so far received treatment in the two hospitals for various degree of snake bites.

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He lamented that snakes have become a burden to the state and that if he had the power, he would have killed all the snakes across the state; adding that in the last three months, he had incurred N31m on treatment of victims of snake bites.

“As at June ending when the management of St. Theresa Hospital, Makurdi, brought the accumulated bills of three months to me, I had incurred N31m for treating victims of snake bites.

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“People should rather encourage someone who is committed to saving lives,” Ortom said.

He also said he had detailed the state’s Attorney General, Mike Gusa, to investigate the report.

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