The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Benue State, Chief Dr Samuel Ortom, has urged security agencies to hold the Benue State government under Governor Gabriel Suswam responsible for the recent spate of kidnappings and political violence in Benue State.
He spoke when the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, Professor Bem Angwe led a delegation from the commission to pay a visit on him in Makurdi yesterday.
Chief Dr Ortom stated that reliable sources have revealed that ironically the people who took oath to protect lives and property have absconded their responsibilities and compromised their positions by training a militia group and equipping it to wreak violence in the forthcoming polls.
He said a grand plan by the government to use the militia to kidnap prominent APC members and supporters has commenced with the kidnapping of the Provost of the College of Education Katsina-Ala on allegations that he was a supporter of the party.
According to the former Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, the objective of the plan was to intimidate and scare APC and its supporters from participating in the forthcoming polls adding however that the plan was bound to fail.
He disclosed that in the last one week armed youths on the convoy of the Governor destroyed APC offices, flags and posters in Ukum, Katsina-Ala, Logo and Buruku local government areas.
Chief Dr Ortom stated that his campaign organization had compiled all the destruction which Governor Suswam and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had done to the APC campaign property in the state and would forward same to the commission for further necessary action.
He appealed to the authorities to intervene as the restraint and tolerance of victims had been stretched to the limit.
Earlier, Professor Angwe said he was on an advocacy visit to sensitize stakeholders to see elections as a civic duty and political office as a call to serve and not a do or die affair.
He said the mandate of the commission included the investigation of allegations by victims of political violence and that its findings and decisions were as binding as court judgements.
The Executive Secretary pledged that the commission was committed to ensuring that those who committed electoral violence were sanctioned wherever they may seek refuge as it discharged its mandate in conjunction with international agencies.
He said he had also visited the state to deploy 300 monitors to identify and ascertain the condition of displaced persons in the state.
Professor Angwe presented copies of the commission’s reviewed 2007 election tribunals’ judgments with respect to violence and those indicted to Chief Dr Ortom who also presented copies of his campaign organization’s publication with reports of the destruction of his campaign property to the Executive Secretary.
Ortom / Abounu Governorship Campaign Organization.