Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Chief Dr. Samuel Ortom, described the incessant attacks on farmers across Benue State by suspected herdsmen as acts of terrorism and sabotage.
Chief Dr. Ortom who is also supervising Aviation Minister spoke with newsmen after an inspection visit to the affected areas and displaced peoples’ camps in Guma and Makurdi local government areas of the state.
He said the attacks coupled with several others in various states in the Northern and Southern parts of the country were a clear case of terrorism and sabotage against the administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and its transformation agenda.
The minister appealed to well meaning people across the country to assist the federal government in confronting the security challenges especially in intelligence gathering and collaborative action since security of lives and property was the responsibility of all.
Chief Dr. Ortom enjoined Nigerians to lay aside all differences in order to confront the challenges which he said undermine the very existence and corporate unity of the country.
He assured the displaced people that President Jonathan has directed the National Emergency Management Agency to assess and respond to the situation in conjunction with the state government adding that Governor Gabriel Suswam also assured him that action would be taken to alleviate their suffering.
According to the Minister, the killing of hundreds of people, looting of their property as well as displacement from their ancestral homes was repugnant, reprehensive and unacceptable pledging that he would mobilize support to ensure that peace returned and that the people also went back to their homes as soon as possible.
He also announced the suspension of activities in pursuit of his governorship ambition for one month so as to concentrate all efforts on finding a lasting solution to the crises.
Chief Dr. Ortom who distributed relief materials to the displaced in the places visited commended the Parish Priest of St. Francis Catholic Church, Daudu, Rev. Fr. Solomon Ukeyima for his initiative in taking care of those displaced in Makurdi and Guma local government areas.
In his remarks Rev. Father Ukeyima expressed appreciation to the Minister for bringing hope to those displaced and requested the provision of security in order to enable them get back.
The Parish Priest announced that he has set up a free nursery school for displaced children adding that over 600 of them have already been enrolled.
Speaking on behalf of the displaced, Messrs Richard Daudu and Emmanuel Undyar expressed appreciation for Chief Dr. Ortom’s gesture and requested the provision of security measures that would ensure their quick return to their homes.
They complained of lack of water and toilet facilities in the camps even as they castigated soldiers for their complicity in their plight but commended the Nigeria Police Force for giving them assistance.
Chief Dr. Ortom and his entourage including newsmen from various media organizations visited Tse Ortom, where they saw the destruction of the Minister’s country home, Gbajimba, St. Mary’s and Army Children’s Schools North Bank, Daudu, and Uikpam.