<<< By Terver Akase >>>
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has indicated that the amnesty programme granted illegally armed youths in the state which came to an end in September last year will be reactivated and extended in the Benue South Senatorial District.
He made the disclosure in Otukpo during a security meeting with stakeholders from the zone and promised to present the request made by the Idoma Traditional Council for the extension of the amnesty period in the area to the State Security Council.
He however blamed stakeholders from the zone for not supporting the programme when the grace period had not expired.
The Governor warned youths still keeping arms illegally in the area to voluntarily return them to the state and be reintegrated into the society as failure to do so would leave the government with no other option than to go after them.
He said he was in Otukpo to hold the second security meeting with the stakeholders in the area in a short time because of his commitment to ensuring that the people live in peace.
“I have cause to be here for a second time in a short while because we want peace in this place. We want our people to be free from insecurity and go about their businesses at all times because violence does not differentiate between individuals; it affects everyone,” he stated.
Governor Ortom described the persistent clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Agatu, Ado, Ohimini and other parts of the zone as unacceptable, calling on the two sides to allow peace to reign.
He advised the herders and farmers not to take the law into their hands but report security breaches to relevant authorities.
The Governor said he would intensify talks with the Nasarawa State Government in efforts to find a lasting solution to the frequent clashes between herdsmen and farmers and commended the Ochi’doma, Elias Ikoyi Obekpa and other traditional rulers in the zone for their efforts at peace keeping.
Deputy Governor, Engr. Benson Abounu, said the security initiatives of Governor Ortom were already yielding positive results and urged the people of the zone to support Ortom administration in its bid to restore peace to all parts of the state.
In his remarks, the Ochi’doma thanked Governor Ortom for his determination to ensure that the people of Zone C sleep with their eyes closed and prayed God to grant the Governor greater wisdom to serve the state.
The Idoma paramount ruler appealed to youths in the area to embrace the amnesty programme and surrender illegal arms in their possession, advising them to remember that their future was more important than the present pleasures of life.
Others who spoke at the meeting included Chief Obande Obeya, chairmen of Agatu, Ado, Ohimini and Oju, as well as representatives of Miyetti Allah, and Zone C youths who all pledged support for the program.