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Ortom urges possessors of illegal arms to surrender them or risk arrest

Dr Samuel Ortom

Dr Samuel Ortom

BENUE State governor, Mr. Samuel Ortom, has asked those in possession of illegal and unauthorised arms in the state to surrender them or risk being arrested.

Issuing the directive shortly after his inauguration by the state Chief Judge, Justice Iorhemen Hwande, last Friday at the IBB Square in Makurdi, Ortom said: “We call on all unlawfully armed persons who have been terrorising innocent citizens to immediately surrender their arms, be free and get integrated into our reform programme, or we shall pursue them down into their holes.

“We will also move decisively against those of our youths and their patrons who have chosen to make a living out of unbridled acts of terror as government will no longer be a shield for such youths and those who patronise them.”

He also pledged to tackle the perennial herders and farmers’ conflict with legislation as a long-term measure, saying: “We will do everything possible to stop attacks on our people by criminal gangs and herdsmen.

We will through appropriate legislation encourage those with livestock in the state to keep them on ranches as a way of forestalling incessant clashes with farmers.”

He also announced the renaming of Government House and renouncement of all his titles.

“To eliminate distance between the government and the people, the seat of Government in Benue State will no longer be called Government House but Benue Peoples House.

“This, we believe, will serve as a constant reminder that we hold our positions of authority in trust for the people and that the people are more important than anything else in a democracy,” Ortom said.

According to him: “If we must run a government in which everybody is involved, a people’s government, we must put aside personal advantage so that we can feel the pains and see the promise of Benue. It is in this regard that I wish to drop all my titles preferring to be addressed as Samuel Ortom.”

He said he would sustain what his predecessor did right but boldly correct wrongs even as he promised to punish corrupt officials and recover stolen government property.

While listing good governance and revenue security, agriculture-driven industrialisation, science-based education and healthcare delivery, provision of critical infrastructure as focal points of his administration, the governor also said issues relating to women, youths and the physically-challenged, as well as sports, would as well be given adequate attention.

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