Ortom urges repentant militiamen to embrace development
Stakeholders want legal backing for amnesty programme
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has advised the over 1, 000 militiamen that accepted his amnesty programme to forget their dark past and sin no more but work positively for the development of the state.
Ortom, who gave the advice in Makurdi while addressing the over one thousand of beneficiaries of the amnesty program at a three-day orientation workshop organized by his administration, expressed gladness that his carrot and stick approach has resulted in reduction of criminal activities such as armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes in the state.
He said in-spite of the skepticism of the old order, which patronised thugs and illegal possessors of arms and weapons, peace has come to stay in the state.
Meanwhile, stakeholders arising from a three–day workshop for beneficiaries of amnesty organized by the state government have called for legal backing of the program.
The call, which was contained in a 10-point communiqué issued at the end of the workshop at weekend also appealed to government to establish amnesty offices as well as skill acquisition centers in the three senatorial zones of the state.
The communiqué was made available to The Guardian yesterday, also called for the setting up of farm centers and drug free clubs in collaboration with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, for the beneficiaries.
The communiqué suggested the recruitment of the beneficiaries into Civilian Joint Task Force, CJTF, even as it advised the state government to put in place measures to avert spillover effects of cross border crimes.
The stakeholders urged the state government to approach bilateral and multilateral agencies for collaboration in the implementation of the amnesty programme.
Governor Ortom revealed that his government in consultation with the Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons, PRESCOM, the United Nations Development Programme, (UNDP), and Economic Community of West African States, (ECOWAS), decided to organize the workshop to give beneficiaries orientation on how to live normal lives as good citizens.
The state chief executive posited that the workshop is targeted at encouraging those who have been granted amnesty to reflect on their past, repent from unlawful and evil deeds, and embrace a new life.
While restating the state government’s commitment to support and sustain those who accepted to embrace a new life through the programme, Ortom maintained that the gesture would assist them to avoid the temptation of returning to their old ways.
He assured people of the state that protection of their lives and property would continue to remain a topmost priority of his administration.
“We shall ensure that we engage with the conventional security apparatus in the state and volunteers from our communities to deliver a secure the environment for investors within and outside the country,” he noted.