Governor Samuel Ortom has commended the Nigerian Armed Forces for sacrificing their lives for the peace and unity of the country.
He spoke yesterday in Makurdi during the 2019 Armed Forces Remembrance Day held at the IBB Square, Makurdi.
The Governor acknowledged the immense support and sacrifices of the Nigerian Armed Forces towards restoring peace in Benue and Nigeria at large, stressing that if not for them, what befell the state last year would not have been controlled.
He prayed God to protect and provide for the families of the fallen heroes, even as he also prayed God to grant those in various theatres of war within and outside the country victory over insurgency.
Governor Ortom, the Tor Tiv, Professor James Ayatse, senior military officers as well as the Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Legion of Ex-servicemen laid Wreaths at the tombs of the fallen heroes.
The Governor also inspected the parade at the ceremony and also inspected the free medical services offered at the venue by the military.
During the solemn occasion, prayers were offered for the peaceful repose of the souls of the fallen heroes and for peace in the country.
Governor Samuel Ortom and his predecessor, Dr. Gabriel Torquay Suswam have charged the people of Kunav to vote for all candidates of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the February 16th and March 2nd general elections.
They spoke today at LGEA Primary School Vandeikya, during the ongoing campaign tour of local government areas in the state.
Governor Ortom who was giving a rousing welcome by his supporters in Vandeikya, charged the people to vote for the presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, himself, Dr. Gabriel Suswam and all other PDP candidates in the 2019 general elections.
He told the people not to allow themselves to be intimidated by anybody in the forthcoming general elections, pointing out that they should come out en mass and vote out the APC-led government at the federal level to alleviate hunger and poverty in the country occasioned by the APC Maladministration.
Dr. Gabriel Suswam Suswam said the survival of the Tiv nation as a people is in question as far as the APC-led administration at the centre is concerned, saying Ortom is courageous and determined to protect his people and he (Suswam) stands shoulder to shoulder with the Governor to protect the land.
Speaker of the State Assembly, Hon. Titus Uba said the people of Kunav have settled for the PDP in all the elections in 2019, stressing that what they needed to do was to go outside Kunav land to canvass support for the Governor and PDP in general at the polls.
Professor Terhemba Shija in a remark said the APC-led government at the centre is the opposite of democracy military and charged his kit and kin to vote for Atiku, Ortom, Suswam and all other PDP candidates in the forthcoming elections.
He said the PDP has given their son, Mr. Titus Uba Speaker of the State Assembly and should be supported from all fronts.
Elder statesman and a chieftain of the PDP from Kunav, Chief David Amo, urged his people to support the PDP in all elections, stressing that their should be no selective voting as far as the interest of the entire Benue State was concerned.
Members of other political parties including SDP, APC, Action Alliance and Labour Party in the area dumped their various political parties for the PDP.
Governor Samuel Ortom and governorship candidates of other political parties in Benue yesterday signed a peace pact with a pledge to ensure peaceful elections on February 16th and Match 2nd 2019.
The Governor assured Benue people that he was committed to a peaceful and transparent election in 2019, expressing the hope that the pact would promote and sustain peace among candidates and the various political parties.
He stated that there was no need for any political office seeker to perpetuate violence to win election, noting that only God ordains leaders and when he chooses, there is nothing anybody can do.
The Governor however noted that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and security agencies have a bigger role to play in ensuring peaceful elections by being unbiased and professional in their conduct.
He charged the umpire body and security agencies to resist pressure from any quarters to compromise by ensuring that the rule of law and due process prevail during the election.
INEC Commissioner in the state, Dr. Yilwada Nantawe said the peace accord became necessary owing to pockets of violence that characterized the 2015 general elections in the state.
He stated that INEC would interface with traditional rulers, youths, religious leaders and women with a view to ensuring a peaceful election in 2019.
Tor Tiv, Professor James Ayatse, urged political actors to match the peace pact with action by ensuring issue based campaigns, warning that the land would be angry with those who sign peace agreement and go out to foment trouble thereafter.
State Commissioner of Police, Omolulu Bishi, pledged the commitment of the Police to remain professional in their conduct towards ensuring peace before, during and after the election.
He stated that the Police would not hesitate to arrest and prosecute anyone found committing or aiding electoral violence.
Governor Samuel Ortom has charged Benue people to venture into rearing of goats, piggery and poultry farming among others as an alternative to beef.
He gave the charge today while celebrating the 2018 Christmas with Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, at various camps in Ugba, Anyiin, Abagena and Daudu in Logo, Makurdi and Guma Local Government Areas respectively.
The Governor advised the people to also take to rearing of native cow in order to discourage them from patronising Fulani cows, stressing that an independent survey last year revealed that N2.1 billion was spent by Benue people in buying cows for Christmas celebration.
He stated that any Benue person alleging that people of the state were behind the killings in the state should be taken to a psychiatric hospital for examination for insanity.
Governor Ortom noted that it was disheartening for any sane person to exonerate the militia herdsmen of killings in the state when the herders had on several occasions claimed responsibility for the killings citing conquest agenda and rustling of their cattle among others.
He stated that he chose to celebrate the Yuletide with the IDPs in the camps because he would have also been in the camp as an IDP if he were not a Governor, pointing out that his village was also overran by the herdsmen militia.
The said he received reports that herdsmen were moving in large numbers into Guma and Logo LGAs but warned that a law against open grazing was still in force and must be obeyed, stressing that he had given security agencies charge on that.
In separate remarks, Ter Logo, Chief Jimmy Meeme and the Council Chairman of Logo, Mr. Richard Nyajo, said Governor Ortom had stood for the truth and God would not let him down, pointing out that the people of Logo would support him to achieve his desire for the state.
Dr. Terkula Suswam and Majority Whip of the State Assembly, Mr. Kester Kyenge stated that the Governor had done what is unprecedented by choosing to celebrate Christmas in IDPs camps.
They noted that Logo with over ninety thousand registered voters would deliver them in block to the Governor in 2019, adding that the Governor is not a candidate of the PDP but that of Benue and needs to be supported.
Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, Mr. Emmanuel Shior, thanked Governor Ortom, humanitarian service providers and international agencies for their various interventions to the upkeep of the IDPs, even as he pledged sustained prayers for the Governor and his administration.
Governor Samuel Ortom today joined Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, at the Junior Federal Government Girls’ College, Gbajimba, to identify with them on the historic occasion of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Addressing the IDPs, Governor Ortom said he was saddened that they had stayed in the various camps for a year running, saying he decided to celebrate with them in the camps in order to show them love and a sense of belonging.
He prayed God to grant the souls of their deceased brothers and sisters whose lives were cut short by militia herdsmen eternal rest, even as he directed the State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, to drill additional boreholes in the camp as well as carry out periodic fumigation of the environment to guarantee safety.
The Governor stated that it was a fallacy for those who were accusing his administration of complicity in the alleged sponsorship of the former commander of the disbanded Livestock Guards, Alhaji Aliyu Tershaku to suddenly become mute when the said Tershaku had joined them in the All Progressives Congress, APC.
He stated that he cried loudest when security deployments to contain herders attacks on his people were not effective, stressing that the efforts of Operation Whirl stroke which had brought relative peace were commendable and appreciated.
The Governor had earlier interacted with his kit and kin from Nzorov council ward where he charged them to support the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, his reelection and all other PDP candidates in the 2019 general elections.
He stated that every evil deed against him turns out to be a blessing, pointing out that his persecution had rather brought to the knowledge of the international community the travails of Benue people.
The Governor charged his people to embrace God and serve Him faithfully, stressing that there is no comfort anywhere more than serving God.
Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, Mr. Emmanuel Shior, acknowledged the prompt attention given to the IDPs in the camps, even as he also appreciated the contributions of donor agencies in the upkeep of the IDPs.
Chairman and Chairlady of the IDPs camp, Messrs Hyacinth Neior and Esther Ancha respectively expressed appreciation to the Governor for his show of love and care for them.
The Governor while wishing the IDPs a peaceful celebration of the yuletide, donated assorted food items and cash to enable them celebrate, even as he acknowledged the receipt of fifty trucks load of relief materials from the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, for onward distribution to the IDPs.
Governor Samuel Ortom has challenged young lawyers of Benue State origin recently called to the Bar to brace up for the future.
He threw the challenge yesterday when he received set 2018 graduands of Nigerian Law School on a courtesy call at the Benue Peoples House, Makurdi.
The Governor stressed the important role lawyers play to the development of the society especially now that Nigeria’s democracy is being restructured, saying he looks forward to seeing them attain further academic heights.
He stated that he was proud of the young lawyers for their dedication to studies leading to the brilliant performance they put up at the Nigerian Law School, saying they have not disappointed him.
Leader of the group, Mr. Michael Atsaga said they were in the Benue Peoples House to express gratitude to the governor for releasing funds to support them at the Nigerian Law school.
Mr. Atsaga pledged solidarity for the Governor, saying they have no other option than to support his reelection in appreciation for the gesture.
The young lawyers presented packaged bags of rice and gari to the governor as a token in appreciation for his support for them while at the Law school, describing the support as uncommon.