The Benue State Governor, Mr Samuel Ortom has declared an amnesty for possessors of illegal arms in the the state, urging them to surrender the weapons or get arrested.
He made the declaration at his inauguration by the state Chief Judge, Justice Iorhemen Hwande, last Friday at the IBB Square in Makurdi.
“We call on all unlawfully armed persons who have been terrorizing innocent citizens to immediately surrender their arms, be free and get integrated into our reform program, or we shall pursue them down to their holes,” he stressed.
“We will also move decisively against those of our youths and their patrons who have chosen a living out of unbridled acts of terror and thuggery as government will no longer be a shield for these youths and those who patronize them.”
The former Minister of State, Industry, Trade, and Investment also pledged to tackle the perennial herders and farmers conflict with legislation as a long term measure.
“We will do everything possible to contain 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,” Mr Ortom stated.
He also announced the renaming of Government House and dropping of all his titles.
“To eliminate that 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,” he stated.
“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.”
According to him, “If we must run a government in which everybody is involved; a peoples 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.
The former Minister listed good governance and revenue security, agriculture-driven industrialization, science based education and health care delivery, provision of critical infrastructure, issues relating to women, youths, and the disabled as well as sports as his priorities.