Gov. Samuel Ortom has called on indigenes of Benue at home and in the Diaspora to unite against the security and economic challenges bedeviling the state.
Ortom made the appeal at the 2019 annual convention of the Idoma Association USA in New York at the weekend, with the theme, “Security and Economic Challenges in Idoma Land’’.
Noting that the state is “deeply divided’’, the governor emphasised the need for unity and cooperation among indigenes to resist alleged plans by herdsmen to take over their land.
He reiterated plans by his administration to constitute a truth and reconciliation committee to address the challenge of ethnic disharmony fuelled by the last general elections in the state.
The governors said: “Benue is deeply divided today. Elections are over, so we must come together. As we go back to Nigeria, we should be able to set up the committee.
“I thank God for the Idoma nation, especially you here in America. But while we look at the Idoma agenda and the Tiv agenda, for me as governor, it will be a thing of joy to also look at the Benue agenda.
“I believe that if the leaders of the Idoma and Tiv come together at one forum to prosecute the Benue agenda, it will help us all because we are members of the same family from Benue State.’’
Sen. Abba Moro (PDP-Benue South) blamed the elite for the ethnic divisions in the state, noting that the average Idoma and Tiv people had nothing against one another.
“It is not by accident that we have been put together in Benue state; God has a reason for it.
“So, to fulfil that will, we must work together and support ourselves to be able to rise and defeat our common enemies.
“As leaders, we must be able to cancel this mutual suspicion, animosity and mistrust among us, only then can we fulfil God’s will for us and our state,’’ he said.
Mr Godday Samuel, the member representing Apa/Agatu Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, solicited support for the state government’s peacebuilding and conflict resolution efforts.
Noting that development is impossible without peace, Samuel said “when we are united internally, external aggressors can never defeat us’’.
The President of the association, Mr Ogbole Abu, said the convention was designed to generate ideas that would assist government in addressing address the development challenges facing Idoma Land and by extension Benue.
Abu said the suggestions and recommendations would be made public through in a communiqué that would come with timelines on heir implementation. (NAN)