By Peter Duru – Makurdi
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has said he owes no one apologies for the fight for and defending the rights of the people of Benue state.
He said he would be failing in his responsibilities to the people of the state and God if he kept mute in the face of injustice and the oppression of the people who entrusted him with the leadership of the state.
The Governor who spoke Thursday when he hosted the Presidents of Middle Belt Youth Organisations in Makurdi said a leader who cares for the wellbeing of his people owes them the responsibility to speak out in the face of injustice because anything to the contrary would be ungodly.
“So I owe no one any apology in trying to fight for our rights and ensure that our people are equally treated and that they get justice whether at the federal, state, and local government levels. It is a responsibility we owe them.
“And for those of us who are leaders, we have sworn to protect the provisions of the constitution. We believe that we cannot keep mute in the face of injustice like what is happening in our country today because today it appears like we have two constitutions that is being used to run our country, it is sad.
“And let me make bold to say that anyone in Nigeria today who is against the banning of open grazing has an evil agenda that he or she intends to prosecute against the people of this country.
“Otherwise ranching has been identified as the global best practice in animal husbandry and we cannot do it differently here in Nigeria,” he said.
The Governor who commended the group for adding its voice to the cry of Benue people said “we are proud of what you are doing for our people.
“Initially people did not see the open grazing thing as a challenge when we started shouting, but today the entire country has risen up to accept it. So instead of wasting time and resources let us do the right thing and everybody will be in peace.
“I heard in the media that foreign direct investment to the country had declined. Even those that are businessmen in the country are no longer investing because of insecurity. The implication is that apart from those unemployed, those employed would soon be jobless and add to the number we already have. That is a big crisis.
“So we must all join hands, the local, state, and federal governments to provide security for lives and property of the people to avert a looming crisis,” the Governor said.
Earlier, President of Benue Youth Forum and Coordinator of Presidents of Middle Belt Youth Organisations, Comrade Terrence Kuanum said the leaders were in Benue state to commend and identify with the Governor for his forthrightness in speaking out against injustice in the country.
“You have become a beacon of hope not only for the Middle Belt but also the entire country. You are not one of those leaders who abandon their people when they need them the most.
“We are here also to intimate you that we have come together under one umbrella and a common cause to cue behind patriotic leaders like you in protecting our people. This group also serves as a vehicle for driving and projecting the aspirations of our people in the Middle Belt.
“Our operations are strictly guided by the laws of our country and we passionately defend the constitution of this country as the only way to a true federation and nation building,” he said.