By Peter Duru – Makurdi
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Wednesday, said his administration does not keep militia as recently claimed by the opposition in the state.
The Governor who made the clarification when he received the Chairman Middlebelt Brain Trust, MBT and former Chief of Defence Staff, General Martin Luther Agwai(retd) and his delegation in Makurdi, said it was evil for anyone to make such allegation.
Recall that Minister for Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Senator George Akume had on August 30, 2021 at a press conference in Abuja alleged that the Ortom led administration was among others keeping militia in the state.
Receiving the delegation, the Governor said those making such baseless allegations were enemies of the state who had taken sides with oppressors of Benue in order to protect their meal tickets.
He reiterated that he had never kept thugs let alone militia lamenting that Benue people were going through a lot of pains in the hands of Fulani militia.
He noted that the presidency was aware that Fulani militia were brought from other countries into Nigeria with the sole purpose of taking over the land stressing that the account by the former Chief of Army Staff that some members of his delegation could not make it to Makurdi confirmed the activities of the armed herders in the state who also obstructed movements on the busy Makurdi-Lafia road yesterday.
The Governor also expressed worry that despite the long stay of Internally Displaced Persons in various camps in the state no meaningful intervention had come from the Federal Government as being done in other states of the country.
The Governor lamented that people who hitherto survived on farming had been forced out of their homes for years running pledging the support of his administration to any genuine process that would lead to peace in Benue and Nigeria at large.
General Agwai in a remark said he was in the state to meet with the Governor and stakeholders in order to have first hand information on the cause of crisis in the state after which the views would be collated and recommendations made for necessary action.
He stated that MBT was a sixteen member apolitical group affiliated with the Institute for Integrated Transition, Barcelona Spain working in all the states of the North Central and had taken it upon itself to traverse the region to find lasting solution to crisis in the area.