George Okoh in Makurdi
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has threatened to take punitive measures against any traditional ruler in the state involved in fomenting crises in communities that has led to loss of lives and destruction of properties.
The governor also declared he would not depose or banish any traditional ruler found guilty.
The governor made this known yesterday following the destruction of houses at Ikpayongo and Ayati communities due to land feud between the people of Mbasombo and Shough Council Wards in Gwer East Local Government Area and clashes over ponds in Agatu that led to death of some persons.
The governor who handed over about seven suspects to security agents for investigation and prosecution stated that there was a code of conduct guiding the office of traditional rulers which he expected them to adhere to.
“We have rules we use in dealing with traditional rulers who get involved in indiscipline and we won’t contemplate dethroning and banishment.
Ortom frowned at the action of communities from the two council wards, saying such would not be condoned under his administration.
The governor further directed security agents to arrest those mentioned in connection with the crisis but were not at the meeting, stressing that they must be apprehended to explain their involvement or otherwise in the crisis.
He lamented that it was highly regrettable for people who were bonded together in poverty to resort to destruction of homes they suffered to build, saying such actions would be met with severe punishment.
He said the Ter Gwer, Chief Dominic Akpe had been mandated to liaise with illustrious sons from the local government area for amicable resolution of the crisis, adding that security agents were also directed to fish out some criminal elements operating in Mbalom community.
He stated that the security and economic challenges confronting the country were enough to discourage anyone from unleashing violence on a fellow human being, pointing out that such could only worsen food security and engender poverty.
On the communal crisis in Agatu, Governor Ortom told newsmen that a security meeting had also been summoned to consider remote and immediate causes of the crisis with a view to bringing perpetrators to book for peace to reign.
The governor also noted that efforts had been intensified between governments of Benue and Ebony States to ensure lasting peace among people living at the border communities.
While urging people of the State to adhere to preventive measures against the dreaded Coronavirus which had already affected the economy of the country, Governor Ortom also charged them to seek the face of God to help prevent the spread of the disease to Benue.