*Reads riot act to kidnappers
Chuks Okocha in Abuja
Benue State Governor, Mr. Samuel Ortom yesterday alleged that the federal government was not sincere in ending insecurity in the country.
Ortom, said this when he paid a sympathy visit to his Commissioner for Housing and Urban Development, Chief Ekpe Ogbu, who was recently kidnapped by herdsmen, but was later released unharmed.
He further alleged that the federal government was complicit in the lingering insecurity in the country involving terrorism, armed banditry, herdsmen militia, kidnapping and other crimes.
The governor insisted that, “others who are in government today can pretend about this, but government is complicit at the federal level. They are part of it. Whatever they are saying now is pretence. They are telling lies and they do not want to give attention to the insecurity situation.”
According to Ortom, “If the federal government whose responsibility is to provide security for lives and property and who has the coercive forces of the security architecture of the country decides that terrorism, kidnappings and evil should end today, it will end.”
He maintained that, “If the federal government is in doubt, let them make an executive order just like the president makes executive orders in other areas and give me the responsibility to look after the coercive forces that are in Benue State.
“Tell them to take instructions from me, we will end the evil, armed robbery, banditry and everything, we will end it today in Benue State.”
Ortom alleged that, “the problem is that the federal government is complicit, they are part of it and I accuse them. Why do herdsmen bring their cows in Benue State again when there is a law prohibiting open grazing? Is democracy not anchored by the rule of law?” he queried.
While rejoicing with the Commissioner and his family over his release from the kidnappers unharmed, Ortom vowed not to allow kidnappers in the state have a field day.
He warned that kidnappers would not be allowed to have a field day in Benue State, stressing that the state would not be a safe haven for kidnappers and other criminal elements.
Ortom vowed that the state government would never accede to kidnappers’ demand for ransom, emphasising that the provision for death penalty in the law criminalising kidnapping in the state has been activated.
He stressed that houses used as kidnappers’ den would be demolished.
In his words, “We are not going to relent on this war and there is no way we will compromise and allow kidnappers to have their way in this state.
“I challenge our people to rise up and not allow kidnappers in their communities. When you suspect them, don’t hesitate to involve the security agencies so that they will not come back again.
“There is no way we can add value to the development of our state when we have kidnappers all over the place terrorising our communities. There is no way foreigners will come here and invest in our state with challenges like this. There is no way we can do everything on our own and make things work. So we must stop this.
“I want to use this medium to send a message to the kidnappers. Benue State will not tolerate this and we are going to move very hard.”
Ortom further stated that for the kidnappers to have dared to kidnap a government official, it was a clear indication that they have declared war on the government and charged communities to rise up in support of government’s effort to declare war on the kidnappers and armed robbers in the state.
He charged communities in the state not to accommodate kidnappers, step up intelligence gathering and report suspicious persons to security agencies.
While recounting his ordeal in the hands of kidnappers, Chief Ogbu disclosed that from interaction with his abductors, the mission was solely to kill him.
He particularly noted that his driver became the most targeted when the kidnappers discovered that he was Tiv and from the same tribe with the Benue State Governor but for the mercies of God they had returned alive.