Details of Gov. Ortom’s press briefing in Makurdi
Nigerian Concord Newspaper
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State recently addressed the press. His outing especially on herdsmen attacks and in particular, his rebuke of the Bauchi State Governor Bala Muhammed over the latter’s infamous remarks justifying possession of AK47 by herdsmen is trending on several news portals in the country.
However, the press briefing touched several other issues such as Pensions, Internal Security, Responded to malicious rebuttals to his writing to the President, responded to the very unfair charge against his person by his brother and colleague the Bauchi State Governor etc.
Here’s a glimpse into that outing.
The Governor empathized with owed pensioners. He reminded the press that when he first came to office in 2015, the State Government was owing her pensioners billions of naira and the arrears kept growing.
In response, he domesticated the PENCOM Act and the State has now remitted over N600M (Six hundred million naira only) and shall soon reach the threshold required to then access monies to tackle the arrears as well as ensure that future retirees get their gratuities upon retirement without having to go through the uncertainties that have for too long characterized the pension system in the State.
In the interim, sequenced payments shall continue.
The Governor regretted that owing to attacks on Benue communities by herdsmen, over 800,000 Benue sons and daughters have been displaced and taking refuge at the various IDP camps in the State.
Gov Ortom reiterated that Benue State is home to all but that every one living in the State must comply with the laws of the State. He insisted that
ranching is non-negotiable as open grazing is banned in Benue State.
ON MALICIOUS CONDEMNATION OF HIS LETTERS TO THE PRESIDENT
The Governor advised sycophantic groups that maliciously condemned his writing to the President to understand that, as a Governor, as a member of the National Economic Council and as a stakeholder in project Nigeria, he owes leadership and indeed the Presidency, very honest counsel as the country addresses her many challenges. He reiterated that his sharing his ideas with the President was borne out of true patriotism.
ON INTERNAL SECURITY
The Governor praised the Benue people for what he noted to be a lessening in communal and religious tensions in the State. He assured that the State is home to all and that no one would be discriminated on the basis of their creed or ethnicity.
Gov Ortom assured the peace loving people of Sankera axis of the State, of government’s good intentions in restoring peace and security in that axis. He sued for their continuous cooperation even as some temporary difficult but necessary measures adopted and so far birthing a return to normalcy are implemented in their over all interest.
ON BALA MUHAMMED OF BAUCHI STATE
The Benue State Governor said he felt compelled to respond to Gov Bala Muhammed. He wondered if the Bauchi State Governor’s infamous remarks justifying ownership of sophisticated weapons by fulani herdsmen was not likely to fuel the belief, the Governor is part of those terrorizing the country.
He further advised the Bauchi State Governor to learn from Gov Ganduje of Kano State, Gov El Rufai of Kaduna State as well as from scholars who are of Fulani origin but have proffered and or supported honest 21st century solutions to the problem of cattle rearing and armed banditry. The Benue State Governor wondered if Bala Muhammed is more Fulani than those Governors and scholars or for that matter, if he was more Fulani than the Sultan of Sokoto who has been critical of armed banditry and the high numbers of them that are of Fulani origin!
The Benue State Governor further noted that, it is disappointing to hear a Governor who took oath of office to uphold the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to make remarks that Fulani herdsmen carrying AK 47 are justified. The Benue State Governor said his colleague the Bauchi State Governor owed Nigerians an apology for such despicable most horrendous outing.
ON THE STATE BUDGET
The Governor assured the people of the State of his administration’s commitment to implementing the State budget as approved by the State House of Assembly and duly assented by him.