Samuel Ortom, the Governor of Benue State, on Tuesday, reminded the international community that the federal government is unwilling to use the heavy stick against homicidal terrorist organizations.
He asked the global community to exert pressure on the Federal Government to address the country’s unrelenting acts of terrorism perpetrated by armed herdsmen without regard for religion or ethnicity.
Ortom made the appeal when he met with a team from the United Kingdom Parliament’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Freedom of Religion and Beliefs at the Benue State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja, according to a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur.
The statement read in part, “The Governor stated that being a multi-religious and (multi-)ethnic country, the Federal Government, which is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that the rights of the people as enshrined in the constitution are protected, ought to take the task more seriously than it is currently doing.
“According to Governor Ortom, the inability of the federal government to act swiftly to tame the rise of terror attacks on communities in the country for many years now by Islamic extremists with the sole aim of taking over the country must be put to an end.
“He alleged that the current appointment of suspected Boko Haram supporters into key federal offices, integration of repentant members of the sect into the military and failure of government to arrest and prosecute terrorist herdsmen have also proven the complicity of government.
“He noted that for the sake of national unity, cohesion, peaceful coexistence and promotion of development, the rights of the people to freedom of religion must also be respected by the Nigerian State, hence the need for the international community to intervene by putting pressure on the government to do the right thing.”
Governor Ortom further informed the visiting legislators that as a result of the invasion, over 1.5 million people have been uprooted from their ancestral lands, and properties worth billions of naira have been destroyed in Benue State.
He advised that IDPs be rehabilitated and returned to their ancestral homes, as well as that victims be paid full compensation.
Mr. Jim Shannon, the delegation’s leader and a member of the Irish Parliament, responded by thanking Governor Ortom for providing the delegation with a thorough understanding of the issues and promising that they would present his case to the appropriate department back home to achieve positive results.
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