Benue Gov. bags humanitarian award, says security of lives and property, return of IDPs top priority
By Bridget Ikyado
The Executive Governor of Benue State, His Excellency, Rev. Fr. Dr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia has received an International Humanitarian Service award by the International Human Right Commission IHRC in Abuja.
The award was in honour of his commitment, zeal and determination to end farmers -herders clashes, secure lives and property and return IDPs to their ancestral home.
According to Sir Tersoo Kula,
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Benue State,since assumption of office, the governor has left no one in doubt that he intends to leave an indelible mark on the sand of time before he leaves office as Governor of Benue State.
And one of the areas, which is also the priority of the Governor is the resolve to check insecurity, thus ensuring that Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs return to their ancestral homes.
The Governor has also taken deliberate steps to ensure that this hydra-headed monster of insecurity that has eaten deep into the fabric of the State is tackled once and for all.
We are all aware that apart from the farmer’s/herders conflicts, some other internal conflicts, particularly in the Sankera axis has also been the bane of security in the State.
Also Mr. Mathias Schmale, the United Nations, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, who recently paid a courtesy visit on Governor Alia, advised the Benue people who have high expectations on the Governor to perform magic within a short space of time, to give him more time to tackle the issues at hand.
It is no mean feat that the Governor has made in roads, including engaging the various security outfits in the State, including, Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS), the military spike operation, as part of efforts to curtail and end the killing of innocent people, through internal and external hostilities within the State by bandits.
We want to state unequivocally and with authority that based on our talks with relevant agencies and some international organisations, the various conflicts will soon be a thing of the past.
One of such interventions that will
enable the Alia administration fight insecurity in the state and resettle IDPs as well as bring an end to the incessant killings in the State was when Governor Alia sought the intervention the United Nations, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria who led a delegation to Makurdi recently.
One of such interventions sought from some of these agencies is the provision of early warning signals and preventive measures that will aide the government to stop the senseless killings by bandits in the State.
Governor Alia also got the assurance of the UN who have requested the State to outline it’s development agenda for it to intervene, with a pledge that the UN will use its conflict resolutions mechanism to trace the root causes of the herder/farmer conflicts, that will bring about lasting solutions to the perennial clashes.
Most of us are aware that the task we have at hand are enormous and also undaunting. We inherited these security challenges and it is our desire and we remain undaunted that with God on our side we will make it.
Let us make it clear at this point that security issues are not solved on the Social Media or on the pages of newspapers and as such we have kept some sensitive aspects of our achievements so as not to compromise the work that the security outfits that are charged with this responsibility are doing.
Worthy of note is that security of lives and property is everybody’s business; security of lives and property is the duty of all well meaning individuals and groups. Therefore, we warn politicians, irrespective of their status in the society, not to politicize issues of security.
Insecurity does not know colour, tribe or creed and spares no one, despite their political leaning. So for one to use security issues to leverage or even gain sympathy and score cheap political goals, stands condemnable by the Alia administration.
It is in this regard that we call on the people to expose bandits around them, and also make available information that will lead to the arrest of bandits that are connected to these heinous crimes against the people and the society.
We also charge security outfits in the state to step up their intelligence gathering that will lead to the immediate arrest of the bandits and gunmen that have continued to perpetuate these crimes against humanity.
In view of the concern and the sleepless nights that Governor Alia has been having over issues of insecurity in the State, recall that he had charged the military to provide actionable intelligence reports that will bring about safety measures and ensure that Benue is not exposed to threats of attacks.
Governor Alia who is visibly pained by both the internal and external conflicts that have led to the loss of lives and property and worse still, the displacement of millions, also advised security agencies to engage in robust interactions that will arrest the situation.
This, not withstanding, we appreciate security agencies for their efforts so far as well as their timely response to distress calls and assure them of our continuous support to ensure that they succeed in their duty to apprehend and subsequently prosecute those that are responsible for these crimes.
Let us inform you that the return of IDPs to their homes is a process which involves several other stakeholders and that it is presently in the works. The first stage of this process, which is bringing the parties together on a round table has been completed; the second stage is ongoing and will soon be completed and when this is done, it will set the stage for the IDPs to go back to their homes, which is the last and final stage.
The State Government also wish to appeal to the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs to keep hope alive and be rest assured that we have put machinery in place that will lead to their timely return to their ancestral homes.
So, in as much as we have pledged and entered into a social contract with the people of Benue State and we remain committed to the development of the State, we state in no ambiguous terms that the security of lives and property remains the priority of this Government. Of what use will be the infrastructure, if the people are not there to benefit from the infrastructure?
That not withstanding, since we assumed office, Government has done so much in the provision of infrastructures, top most among them is the ongoing construct work on sixteen township roads across Makurdi, the Benue State capital. This a signal of good things to come.
So, the people of Benue should not despair, but remain confident that Government will meet up with it’s obligations to the people. We remain focused and refuse to be distracted.