Governor Samuel Ortom yesterday responded to statements credited to former Governor of the state, Gabriel Suswam who had earlier accused the present administration of fueling insecurity and the arrest of his loyalists among other accusations. Below is Governor Ortom’s response:
“The previous administration armed youths for the 2015 elections. Since we came in, what we have been doing is to try to change these youths by convincing them to bring those weapons which they did during the carrot approach of our amnesty programme. I hope that the former governor sees what is happening here – the number of weapons that have been received.
When we say that over 600 of those weapons were received from the youths, some people were doubting but today, the media are here and can see things for themselves. Let the former governor come and see. He created insecurity but I am here to restore security by the grace of God. The Bible says the thief cometh not but to steal and destroy; but the son of God cometh to give life.
I have come to give life to Benue people not to kill, not to steal or to destroy. I challenge him; we did not use violence in winning the election last year so we will not be distracted. But it is said that silence is consent, so we are bound to reply him when he talks about these things.
All the challenges that are here today were anchored by him. He is the first governor of the state ever to be arraigned before a court of competent jurisdiction on fraud charges. So he should go and face his fraud charges instead of talking about his men being arrested everyday. Everyone arrested by security agencies is for one case or the other and the records are there – those who are in prison, those who are in detention. He can verify with security agencies.
No one under my watch as Governor of Benue State has ever been arrested arbitrarily. How can we allow criminals to be terrorizing the people, to be killing people, to be kidnapping people, to be molesting people?
As I have said before, I will not surrender Benue to criminals.”