ORTOM

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has sent a message of Save-Our-Soul to the British Government over the heightened humanitarian crisis facing the state.

Governor Ortom who spoke on Tuesday, when the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Sam Waldock, visited him in the Government House, Makurdi, said due to hardship faced by the people who have been displaced, majority of them are being forced by their condition to steal.

The governor said over 200 farmers have been killed in the sustained attacks on the state.

He also said that over 1.5million Benue citizens are currently living in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps with some living with relatives in and outside the state.

“These 1.5 million displaced person are peasant farmers who support the economy. They have been incapacitated and the economy is suffering.

“We have humanitarian crisis in the state and it’s been very painful and hard handling them. As I talk to you, those people who have been displaced from their homes cannot get enough food because Benue State do not have the capacity to produce enough food for those 1.5 million people.

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“Our people are forced and coerced into becoming thieves. Anybody that has done his farm, they go there and steal from there. I am a victim because I am one of the greatest farmers in Benue State, my rice farm, my cassava farm, my yam farm, my soyabeans farm and everything has been stolen by the IDPs and you can imagine, how can I go and confront an IDP who went and stole in my farm and take him to police to be prosecuted?


“I am a Christian, I have passion for the people, I reach out but this is the challenge and it is caused by these terrorists Fulani men.”

Governor Ortom stressed the need for the establishment of a Peace Commission in the state to help address the crisis confronting Benue.

He stated that the state has been unfairly treated by the President Buhari-led government as most of the things that should be given to Benue are being denied the state because of his position and stand on issues affecting the nation.

He appealed to the British Government to support IDPs in Benue saying the attention given to the North Eastern part of the country in terms of humanitarian support be extended to the North Central zone.

He also appealed for partnership in the area of agriculture especially in the area of giving technological support.

Earlier, the British High Commissioner, Mr. Waldock told Governor Ortom that he was in the state to seek partnership in the area of peace and security and access the level of preparedness ahead of the 2023 general elections among other issues.

Waldock who was accompanied by the Conflict Advisor, British High Commission, Paul Nyoraku, said the British government have observed keenly, the security challenges facing the State government.

He said they were in the state to have a first hand information about the security issue confronting the State, the impacts on the communities and to see how they can partner to ensure peace.