The governor of Benue state, Samuel Ortom on Tuesday, May 31, met with a delegation from the United Kingdom parliament at the Benue State Governor’s Lodge Asokoro, Abuja. Speaking to the delegation from the United Kingdom Parliament All-Party Parliamentary Group on Freedom of Religion and Beliefs, Ortom appealed to the international community to put pressure on the Federal Government to address the continued acts of terrorism by armed herdsmen in the country without religious or ethnic bias. Stating that it appears like the current administration in Nigeria is unwilling to wield the big stick against murderous terrorist groups, the governor said that the Nigerian government saddled with the responsibility of protecting the rights of the people as enshrined in the constitution is not doing enough.
In a statement released by Nathaniel Ikyur, the governor accused the FG of failing to act swiftly to tame the rise of terror attacks on communities in the country for many years by Islamic extremists with the sole aim of taking over the country must be put to an end.The governor 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 the government to arrest and prosecute terrorist herdsmen have also proven its complicity.
For the sake of national unity, cohesion, peaceful coexistence and promotion of development, the governor warned that the rights of the people to freedom of religion must also be respected by the Nigerian state. He said that there is a strong need for the international community to intervene by putting pressure on the Government to do the right thing.
He informed the visiting parliamentarians that due to the activities of these terrorist groups, over 1.5 million people have been displaced from their ancestral lands and properties worth billions of naira were destroyed in Benue state as a result of the invasion. He recommended the rehabilitation and return of IDPs to their ancestral homes as well as payment of full compensation to victims.
Responding to the demands made by Ortom, the leader of the delegation and member of parliament from Ireland, Jim Shannon thanked the governor for availing his team with a comprehensive insight into the issues in the state and Nigeria as a whole. Shannon assured that they would present his case to the right department back home to get positive results.