- Governor Samuel Ortom has spoken on the return of President Muhammadu Buhari from his medical vacation in London
- The governor also briefed journalists on his recent visit to the Peoples Republic of China
- He chided the Middle Belt Renaissance Forum for giving Fulani herdsmen in Benue state quit notice to leave the state and asked security agencies to go after them
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state has queried those asking for President Muhammadu Buhari to resign due to his ill-health.
Speaking to journalists at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport on arrival from his investment trip to China, the governor stated those who are demanding the resignation of the president need mental evaluation.
He said any one can be sick whether in or out of government, adding that Nigerians should always pray for their leaders.
On his trip to China, the governor described it as a huge success. He said he interacted with several investors on the need for them to invest in Benue state.
His words: “The principal reason I went there is to interact with Chairman Wu who is the core investor in Idumale Cement Factory in Benue state. We inherited the project which was started around 2004 during Senator George Akume’s tenure and it continued during Governor Suswam’s administration.
“When I came, I saw that it was a viable project and we have done everything that is needed on the part of government to ensure this project takes off. Unfortunately, there has been delay from the core investor from shifting equipment, so I was very concerned, so on his invitation, I went there, we discussed and it was agreed that the remaining equipment are shipped to Nigeria.
“I told them very clearly that since we have fulfilled our conditions, there shouldn’t be any further excuse because all that is required of the state government we have done and so if by October, this is not done, I will be forced to review the business with them.”
He continued: “We also had the privilege of visiting an investor who is a specialist in seed improvement, especially in grains and rice in particular. In Benue state, an average yield per hectare is just about two tonnes. But here are experts who are good in rice production to the point of producing 7,8 tonnes and are working on improving it to hit 15 tonnes per hectare so I felt that this is an encouragement especially for us as the food basket of the nation, so we are working on improving on our rice production and this will be good news to our people.
“The third adventure is on cassava. Nigeria is having deficit in the production of starch which is used by the paper industry, brewery industry and other key industries. Up till today, with the full advantage we have in cassava production, we are still importing cassava, which is the main raw material for starch production.
“We made contacts and we have gotten an investor who is willing to establish a plant in Benue state to ensure that they are off-takers for those who are producing cassava. This will go a long way in helping build the economy, because I believe that we must go into processing our primary products in this country. That is the way forward and for Benue state, that is my target.”
The governor also reacted to the issue of the ultimatum given to Fulani herdsmen by a group called the Middle Belt Renaissance Forum.
He urged security agencies in the state to fish out the members of the group and arrest them, adding that his government had no hand in their action.
His words: “There is no reason for some youths to come together to say they are giving ultimatum to anyone. We are a law-abiding state. We were faced with this issue of herdsmen. What we did was to do the right thing, by ensuring that we go through due process and put a law in place. The law is not meant to give ultimatum to Fulani men to leave the state.
“Any man breeding cattle or livestock is free to do livestock business in Benue state. What he is required to do is to ranch. We knew it was a new law when it was, we needed to prepare, so we have given people up to November for them to prepare and ranch there. So that is a useless ultimatum, I have already directed the security men to go after those youths because I believe it is political and meant to destabilize my government.
“We have no hand in that and people should go about their normal businesses. There is nothing like ultimatum in Benue state. Everyone in this country should disregard that threat. It has nothing to do with Benue state government and we are on top pf the situation. We are ready to deal with anyone who is out to foment trouble in our state.”
Governor Ortom also expressed sadness on the assassination of his principal special assistant on knowledge economy and investments, Dr Tavershima Adyorough.
“I received the sad news about the brutal assassination of my aide, someone who is very close to me, Dr Adyorough. He worked with me while I served as a minister as my personal assistant and then I found him worthy when I won election as governor to be my principal secretary assistant on knowledge economy and investments.
“He is someone who is well knowledgeable and well-trained and for him to be assassinated at this time when we need people with broad knowledge to support us to succeed in our hard times, it is very sad.
“This is something I am not going to take lightly. I have already spoken to the security agencies. As a law-abiding man, they must go all out and fish out the killers because this cannot be allowed to continue. I believe the security men will do justice to the issue,” the governor said.
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Meanwhile, the Benue state government has warned the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to leave the state out of its purported secessionist territory.
The state commissioner of information and orientation, Lawrence Onoja (Jnr.), handed the warning to the protagonists of IPOB and its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, at a news conference in Makurdi recently.
Watch Governor Ortom and All Progressives Congress chieftains in Benue state speak on opposition elements in Benue state on NAIJ.com TV: