TIME FOR GOV ALIA TO REVIEW HIS DEAL WITH BANDITS
…Should Stop Misplaced Blame On His Predecessor
By Tivta Samuel
The government of Hyacinth Alia yesterday continued its media assaults against the former Governor Chief Samuel Ortom when Joseph Har, a man who addressed himself as the Special Adviser to Benue State Governor on Security and Internal Affairs, claimed that “the handling of the killing of kingpin, Terwase Akwaza (aka Gana) by the immediate past administration has fueled distrust and more insecurity in the state.”
That claim by the Alia government is a clear admittance that it is clueless about the current security situation in the state and is looking for whom to blame.
We were all here and we witnessed the concerted efforts Governor Ortom made to ensure peace in Sankera area of the state. Insecurity was at its peak in Sankera when Ortom became governor in 2015 and he immediately took steps to restore peace including the grant of amnesty to the violent youths.
When Gana was killed by the military, Ortom was visibly shocked and he did not hide his disappointment. He demanded an explanation from the military who took responsibility for the killing of Gana.
After Gana’s unfortunate death, Ortom made greater efforts to curb insecurity in Sankera which led to the ban on okada in the three local government areas – Logo, Katsina-Ala and Ukum. The government also imposed a curfew at some point in the flashpoints. These measures restored law and order in the area as the bandits were forced to flee to neighboring states.
At the time Alia became governor in May this year, there was peace in Sankera as a result of the efforts made by Governor Ortom, yet, he Alia stated that there was no security and that only he could fix the problem.
He said many times publicly that he had an agreement with the bandits whom he calls “my brothers in the bush” and they promised him that they would not carry out any attacks until they hear from him. So now that bandits are back and are killing people on a daily basis in Sankera, how is Ortom responsible? Was he the one who entered into an agreement with the bandits?
The alarming rise in insecurity in Benue State under the leadership of Governor Hyacinth Alia is disturbing and his attempts to shift blame onto his predecessor, Samuel Ortom, for the handling of the killing of Gana is only to evade responsibility.
Contrary to Governor Alia’s claims, the recent surge in insecurity and the alarming increase in banditry, kidnapping, and other criminal activities in the state are clear indicators of the current administration’s failure to effectively handle security matters.
It is deeply disappointing that Governor Alia has chosen to deflect blame upon his predecessor instead of taking responsibility for the deteriorating security situation. As the Special Adviser on Security and Internal Affairs, it is the duty of Joseph Har to devise effective strategies and advise the Governor on how to combat criminal elements and ensure the safety of the people.
It is time for Governor Alia to revisit whatever pact he had with the bandits and terminate such a deal for the safety of our people. The best approach to tackling insecurity is mobilizing security agencies to go after criminals not pampering them as Special Adviser Joseph Har disclosed that the present government is doing. The security situation in Benue State has taken a worrisome dimension leading to a heightened sense of fear, distrust, and vulnerability among the residents of the areas most affected.
I appeal Governor Alia to prioritize the security and well-being of the people of Benue State. It is imperative that he takes swift and decisive action to address the prevailing security challenges. The people of Benue State want to see their Governor uphold their safety and protect their interests, rather than one who engages in blame-shifting and drags his feet on very important matters that affect the state.
Alia said he had the wand to end insecurity. Now he is here as governor of the state. What the people expect to hear and see are the measures he is taking to live up to his promises, not blames.