Suswam Responsible For Proliferation Of Illegal Arms In Benue – Gov. Ortom

Samuel Ortom-Gabriel SuswamGovernor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has blamed his predecessor, Gabriel Suswam, for the proliferation of arms in the state.
The governor sad Mr. Suswam, who governed the state between 2007 and 2015, believed in violence, and armed youths across the state to help fulfil his political ambition.
The ex-governor is yet to respond to this latest allegation against him by his successor.
Speaking yesterday to State House correspondents shortly after he met with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Gov. Ortom said the government will go after those who have refused to surrender their weapons since an amnesty window he declared has closed.
“The amnesty programme succeeded because more than 800 young people came out and surrendered. We have in our possession over 600 assorted weapons and ammunition that we collected from these young men”, he said.
“The last dispensation believed in violence. My predecessor and his cohorts believed they could take everything by force and they bought these arms and gave to young men. I am appealing to them to still return those arms.
“Now that the carrot approach of the amnesty programme is over, we will now adopt the stick approach. We are going to pursue them to their homes. Wherever they are, we are going to arrest them and prosecute them. We are going to go after them fully”, said Mr. Ortom.
It would be recalled that the governor last year announced amnesty and monetary reward for those who willingly submit their illegal arms in the state.
“I cannot in any way surrender my state to criminals. I am going to fight them headlong. I am the governor of Benue State, I was duly elected and I have the backing of my people to fight criminals so that we can have a free society to build our economy”, the governor stated.
Responding to criticisms on his new policy of declaring Fridays as work free in the state, Mr. Ortom said he took the decision because of the farming season, to allow workers ample time on their farms.
“They are ignorant people. The programme is well received. Benue State has comparative advantage in agriculture.
“Now, we are finding it difficult to pay salaries. We are down by four months at the state level and five months at the local government level.
“Coming to a state that is more of civil service, I have said that I have declared Fridays as public holidays because this is cropping period. They should go to the farm between now and the end of July that is cropping period. This can help because no matter how little, whatever they contribute in agriculture will add value to the state economy.
“In any case, because there are no salaries, you know the morale of workers is even low. Apart from that, the money to prosecute good projects is not there.
“Even when you did not declare Friday, it is as good as they go there and still do nothing”, he said.

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