BENUE, Nigeria – The State Governor, Samuel Ortom has denied reports that he requested a return of confiscated weapons.
Ortom who made the clarification in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, urged Nigerians to disregard the report.
Akase said, “We read a news item published on Opera News site in which the faceless writer attempted to twist the recent call Benue State (Expanded) Security Council made on Nigerian military to release all repentant youths who were arrested on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 by men of Operation Ayem A Kpatuma on their way to be granted amnesty by the State Government.
“The said article which cited a tweet credited to special assistant to the Senate President on new media is not only false but also enmeshed in mischief and comes across as a mere figment of the writer’s imagination.
“Governor Ortom who presided over the Friday September 11, 2020 expanded meeting of the Benue State Security Council did not ask the military to return the weapons recovered from the repentant youths.
Akase maintained that the call made on behalf of the State Security Council was for the release of vehicles and other items such as official documents confiscated by the army during the operation including the official Hilux Vehicle of the Executive Chairman of Katsina-Ala Local Government Council, Hon. Alfred Atera, in which the late Terwase Akwaza also known as Gana was being conveyed to Makurdi for the amnesty programme.
He said, “It is was the considered resolution of the Council that the release of the affected youths would enable them complete the amnesty process which would reshape their lives as better human beings.
“It is on record that at the end of the 2015/2016 amnesty Programme which Governor Ortom anchored, more than 800 Benue youths including Terwase Akwaza embraced the scheme and over 1,000 weapons were recovered and the Governor invited United Nations, the Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons, PRESCOM, as well as other relevant organizations who took part in the public destruction of the recovered weapons in Makurdi.
“The question now is, if the Governor publicly destroyed the recovered weapons then, why would his administration want to keep the ones recently surrendered by the repentant youths? Such insinuation is senseless.
“We find the said publication on Opera News as a gross misrepresentation of what took place after the Benue State Security Council meeting.
“The writer’s claim that Nigerian Television Authority, NTA also quoted the Governor as having demanded for the return of the recovered weapons is equally false as the television station did not air such a report.
“Governor Samuel Ortom will not be distracted from his focus on ensuring peace in the state and continued support to security forces to guarantee the safety of lives and property of Benue people.”