Governor Samuel Ortom, of Benue State, has told the international community that the Federal Government is unwilling to use the big stick against murderous terrorist groups.
He urged the international community to put pressure on the Federal Government to address the country’s ongoing terrorism by armed herdsmen without regard for religion or ethnicity.
Ortom made the appeal during an interaction with a delegation from the United Kingdom Parliament’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Freedom of Religion and Beliefs at the Benue State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja, according to a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur.
The statement read in part, “The Governor stated that being a multi-religious and (multi-)ethnic country, the Federal Government, which is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that the rights of the people as enshrined in the constitution are protected, ought to take the task more seriously than it is currently doing.
“According to Governor Ortom, the inability of the federal government to act swiftly to tame the rise of terror attacks on communities in the country for many years now by Islamic extremists with the sole aim of taking over the country must be put to an end.
“He 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 government to arrest and prosecute terrorist herdsmen have also proven the complicity of government.
“He noted that for the sake of national unity, cohesion, peaceful coexistence and promotion of development, the rights of the people to freedom of religion must also be respected by the Nigerian State, hence the need for the international community to intervene by putting pressure on the government to do the right thing.
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“Governor Ortom also told 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 destroyed in Benue State as a result of the invasion.
“He recommended that there was need for rehabilitation and return of IDPs to their ancestral homes as well as payment of full compensation to victims.”