Benue youths on the platform of Benue Youth Forum, BYF, have called on the Benue State Council of Chiefs to impose strong sanctions on the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume for allegedly demonizing Benue people by claiming that they stockpile weapons and kill each other.
The youths who also disowned the former governor for calling for emergency rule in the state and leveling unsubstantiated allegations against Governor Samuel Ortom declared that he no longer represent their interest.
The President of BYF, Comrade Terrence Kuanum was yesterday in Makurdi reacting to Monday’s press briefing by the Minister alongside APC stakeholders during which statements considered injurious and uncomplimentary were allegedly made by the Minister against Benue people and Governor Ortom.
Senator Akume had during the media outing said among others that “we are dismayed by this crass incompetence exhibited by the Governor. His rantings are irritating and smacks of tricks of a conman. It is crystal clear that the ultimate solution to the Benue insecurity would be, as Governor Ortom himself had earlier this year said that the President should declare a state of emergency in Benue State with approval of the National Assembly.
The BYF President in his reaction said it was disturbing that the Minister had never for once raised a memo at the Federal Executive Council over the plight of the over 1.5million IDPs in the state and how to resettle them.
“It is equally sad that at a time when the entire country is heading towards the ranching revolution that has come to stay in Nigeria, a son of Benue who represents the state in the Federal Executive Council is busy calling for the continuation of open grazing and laying claim to grazing routes in Benue in order to satisfy his own selfish interest.
“Rather than offer the state an effective representation in the elite club of Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Akume has opted to wilfully and capriciously sow the seeds of discord, disaffection and ill-will between the President and Governor Samuel Ortom in order to curry favour with the President and, by so doing, brighten his chances of occupying the office of National Chairman of the APC.”
While stressing that the Minister did not point out the said insult heaped on the President by Governor Ortom, the BYF asked, “when has defending your people against a well-coordinated genocide become an insult?”
He recalled that in 2003 Senator Akume fiercely opposed the then President Obasanjo to the extent of rebuking the elderly President in his face.
“Where has the Benue people stockpiled offensive weapons? Even if they have, did Akume also ask that Fulani herdsmen be disarmed? Or is he not aware that they are armed?
“The BYF strongly frown at the outing of the group that assembled in Abuja under the sponsorship of Minister Akume to draw conclusion on issues in Benue State.
“We call on the revered Benue State Council of Chiefs to swiftly take drastic action by placing heavy sanctions on Sen. George Akume and his co-travelers to serve as deterrent to others.”
The youths also declared support for the privatization initiative of the Ortom administration saying it would help revamp all the moribund industries and create jobs for Benue youths as the case in other states.