From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom on Saturday said that his administration will no longer negotiate with or grant amnesty to criminals in the state.
The governor. who stated this at the burial of Dr Terkura Suswam and his aide, Solomon Tanor, at Anyiin, Logo Local Government Area of the state, decried what he described as a conspiracy of silence among the people.
About two weeks ago, Terkura Suswam, elder brother to former Governor Gabriel Suswam, was murdered by yet to be identified gunmen at his Anyiin country home.
According to Governor Ortom, a conspiracy of silence among the people has continued to embolden criminals who are fueling the crisis in the Sankera area.
Ortom, who condemned in strong terms violent crime in the area, reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to go after those who have taken into crime in the state.
‘From intelligence report, some members of the community are supporting these criminals which makes it difficult for security men,’ the governor said.
‘I want to assure youths in the state not only in Sankera that we are going to go after these criminals and, by the grace of God, we will get them.
‘There is no more amnesty, no more negotiation with them (criminals) except they come back like the prodigal son and plead for forgiveness.’
The governor described the murder of Terkura as shocking and regretted that his murder may discourage indigenes who wish to invest in their respective localities.
He said the late Dr Suswam would be remembered for his legacy, stressing that he died struggling to bring peace, prosperity and economic development to his community Anyiin.
The governor expressed fear that many people who have the capacity may not be willing to come back to the villages and invest for fear of the unknown, even as he appealed to people not to be distracted by the unfortunate incident.
‘You can see in Anyiin alone, we have Ashi Polytechnic, Ashi International Market, Micro Finance Bank, Rice Mill and these are the things that we are wooing investors to come and do because the government does not have the resources to do it alone,’ Governor Ortom stated.
‘The government does not have the capacity to do this alone, and Dr Terkura Suswam saw it, but unfortunately, he had to meet his death right here in Anyiin struggling to work and add value to the economic development of the community.’
The governor appealed to the people of Sankera to support the government and security agencies in order for normalcy to be restored to the troubled local government areas.