From: Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, has handed down a 72-hour ultimatum to the people of Agatu to produce the killers of a soldier who was deployed to the area to keep peace last Saturday.
Speaking to newsmen, on Wednesday, on the unfortunate incident which took place at Ole Gadakolo near Egba in Agatu, and the eventual recovery of weapons from the militia group thereafter, Governor Ortom condoled with the Chief of Army Staff and the commander of 72 Special Forces Battalion over the loss of the soldier.
The governor, who stated that the action was condemnable, apologised on behalf of the people of Agatu and the state at large, while assuring the state that government would work with security agencies and traditional rulers to fish out perpetrators of the dastardly act.
Said he, “This action is condemnable and we will do everything possible within the ambits of law to ensure that those involved are sanctioned. The killing of a soldier and the beating to coma of two others was not what my administration wanted and we will not condone such heinous act.”
Governor Ortom also stressed that the period of mischief and recklessness ended with the carrot approach of his amnesty programme adding that with the stick approach of the programme, anyone who had illegal weapons should surrender them or have them recovered by force.
He averred that if Agatu youths had surrendered their weapons during the period of the carrot approach of the amnesty programme, the incident that took place could have been avoided.
He appreciated the Nigerian Army and the commander of 72 Battalion for the efforts being made towards restoring peace in Agatu and reiterated government’s commitment towards doing everything possible to get the perpetrators.
Earlier, the special adviser on security, Col Edwin Jando, had displayed the weapons said to have been recovered from a militia group in Agatu.