Governor Samuel Ortom has said Benue people would not allow foreigners come into their community, chase them away and take over their ancestral land.
He made the declaration at the 70th anniversary of the African Newspapers of Nigeria, publishers of the Tribune Newspapers and Tribune’s Platinum Awards held at the Muson Center, Onikan, Lagos, yesterday.
He spoke after receiving the award for uncommon courage and protection of humanity.
“I dedicate this award to the growth of humanity, and Benue people, especially those who died defending their land and thousands of displaced people who are still in various camps in Benue as well as those who stood by me during my trying period,” he said.
In her opening remarks, Chairman of the African Newspapers of Nigeria Plc, Dr. Olatokunbo Awolowo-Dosumu, said Tribune had never shielded away from being the voice of the people, adding that truth and integrity have always been the organisation’s watchword.
Dosumu said all the award recipients were chosen because they had distinguished themselves in their various fields of endeavours, noting that the award was meant to spur them to greater service to humanity.
She also doused apprehension as to whether the newspaper would survive in the next 70 years, saying it would not only survive, but multiples of 70 years.
“We will continuously strive to march forward. This is the era of digital age and we hope to move in that direction. We will continue to serve you and your succeeding generations here and beyond into the future,” she stated.
The award was grouped into four categories -humanitarian service, business enterprise, ex-governors and serving governors.
Those awarded in the humanitarian service category were Imam Abubakar Abdullahi (Promoter of humanity), wife of Ondo Governor, Mrs Betty Anyway Akeredolu (Champion of humanity) and Kessington Adebukola Adebutu (Most timeless businessman award for his philanthropy).
In the business category were Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, (Champion of Human Capital Development) and Mike Adenuga (Nigeria’s Most Outstanding and Innovative Entrepreneur).
In the ex-governor category included Senator Abiola Ajimobi, Senator Godswill Akpabio, Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Senator Ibikunle Amosu, who were all honored with the Patron of National Development.
In the serving governors category were Samuel Ortom, Aminu Tabuwal (Sokoto), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Godwin Obaseki (Edo) and Seyi Makinde (Oyo).