Benue Youth Forum (BYF) has commended Governor Samuel Ortom for showing true leadership, particularly his proactive handling of the EndSars crisis ravaging parts of the country in the last few weeks.
The group said volcanic protests erupted in the country following the grievances of the youths against police brutality, bad governance and other abuses, noting that many states were overwhelmed by the crisis with their Governors practically going into hiding or declaring 24-hour curfews with economic activities coming to a halt in those states.
They said some of the Governors refused to address the youths even as the protesters accused them of either diverting or hoarding the COVID-19 Palliatives sent to their states. The situation, added to the prevailing anger of the youths over police brutality soon aggravated with the EndSARS protesters forcing open warehouses in many states and allowing the people to cart away the food items.
In a statement issued on Sunday and made available to CAPITAL POST in Abuja, by the group’s President, Terrence Kuanum, said, Benue under the leadership of Gov Samuel Ortom stood firmly with the youths of Benue telling the rest of the country that what the protesters were saying was justified and the country should listen to the youths. He personally met and addressed the EndSARS protesters at Benue Peoples House gate and commended them for conducting themselves peacefully and orderly during the protest.
The statement said: “All these took place because of the open door policy the Governor has established with his people by personally getting involved to provide solutions to their challenges.
“It is on record that soon after the Dangote group with other private bodies under the aegis of CACOVID donated palliatives to Benue State, Governor Ortom in his proactive manner kept calling on the monitoring team of the CACOVID group to come and supervise the distribution of the palliatives in Benue State.
“Eventually, the group cape and the palliatives were transparently distributed to the 23 local government areas of the state in the full glare of Benue SEMA, Local Government Chairmen, Security Agencies, Civil Society, CAN, JNI, Traditional rulers, Community Leaders and CACOVID Monitoring and Evaluation Team.
“After the palliatives were distributed, got to the Governor that there was diversion of the items in Oju local government area and immediately, Governor Ortom set up a Committee headed by Secretary to the State Government, Professor Anthony Ijohor, SAN, to investigate the allegation of palliatives diversion in Oju. He has vowed to sanction whoever is found culpable in the matter.
“This is why Benue is peaceful today despite the fact that other states are witnessing violent protests with the youths breaking warehouses to find hoarded palliatives. Credit goes to Governor Ortom’s vision, sincerity and transparency in ensuring that the palliatives were all distributed to the poorest of the poor in Benue State.
“When the protests turned violent and the entire country went in flames followed by burning of public and private properties and looting of palliatives stored by various State Governments, all eyes in Benue were on Governor Ortom to prove his prudence and accountability in public service, and to the surprise of many, all the warehouses that are used by the Stare Emergency Agemcy (SEMA) were thrown open to the Benue public and Media. The people confirmed that truly, all palliatives reached the poorest of the poor in State.
“We commend Governor Samuel Ortom for once again making Benue proud and showing us all that truly, our welfare is a top priority to him.
“We call on Benue people to stand by the Governor in ensuring that the state remains peaceful. We encourage our members (Benue Youths to be vigilant so as to prevent any hoodlum from infiltrating our ranks to push us to avoidable violence.
“While we sympathize with other states which are counting their losses as a result of the ongoing crisis, we must appreciate our people for showing maturity in the face of temptations. This firm resolve for peace has been expressed across party lines and the winner is Benue State”, the statement noted.
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