President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday endorsed the amnesty programme initiated by Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue to get illegally armed youths in the state to surrender their weapons.
Ortom announced Buhari’s endorsement of the programme while fielding questions from State House correspondents in Abuja after he briefed the president on security matters in Benue.
He said that the president was impressed with the success of the amnesty programme which started in 2015, and gave him the nod to continue with it as part of efforts to keep the state and the nation safer.
“It is just normal briefing on what we are doing back in Benue so far about security, especially on the amnesty programme.
“I granted amnesty to many of our youths who were having arms and were terrorizing people in the state through kidnapping, armed robbery, outright killings and all that.
“But, today the situation is very calm. I still have challenges from youths in one of my zones; zone C, who refused to wholeheartedly embrace the amnesty.
“But, last week, traditional rulers came together with other stakeholders and appealed to us to extend the amnesty to one month, so that they can convince their people to bring out their arms”, he stated.
Ortom expressed the determination of his administration to partner with the Federal Government in its ongoing crusade against corruption.
He said this had become imperative in view of the fact that the optimum use of the country’s vast resources at a time of dwindling oil revenues is seriously hampered by corruption.
He said that the recent allegations of misuse of bailout funds by his administration were borne out of ignorance.
He said that the Commissioner for Finance had explained the true situation to the State House of Assembly.
On the imminent pronouncement of judgement on the case challenging his election at the Supreme Court, Ortom said he was not scared by the outcome because of his belief that he would get justice.
He said he was validly elected by the electorate based on the programmes he promised them, adding that nobody in his political party was complaining about his nomination.
The governor said that the opposition candidate challenging his victory in court had initially congratulated him.
He reiterated his decision to ask the people of Benue to stop consumption of rats in view of the outbreak of the deadly Lassa fever in the state, with one case already recorded.