By; Sunday Ode, Abuja.
Benue Governor, Samuel Ortom vowed Wednesday that he would give criminal elements in his state a good fight until the last of them surrendered.
The governor while fielding questions from the State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja also announced that he had cut his leave short to attend to urgent security and economic matters in the state.
He said: “I have cut short my vacation to address some critical issues of the state, most especially security matters, economic matters, social vices and state matters that require my urgent attention.
“I have postponed the vacation indefinitely. I cannot in any way surrender my state to criminals. I am going to fight them headlong. I am the governor of Benue State, I was duly elected and I have the backing of my people to fight criminals so that we can have a free society to build our economy.
“We just need to strengthen ourselves and fight the criminals that are unleashing terror on our people. Ortom also told correspondents that having dedicated the Benue to God Almighty, he would leave the state better than he had met.
“We have dedicated the state to God and we trust Him that He will help us. I trusted Him to become governor and I became a governor. I am also trusting Him to succeed.
“By the time I am rounding off my tenure as governor in the next three years, by the grace of God, ignorance, poverty and diseases would have been eradicated in the state.”
On the proliferation of arms in the state despite his Amnesty Programme, the governor declared that the state would henceforth resort to the “stick” approached having exhausted the “carrot” option.
“The amnesty programme succeeded because more than 800 young people came out and surrendered. We have in our possession over 600 assorted weapons and ammunition that we collected from these young men.
“Now that the carrot approach of the amnesty programme is over, we will now adopt the stick approach. We are going to pursue them to their homes. Wherever they are, we are going to arrest them and prosecute them. We are going to go after them fully.
“He described critics of his two-month Friday holidays as “ignorant people,” insisting that “the programme is well received.”