By Mase Anugwa
security: The leadership priority of Benue State Governor Hyacinth Alia is truly something to question. In fact, what are his priorities? The Benue people can hardly tell. May be payment of salaries and pension. Lovely, but is that an achievement to measure up the state with others in terms of development? Far from it.
I listened to Alia at the State House, Abuja few months ago when he told journalists that Benue has relative peace. He was insincere, but people believed him since he is a priest, though suspended.
Recall, that Governor Alia in his night campaigns promised the people of the state that he would tackle insecurity within months and return Internally Displaced persons to their ancestral homes. He accused the Ortom Administration of cashing in on insecurity in the state. But has anything changed since he resumed office? Certainly no, rather insecurity is now hydra headed.
Nobody should be deceived, armed Fulani herdsmen are still killing people in the villages of Benue state and kidnapping is on the speedy rise.
The Alia’s administration is about eight months old but the number of government officials kidnap under his watch is more than any administration before him.
Facts don’t lie. On September 25, 2023, the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Matthew Abo was kidnapped, but released many days after. on January 13, 2024 the Chairman of Ukum Local Government Area, LGA, of Benue State, Rev. Haanongon Gideon was kidnapped, till date he has not been released and the governor is not disturbed.
Others include different kidnapped incidences of Benue links passengers, the Kidnap of a former Chairman of the Ukum Local Government Area Mr Iorwashima Erukaa, who died in the hands of his captor for failure to pay ransom.
Recently, eight persons including an APC chieftain in Logo LGA, Hon. Job Tiza were kidnapped ten days ago in Logo Local government area of Benue State, till date no one has heard of them. Similarly, nine persons were killed and more than one hundred houses burnt in some settlements in Katsina Ala Local government area by bandits.
Just a few days ago, troops of Operation Whirl Stroke repelled an attack on Okokolo Community of Agatu local government area, but lost three of its men, two soldiers and one Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps personnel.
These are just a few of insecurity issues among the many deliberately unreported. In all of these, where is the governor, what has he said, how concerned is he? What measures or steps is he putting in place to assure the people of the state of their safety?
The Answer is simple. He has told the world that there is peace in Benue, so whatever is happening now has actually not disturbed his definition of peace in the state, which is why he can travel to receive an arranged honorary degree in Sierra Leone with tax payers’ money. Who dey degree help? As Nigerians would ask.
How can the governor abandon the Chairman of Ukum Local Government Area, Rev. Haanongon Gideon and other persons kidnapped in captivity and travel for an yahoo yahoo degree? How could nine persons be killed in Katsina-Ala and the governor is yet issue a statement about the killing.
Since the governor assumed office, he has not prioritized security, which is why all the security agencies in the state are still having challenges of mobility for lack of patrol vehicles and motorcycles, things other governors have done long long ago. Sadly, the military in Katsina-Ala and Ukum can not go after bandits, armed Fulani herdsmen because they have no means.
As it stands in Benue State, it is only the governor that is safe because of the security men with him, therefore, on security, it is safe to say that Governor Alia has gone awol, suggestive that everyone should protect his or herself.