Samuel Ortom, Benue State Governor has introduced the use of force to curb criminality in the state following the resurgence of crime.
The governor announced this in an interview with State House correspondents shortly after he briefed Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on the outcome of the amnesty programme in the state.
According to Ortom, the clemency granted to criminals if they drop the gun yielded dividends but the criminals have returned to their old ways which will be matched with force.
“Right from the day I was sworn in, I spoke about the amnesty programme that it was going to be in two forms.
“The first one was the carrot approach and then the second one would be the stick approach.
“The carrot approach succeeded because more than 600 rifles were returned to us and several rounds of ammunition and then explosives and more than 900 youths surrendered.
“But as time went on, some of them went their old ways and some were not sincere”, Ortom said.
“And today we have introduced the stick approach and the entire security apparatus of the state are working with the state security council to ensure that we restore security for lives and property in the state.
“These too, it is important that once in a while I brief the Presidency so that if there is any other thing that can help us do better, we go ahead.
“That is why I am here,’’ Governor Ortom added.
The governor said that he discussed general economic and security issues with the vice president in order to share the views for the development of the country.
He said it was important that as a federation, the Federal Government was briefed on what the states were doing so that there could be synergy that could bring development and prosperity to the country.
He said there was the challenge of revenue generation in the local government areas and states thereby making it difficult for them to pay workers.
On the Agriculture roadmap that was launched by the federal government, the governor said it was the best thing at this time as the country had paid lip service to diversification, especially through agriculture.
“In the past we have paid lip services in this country about trying to diversify the economy and today it has dawned on us and we have no choice than to diversify.
“And one area that we have the comparative advantage in Nigeria in trying to diversify the economy is agriculture and Benue State is number one.
“We are ahead of every other state; even the civil servants we have introduced a programme known as go-back-to farm.
“Fridays are off for civil servants to go to farm and we have been doing this for the past three months and the response is quite encouraging,’’ he said.
Ortom said that the state had queued into the CBN anchor borrowers’ scheme adding that many Benue farmers had benefited.
According to him, this is the right way to go because we need to be farmers so that even without money we can have enough food to sustain ourselves so that we can reason better and do exploits to our country.
The governor said that the administration was working to preserve agro products and avoid wastes adding that the approach was to secure the state for investments.
He said the government would secure investors and industrialise to add value to food products and provide job and other opportunities for the youth.
He also said that besides agriculture, the state was rich in solid minerals and open for local and foreign investors.
“The state must be secured from armed robbers, kidnappers, killers and assassins and the business of cattle rustling because no one will be willing to invest where his life or property is threatened,’’ he said.