• Pays last respect to longest-serving Missionary Priest, Murphy
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has promised the people of Ugondo community that his administration will reopen dialogue with the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) authorities on the dispute over land with the community.
According to his Chief Press Secretary Nathaniel Ikyur, Governor Ortom bared his mind Wednesday, when he received a delegation and traditional leaders from the Ugondo Community of Makurdi Local Government Area, who paid him a solidarity visit at the Benue Peoples House, Makurdi.
He said, “I am going to set up a machinery. I will re-open the discussion again to see how we can resolve this issue. In politics or in government, it is through dialogue and discussions that you solve your problems; it is not violence. Moreso that it is a military organisation, you don’t attempt to use coercion or force to do what you want. You dialogue.
“By the grace of God, I want to assure you that we will solve this problem before I leave office,” Governor Ortom stated why responding to the plea by the community over the lingering dispute.
The Governor stated that he will meet with selected stakeholders from Ugondo and Mbaviur communities to find a lasting solution to the lingering issue, stating that he withdrew from the land issue when the community resorted to litigation. But with the appeal by the community and traditional rulers from the area, he would revisit the matter.
Governor Ortom said he was honoured by the visit and backing of the Ugondo people to his senatorial bid, stating that he would continue to protect the interest of the people if elected to the National Assembly.
The Governor also tasked the Ugondo people to own and protect every project cited in their areas against vandals, stating that it is of great socio-economic benefit to the area.
Earlier in his remarks, leader of the delegation, Senator Fred Orti expressed appreciation to the Governor for the provision of several infrastructural development projects in the Ugondo community, such as the construction of roads, electricity as well as potable drinking water.
Senator Orti also lauded Governor Ortom for recognising the Ugondo people in his government and pledged the readiness of the Ugondo community to support the Senatorial election of Governor Ortom to represent Benue North-West Senatorial district in the National Assembly in 2023.
He further appealed to the Governor to put in more effort to resolve the lingering issue of encroachment on the Ugondo community’s land by the Nigerian Air Force.
Also speaking, Mue Ter Masev, His Royal Highness, Chief Clement Kulugh expressed delight that the provision of basic infrastructure to the community by the Ortom-led administration has opened up the area in terms of socio-economic development making life more comfortable for the people.
The Principal Special Assistant to the Governor on Legal Matters, Barrister Emmanuel Agbakor, who is an indigene of the area and spoke for the youth during the visit, said they were standing in solidarity with Governor Ortom whom he noted has given Benue people hope for the future and pledged their support to his Senatorial election.
Governor Ortom had earlier joined ecclesiastical and civil authorities at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral, Makurdi at the requiem Mass in honour of the late Very Reverend Fr Michael Murphy.
The late Fr Michael Murphy until his passing at the age of 94 was the longest-serving Irish missionary priest of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit.
The deceased spent 60 years as a priest in Tivland.
Metropolitan Archbishop of Abuja Archdiocese, His Grace, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, Catholic Bishop of Otukpo Diocese, Most Reverend Michael Apochi, Catholic Bishop of Lafia Diocese, Most Reverend David Ajang as well as the Catholic Bishop of Katsina-Ala Diocese, Most Reverend Isaac Dugu were among ecclesiastical authorities, who graced the requiem Mass.