By Matthew Ajai-Kume
The Benue State House of Assembly has passed a bill to establish the Benue State Commission for Peace and Reconciliation into law.
The House carried out the exercise Tuesday during plenary at the Assembly Complex in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.
Leading debate of the report in the Committee of the Whole, while considering the report clause by clause, the Chairman, House Standing Committee On Local Government, Security and Chieftaincy Affairs, William Ortyom said the establishment of the commission will be helpful.
According to him, “the commission will help to gather, by means it deems appropriate, any information it considers relevant, including the power to request reports, records, documents or any information from any source, including governmental authorities, and production of such information as and when necessary.”
Ortyom informed that the function of the commission is to visit any establishment or place without giving prior notice, and enter upon any land or premises for any purpose which is material to the fulfilment of the commission’s mandate and in particular for the purpose of obtaining information or inspecting any property or taking copies of any documents which maybe of assistance to the commission for safeguarding any such property or document.
“The commission shall provide viable platform for coordination of activities of the state and non state actors involved in peace building and; or conflict prevention and mitigation in the state,” Ortyom stated.
According to him, the commission, when established shall support the development and coordination of government policies on post-conflict recovery, reconstruction and resettlement of persons and groups affected by conflicts in a manner that promotes sustainable peace and security in the state.
“The commission shall serve as an intellectual pool and support base to government in formulating policies and implementing programmes that contribute to the promotion of peace, as well as prevention and management of conflicts,” he maintained.
Ortyom explained that, the commission would regularly review peace and reconciliatory policies and practices in the state to make them consistent with emerging trends and global best practices among other functions and powers.
The House during Tuesday Plenary also received a report on Public Petitions, Bills Review and Appraisal on a petition by Mr Terwase Kpaakpa titled: “Illegal remover of my name on Benue State Government Payroll since October, 2021 to Date” which was lied by the Chairman of the committee, Jonathan Agbidyeh while the Deputy Speaker of the House, Christopher Adaji, who presided referred the report for debate on another day.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) membership in the state
Assembly increased to 26 after member representing Katsina Ala West State Constituency, Jacob Orban formally defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the PDP.
Adaji, made this known through a memo sent to the House by Orban. He said, the new member in the letter noted the injustice meted on him by his former party and his need to join PDP to help Governor Samuel Ortom to develop Benue State, as well as to help the current Speaker of the House, Titus Uba to clinch the governorship of the state at the forthcoming 2023 Governorship Election.
On his part, Orban confirmed that, the defection letter is from him, while he gave reason for his defection from his formal political party to PDP as insensitivity of APC in the development of the country, as well as his wish to support Governor Ortom, Uba and his new party platform to win the General Elections in 2023.