By Matthew Ajai-Kume
Benue State Government has acknowledged the complimentary role of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) in the area of civil-military relations of providing incentives to the communities hosting the Force.
Governor Samuel Ortom disclosed this Friday in an address when the Chief of Air Staff (COAS), Air Marshal, Oladayo Issaka Amao paid him a courtesy call at the Conference Hall, Governor’s Lodge, Benue People’s House, Makurdi.
The Benue State governor, who commended the Force for allowing its airport in Makurdi to be used for commercial flights, added that, with the feat, the people of State can easily travel for commercial and other purposes to add value to their lives.
“I want to also thank the Force for its contributions to the state in the areas of health care delivery service, education and other areas,” he stated.
According to the governor, the attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen on the state was overwhelming, however, the establishment of the Operation Whirl Stroke which the Air Force is part of has worked assiduously to bring relative peace to the state.
He maintained that, the challenge the state is confronting at the moment is the collaboration of local bandits who are now working together with armed Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram.
Governor Ortom who said, his administration has done a lot in the area of solving the land dispute between the host community and the Force stressed that, he called several meetings between stakeholders of the Ugondo community and the Air Force and after several of the meetings, it was agreed that 350 hectares of land be ceded to the host community from the over 900 hectares of land. He added that however, while some members of the community accepted, others disagreed and took the matter to court.
“At the mean time, the case is before a court of competent jurisdiction, so, I believe justice will be done to that.”
Earlier, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal, Oludayo Issaka Amao, assured the people of the state that, the Force would continue to cooperate with other security agencies to curb the insecurity in the state and Nigeria at large.
“My men are collaborating with other security agencies in the Operation Whirl Stroke to tackle the security challenge in Benue State,” he stated.
Air Marshal Amao said, one of the biggest challenge the Air Tactical Command is confronting is the land dispute matter between the Command and its host community, while he appealed to the governor to intervene for peace to reign.