By Sunday Iduh
Benue State government has ordered that motorcycles should only operate between the hours of 6am to 8pm across the state.
Governor Samuel Ortom announced this Wednesday at the Benue Peoples House, Makurdi shortly after an emergency meeting of the state security council.
The governor, who said the outright ban on operation of motorcycles in Sankera axis subsist, said restricting the movement of motorcycles in other parts of the state which takes immediate effect became necessary due to security challenges.
His words: “For the past two hours, we have been deliberating on the current situations in Benue State and the entire country.
“We have decided to be very proactive to ensure that if there is anything, we can nip it in the bud. Because of what is happening in our country, Nigeria today, and of course, the security alarm raised by Nasarawa State government which is our next door neighbour, we are worried. The recent happening in Taraba, Plateau States and other parts of the country, necessitated this emergency security meeting to look at the situations and came out with far reaching proactive measures that will help us.
“First of all, let me encourage Benue people to be security conscious. This is not the time to sleep with your two eyes closed. Be vigilant and ensure you report any suspicious activities to security agents and other relevant authorities, in order for us to nip it in the bud, so that we do not allow it to escalate.
“In view of the challenges, we have decided that motorcycle, which is the major vehicle for criminals, bandits and Fulani terrorists be regulated.
“We sustained the ban of motorcycles in Sankera axis of Benue state. The ban still subsist and the security agents have the renewed mandate of the security council to apprehend any one that breaches the ban.
“In addition, we have decided that round the entire state, motorcycles should operate from 6am to 8pm. Any breach will be met with stiff penalties. The motorcycles will be seized and we are working on enacting a law which will allow for confiscation and destruction of the motorcycles.”
Governor Ortom disclosed that the security council also looked at the issues of long trucks which have their contents completely covered and decided that such trucks must be apprehended and thoroughly checked, stating that they will no longer be allowed to enter the state at night. “If they arrive at the state’s check points at night, they will have to wait for the day to break,” he added.
He directed the local government chairmen, who were also in attendance to ensure they cooperate with security operatives.
On the mining activities in the state, the governor explained that a committee has been set-up to look at the issue of mining in the state as it was creating a lot of environmental hazards and creating security threats around the state. “This will enable the Benue State government to be able to regulate the activities of miners,” he stated.
He condemned the situation whereby miners will get licence from Abuja and come to the state to operate without recourse to the state government.
Members of the committee which is to be headed by Secretary to the State Government (SSG), are Special Adviser to the Governor on Mining, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Commissioner for Lands and Solid Minerals, the affected local government chairmen (Gboko, Logo and Kwande) and second class chiefs of the affected local governments. The committee is expected to report its finding to the council.
“We have several opportunities for mining in Benue State to be exploited. A standard procedure for mining in the state needs to be put in place,” the governor noted.
Governor Ortom disclosed that there was a garnishee order by some people against the state government. “Government has been shut down from the local government to the state. We have received garnishee order of 2.7 billion naira. All the state accounts have been frozen,” he lamented.
He, however, said there was no cause for alarm, stating that the government was working on resolving the issues.
Speaking on the water resource bill, the governor reiterated that Benue State was totally against the bill. “The bill is another way of bringing in Ruga. If other states accept it, Benue under my watch will never accept it. There are other issues that requires attention and not distraction like water bill,” he maintained.
He requested that those peddling rumours that Benue State was in support of the water resource bill should apologize to the people of the state as there was no such thing.