By Brenda Agba
The Benue State Governor, Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia, has stated his resolve to explore all necessary avenues to end the long standing land dispute between the Nigerian Air Force Base and the Ugondo Community of Makurdi Local Government Area.
Governor Alia made this known when he received the Air Officer Commanding, Tactical Air Command, Nigerian Air Force, Air Vice Marshall Francis Edosa who led other high ranking officers on a courtesy call at the Benue State Government House, Makurdi.
The governor who stressed the need to find lasting solutions to the issue disclosed that since assumption of office, he has met with members of the community as well as the joint committee that was set up by his predecessor to look into the matter to ascertain how far they have gone with their findings as this, he said, will give him a sense of direction.
“I would want more of federal establishments in the state and will not condone acts that will scare people away”, he declared.
Alia, while appreciating AVM Edosa and members of his delegation over their solidarity gesture said Benue is a hospitable place.
“The government and people of the state are proud of your institutional presence in the state by all ramifications.
“We take pride in every partnership we enjoy and community services you extend to the state”.
He noted that the state is infested with insecurity and their presence cushions the effect to a certain extent even as he charged them not to rest on their oars but continue to partner other security apparatus to ensure that things work out for the state.
The governor further expressed confidence that the relationship that was built with AVM Edosa’s predecessors will be sustained and even more strengthened with renewed hope towards ridding Benue of the bad elements to enable the people live normal lives.
On the deplorable condition of the Makurdi-Gboko road, the governor expressed optimism that the Federal Ministry of Works will resume rehabilitation work on it in no distant time.
Earlier, leader of the delegation, AVM Francis Edosa who congratulated the governor on his election, thanked him for the warm reception accorded them in spite of the short notice.
AVM Edosa described Benue State as very strategic to the Nigerian Air Force as it is home to it’s foremost war fighting commands.
“Beyond it’s immediate area of responsibility which is Benue State, the Tactical Air Command directly oversees air operations in the North/East, South/South and South East in addition to making critical contributions to operation theaters across the country.
“The Nigeria Air Force values and appreciates its long standing external relationship with the people and government of the state. It is for this purpose that I am here to express our most sincere appreciation for keeping this relationship going and to seek ways through which we can strengthen this all important relationship.
Speaking further, AVM Edosa said: “The complex nature of contemporary security challenges requires a multi sectoral and specialized effort from society. Therefore, beyond the traditional military solutions, it is my firm belief that committed participation from different stakeholders is very important to addressing societal challenges.
“While security is considered a pre-condition for development, positive development in itself will help in containing the root causes of insecurity”, he maintained.
AVM Edosa stressed the need to foster the symbiotic relationship in order to make the desired national progress.
While acknowledging the governor’s developmental strides being witnessed by people of the state, AVM Edosa appealed for the governor’s intervention in the land dispute between the NAF Base and its host community, suggesting the issuance of Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) as a possible solution, as well as to help facilitate the urgent intervention of the federal government in the repairs of the Makurdi-Gboko road saying vehicles moving at walking pace due to its deplorable condition also pose great security challenge.
“On our part, I assure you that the command will take all necessary actions alongside other security agencies in curbing insecurity in Benue State to pave the way for peace and progress,” he summed.