By Amos Aar
TIV Youths Organisation (TYO) has kicked against the presence in Benue State of private security outfit, Al-Tershak Global Security Ltd, owned by an alleged ex-bandit, Alhaji Aliyu Tershaku.
The private security outfit, prior to the commissioning of its offices in Makurdi, the Benue State capital recently, is said to be operating in Taraba, Nasarawa and Plateau states.
In a statement signed by Comrade Andy Aondongu Anzah, President General, TYO Worldwide, and made available to National Record on Friday, June 16, 2023, the youth socio-cultural organisation said they were taken aback when recent media reports disclosed that the Benue State Government under Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia commissioned the private security outfit.
TYO however said it breathed a sigh of relief when the state government, through the governor’s media aide, denied supporting the establishment of the security organisation and disclaimed sending a representative to commission it even as the state government is yet to stop the operations of the security outfit, located at No. 4, Peter Achimugu Street, Old GRA, Makurdi, in the state.
The deputy governor also called a press conference to deny sending a representative to the commissioning ceremony. Both denials however described media reports of the commissioning as malicious and mischievous although they did not deny the existence of the outfit in the state or make disclose any action that would be taken against the existence and operation of the outfit in the state.
“We were horrified to read in a section of the media that a security outfit named Al-tershak Global Security Ltd was commissioned and headquartered in Makurdi, the Benue State capital city. The information filtering in said the outfit covers Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau states.
“We were even more petrified learning that the government of Benue state had approved of this exercise and sent representatives. We were equally worried that the traditional institution was represented at the commissioning,” the statement said, adding that its members were happy to hear that the state deputy governor, Sam Ode, who reportedly sent his Chief Protocol Officer to launch the security outfit came out to deny sending anybody to perform the function.
National Record gathered however that since the governor and his deputy’s denial of sending a representative to commission the security outfit, the government has not queried the Chief Protocol Officer for lying that he was directed by his boss to inaugurate the office, neither has the government queried the traditional rulers who were present at the commissioning ceremony.
TYO also raised concerns that Aliyu Tershaku allegedly had links with terrorist organisations in the past “including the dreaded Boko Haram sect and even other deadlier ones”.
The youths called on the Alia-led government to avoid Al-Tershak Global Security Ltd and collaborate with conventional security agencies, the existing state security outfits and the TYO to provide security in the state that will guarantee the return of internally displaced persons to their ancestral homes.
The statement, signed by Comrade Andy Anzah, TYO’s President General, entitled: “Tiv Youth Organization Joins the Benue State Government in Rebuking Al-tershak Global Security Ltd and its Reported Intentions in Benue”, reads:
“Security of lives and property is the paramount duty of a responsible government. The least that is expected of the citizens of such a government is to lend support to ensure that the efforts of government to provide the required security yields.
“It is on this background that Tiv Youth Organization readies itself to collaborate with the government of Benue State led by His Excellency, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia in bringing a lasting solution to the lingering insecurity in the state.
“Tiv Youth Organization was incorporated with the Corporate Affairs Commission on 9th June, 1988 with the mandate to coordinate the way of life of the Tiv youths, ensure their welfare and protect the territories of Tiv nation. The youth socio-cultural organization also retains the mandate to support any government in the state that is not anti-Tiv. This is why we pledge to support the administration of Gov. Alia in securing the lives and property of our people as well as ensure their welfare.
“We were horrified to read in a section of the media that a security outfit named AL-TERSHAK GLOBAL SECURITY LTD was commissioned and headquartered in Makurdi, the Benue State capital city. The information filtering in said the outfit covers Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau states.
“We were even more petrified learning that the government of Benue state had approved of this exercise and sent representatives. We were equally worried that the traditional institution was represented at the commissioning.
“But our apprehension was annuled [sic] by the absolute denial of the Gov. Alia led administration, through his Chief Press Secretary, Sir, Kula Tersoo of any knowledge or support of the government of Benue State to that initiative.
“Sir Kula said, “The Governor of Benue State is not aware of any Fulani Security outfit and would not have ‘okayed’ one.”
“He further said, “Yes, Governor Hyacinth Alia is desirous to see IDPs return to their homes and farmlands, but he is not desperate to use all means to achieve this. He is working on legitimate strategies to implement this project he promised the people of Benue State. Very soon, the results will manifest.”
“It was pleasing to hear the Deputy Governor, His Excellency, Barr. Sam Ode whom it was alleged had sent his Protocol Officer, Mr. Gabriel Igoche to represent him at the commissioning of the AL-TERSHAK GLOBAL SECURITY LTD debunking such claims. The Deputy Governor said it was the plot by mischievous elements to drag the administration of Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia into a non-existing controversy.
“X-raying the array of speeches at the occasion, one could discern the impression that this security outfit is the best thing to have happened to Benue state since bread and butter.
“Elaborate testimonies by the director of the outfit, Alh. Aliyu Tershaku and a host of other speakers revealed previous serial successes of the said security outfit in several other parts of Nigeria, including at one point, in Benue, which remains a mystery.
“Nasarawa and Plateau whose security situation is claimed to have been salvaged by this very security outfit remains as volatile and as restive as a keg of gun powder. Therefore, the promises of salvation emenating [sic] from this outfit should never be considered.
“When Gov. Samuel Ortom took over as Governor of Benue State, he inherited a Civilian Joint Task Force headed by Alh. Aliyu Tershaku. The task force was the creation of Governor Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State, Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State and DIG, Mike Zoukhumou. This was in the face of growing insecurity whereby, herdmen [sic] massacred Tiv farmers with alarming regularity. Gov. Ortom made Alh. Tershaku his Senior Special Assistant on Special Security. What we saw was that the situation plummeted under his watch. While Gov. Ortom’s administration blamed Alh. Tershaku, he countered and cried wolf, and then ran away from Benue state. His links to international terrorist groups began emanating, including the dreaded Boko Haram sect and even other deadlier ones.
“Today, his proposal is before us as the Messiah.
“This is worrisome to say the least. But the background should caution us from been reckless with our security, especially at this point in time.
“We want to state unequivocally that the security of the people resides with the locals. Therefore, Tiv Youth Organization is here and ready to collaborate with the government of Benue State to put an end to the prevailing insecurity and successfully return our displaced people back to their ancestral homes.
“We have the man power and the will to achieve this and as well, secure our territories. All the government needs do is to partner with us.
“We do not believe in the slightest in the promises of any security outfit and the miracles it proposes.
“We hereby call on the government of Benue State to shun the appeals of AL-TERSHAK GLOBAL SECURITY LTD and return home to collaborate with the existing conventional security, the existing state owned security outfits and the Tiv Youth Organization to seek lasting solutions to our problems.
“We are not in the way of Alh. Tershaku’s security outfit to carry out its business. Only we do not welcome it’s proposal here at this point in time.”