By Amos Aar
BENUE State governor, Samuel Ortom, on Friday swore in a Catholic Priest, Rev. Fr. Terungwa Tor, as permanent secretary in the state civil service.
Performing the ceremony at Government House, Makurdi, Governor Ortom stated that the appointment of the priest was based on his track record and experience in the educational sector.
Until his appointment as permanent secretary, Fr. Tor, a Ph.D holder, was Director, Catholic Education Services, Makurdi Catholic Diocese, and Principal, Mount Saint Michael’s Secondary School, Aliade in Gwer-East LGA of Benue State.
Speaking at the swearing in ceremony, Fr. Tor expressed appreciation to the governor for the opportunity to serve the state in the capacity and assured that he will not disappoint. He said the governor made history in appointing the first Catholic Priest as permanent secretary.
While commissioning Benue Television which commenced operations about two years ago, Governor Ortom approved the conversion of 13 casual staff of the corporation to permanent employment status.
He lauded the achievements of the Benue Television within a short span of its establishment, saying it fulfilled its vision of showcasing Benue to the outside world.
Governor Ortom who also commissioned the offices of the Benue State Community Volunteer Guards (BSCVG) recommended the guards to be the first to be recruited by his successor for community policing if the federal government finally approves it, pointing out that the volunteer guards have proven to be of good conduct.
Ortom disclosed that over 140 security personnel have been Killed in Benue State by suspected herdsmen militia between 2017 and 2023, stressing the need for the establishment of state police.
“In Benue State alone, more than one hundred and forty (140) trained agents have been killed from 2017 to date. The army, the police, civil defense and DSS.
“Since the Fulanis have not been disarmed, let us also arm our young men with AK-47 to defend us. They have the capacity to complement the security agencies”, Ortom said.
Governor Ortom also inaugurated the Benue State Peace and Reconciliation Commission, stating that it was part of his conscious efforts towards ensuring peace-building and sustainable development in the state.
The Benue State Peace and Reconciliation Commission has Bishop Nathan Nyom as Board Chairman and Mrs Josephine Habba as Director General.
Others on the Commission include, Mr Nduul Raphael Msugher as Secretary, Mr. Aboh Utah, Engr Felix Atume, AIG Wilson Inalegwu (rtd) representing Benue Zones, A, B and C respectively, while Ms. Priscilla Achakpa, Prof. Charity Angya, Mrs. Dorcas Iorkusa, Barr. Rommy Mom are representatives of Peace-building, Gender Advocacy for Justice, Gender and Community Empowerment Initiative as well as Lawyers Alert respectively.
Special Adviser to the governor on SDGs and NEPAD, Prof. Magdalyn Dura, stated that the Commission was a creation of the law enacted by the State Assembly and was targeted at developing policies and institutional peace-building efforts as well as responding to early warning signals to avert any breach of public peace.
In his remarks on behalf of other members of the commission, Bishop Nathan Nyom thanked the governor for finding them worthy to serve. He assured that members of the commission will remain loyal to their duty.
Speaking during a valedictory session that marked the end of his administration, Governor Ortom however announced that he will not dissolve his cabinet until May 29, 2023 when his successor, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, will be sworn in.
He said although some of his counterparts had already dissolved their cabinets, he allowed his commissioners to continue to work because he remained the executive governor of Benue State till 12 noon on Monday May 29, 2023.