Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has asked the Federal Government to suspend the conduct of National Population Census until all Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are returned to their ancestral homes.
Governor Ortom made the call Thursday, April 13th, 2023, when he received a delegation from the Middle Belt Forum led by its President, Dr Bitrus Pogu, at Benue People’s House, Makurdi.
The Governor stated that close to two million indigenes of Benue State were in the IDP camps and would not be counted because they needed to be in their localities before they could participate in the exercise.
Governor Ortom stated that what the Federal Government must do before carrying out the census was to ensure adequate security for the IDPs in Benue and elsewhere in the country to go back to their homes to be counted.
“I want to say that the Federal Government should suspend the issue of census because it looks like the proposed census is coming with an agenda.
“So until they are able to restore security and all our IDPs go back to their ancestral lands to give all of them opportunities to be counted in the homes of birth.
“Because I understand from the National Population Commission that those to be counted must be counted in their localities,” the Governor said.
Governor Ortom lamented that “there was so much injustice, bias and tribalism” in the country.
He particularly decried the sustained attacks on Benue communities by herdsmen over the years in which more than six thousand people have died and property worth billions of naira destroyed with the Federal Government doing little to help.
However, Governor Ortom maintained that despite the unprovoked attacks and other injustices meted on the state’s people, “Benue people will remain law-abiding citizens because they believe in Nigeria and have worked for the unity of the country.”