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Do Not Call Benue Youths Thugs, They Have Suffered Enough  – Gov Alia

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Benue State governor, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia, has called on those discrediting the youths of the state by calling them thugs, to immediately apologize and desist from such.

The governor made the call in Government House Makurdi, on Friday, April 26th, 2024, when different youth groups came out in their numbers to welcome him back from an official trip to the United States of America.

Photo Credit: Ephraim Lanshima

Addressing the groups, the governor said it was unfair of anyone to tag the hardworking young people of the state as thugs, insisting that such derogatory terms give the entire state a bad name, saying the administration places relevance on everybody in the state and will take it up to those trying to paint the state and it’s people bad.

“Any comment that does not go well with the image of the state and its very honourable individuals, this administration will take it up to you. When you see young people supporting this administration or working hard for the growth and development of Benue State, do not call the youths thugs. Whoever must have called the youths of the state thugs, first of all, I will like that person or those persons to withdraw that public statement.

“The youths of the state have suffered in the past so much that they are now gaining traction on sanity and development, and I wouldn’t want anyone to pocket them and have them stigmatized. If you don’t understand who a thug is, just shut up. Benue youths are thriving and are quite concerned about what happens here in the state and I will like everybody to honour them and to respect them.”

While thanking the youths for standing firm, and for always supporting his administration, the governor informed them that he was away in the United States of America to look for ways that will enable his administration chart a new course for Benue, especially as the state was disconnected from the International stage, particularly in the last 8years.

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“Benue State was no longer on the International radar, and with the new Sherriff in town, we needed the whole world to know that Benue State is here; Benue State is the real deal and Benue State is the home for development. And with the way we have charted it now, Benue state is going to be a place where a number of states will be coming to enquire about what is happening here so that they take it back to their various states.”

He said Benue was amongst the 19 Northern states that were invited to USA by the United States Peace Institute in collaboration with establishments here in Nigeria, to rub minds and chart a way forward on the insecurity challenge the Northern states are wrestling with, and to see how peace can return to those states.

According to the governor, the meetings were successful and his administration will apply the solutions proffered to see how the security challenge can be curbed down in the state.

He urged the people of the state to cooperate with the security agencies, charging the youth not to allow themselves to be used by anybody for their selfish interest and to also shun vices such as cultism, yahoo, kidnapping, as according to him, such have no place in the State.

He cautioned those making divisive statements to desist, saying his administration considers peace as paramount and as such, will not allow anyone irrespective of status to disrupt peace in the state, especially as his administration understands what peace can do for the state.

“This is why I cannot  accept anyone, whether you are a former governor, or whether you are a civil servant serving currently, or whether you are doing your business somewhere in Benue, or you are trying to engage on your farm somewhere.

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“If you are a former governor, concentrate on where you are. If you don’t have anything positive to contribute to Benue, shut up. Because you did you part, your terms came and it is over, therefore you must give peace a chance. You must allow this administration to carry out what we promised the people that we were going to carry out.

“It is very imperative to me that if you are in the state, know exactly what you are saying. Criticisms are welcome for me and my administration but check your facts. If you serve your term and it is over, you cannot sit in some corner and destabilize this administration. It is not acceptable,’ the governor stated.

On youth employment, the governor said that already, some establishments such as the Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH) have started employing, and it will be a continuous process with many other establishments to follow.

On the allegations by Comrade Festus Usifo, the President of Trade Union Congress (TUC) that Benue and several other states have not made the welfare of their workers a priority, the governor urged Usifo to cross check his facts before going public, insisting that his administration has not deviated from it’s commitment with the workers.

He pleaded with filling station owners in the state to make PMS available to buyers, and not to cause artificial scarcity.

In their separate remarks, the groups promised to continue to support the Alia led administration, especially as the governor has started laying a firm foundation to take the state to enviable heights.

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