By Bemgba Iortyom.
Contrary to claims by Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue State on the success of his Amnesty Programme, one of his aides, Gurgur Japhet, has come out with figures which expose the governor’s claims as not only being inaccurate but also exaggerated.
The governor had said that, “The amnesty programme succeeded because more than 800 young people came out and surrendered. We have in our possession over 600 assorted weapons and ammunition that we collected from these young men”.
But contradicting the governor sharply on the number of youths who surrendered in the programme, Gurgur Japhet, an aide attached to the office of the governor’s wife, published the following details, “The entire population of the repentant souls who have genuinely embraced the amnesty programme is 556 people comprising; Katsina-Ala (284), Gboko (60), Kwande(32), Ukum(22), Konshisha(6), Ushongo(31), Vandeikya(31), Logo(18), Guma(8), Makurdi(18), Gwer-East(12), Buruku(12), Agathu(16), Apa(2), Ogbadigbo(1), Ado(3).
On the number of weapons recovered, the aide revealed that, “over 400 arms and thousands of ammunitions were recorded and collected”, as against the 600 claimed by Ortom.
Pundits have pointed at a desperation on the part of Gov. Ortom to paint his Amnesty Programme as having been a success yet facts on ground do not support such a view.
The programme is criticised by experts as lacking in vision and technical content without any properly articulated goals, and the supporting framework for the attainment of such goals.
It has been observed that the heightened crime wave in the state characterized by kidnappings and assassinations, even of key government officials, followed closely on the heels of the much touted Amnesty Programme, and analysts attribute this to a situation where criminals were brought out from their hideous without any tailored programme for their rehabilitation.
“Some of these criminals were brought to the towns and given access to government power and wealth at the expense of taxpayers, without any properly articulated schemes to change their lifestyles, and this led to the present confusion and rising crime situation.” posited one analyst.