Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has commended Nigerians whose dogged clamour led to the release of human rights activist and pro-democracy campaigner, Omoyele Sowore, as well as former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki.
The Governor equally commended President Muhammadu Buhari for directing the release of Sowore and Col Dasuki in accordance with the rule of law.
He states that Nigeria which prides itself as the giant of Africa and beacon of democracy must, at all times, be seen as a champion of the rule of law and respecter of human rights.
The Governor stresses that countries that practice true democracy across the world obey court orders and respect the fundamental rights of their citizens.
Wants a review of free entry for Africans policy
Meanwhile, Governor Ortom has urged the Federal Government to review its decision to give all African travelers visas on arrival in the country with effect from January next year – meaning that Africans wishing to travel to Nigeria can freely do so whenever they desire.
The Benue State Governor says as popular as the policy may sound, it portends danger ahead as Nigeria will soon turn to a safe haven for persons with a questionable character such as terrorists and other criminals who would come into the country without hindrance.
He appeals to President Buhari to reconsider the decision in the overall interest of the nation.
The candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Benue State, Dr Samuel Ortom, has been declared the winner of the governorship election held in the state.
Announcing the result in Makurdi the Benue State capital, the Returning Officer, Professor Hayward Mafuyai, said that Dr Ortom who has been declared the governor-elect polled 422,932 votes as against PDP’s Terhemen Tarzoor who polled 313,878 votes to emerge runner-up.
With the announcement and collection of the result by the party agents, the representative of the Peoples Democratic Party emulated President Goodluck Jonathan by reading the congratulatory message of Mr Terhemen Tarzoor, who came second in the contest.
In the speech read by the Director of Administration and Finance of the Tarzoor Campaign Organisation, Dr Cletus Tyokyaa, the Peoples Democratic Party congratulated the governor-elect for his victory at the polls but expressed reservations about the conduct of the elections in the state.
The agent of the All Progressives Congress, Joe Ikyaagba, expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the election and promised the people of the state that the governor-elect would take them out of poverty.
The party officials and security agents waited through the night for the arrival of results at the collation centre at the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Benue State.
Voting has ended peacefully in some parts of Benue State, including the state capital, Makurdi and other parts of the state monitored by Channels TV crew.
Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG), Bala Nasarawa, confirmed in a telephone interview with Channels TV Correspondent in Makurdi, that the election has been largely peaceful as no major incident has been recorded.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Benue State, Dr Samuel Ortom, while expressing satisfaction over the performance of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in an interview, said the electoral umpire has improved.
Similarly, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Terhemen Tarzoor, who also expressed satisfaction with the performance of INEC, decried the voter apathy experienced in Makurdi.
SA to President Jonathan on Job creation, Amb Josephine Washima, who correspondingly monitored the election process in the state, also commended the conduct of voters in the state.
As Benue State residents await the outcome of the Governorship and House of Assembly elections in the state, the party agents have converged at the state collation centre.
However, it is believed the waiting game may not be long if INEC replicates its performance as recorded during the presidential election.
The Meteorological Agency of Nigeria has advised Nigerian farmers to procure high yield crops for this planting season, as a short rainy season is expected this year.
The agency says rainfall cessation is expected to be earlier than normal in most parts of the north and central states and much later in the southernmost areas.
The Director General of the agency, Dr Anthony Anuforom, told a news conference during the 2014 seasonal rainfall prediction that the onset dates would vary between the first week of March in the southern states and late June in the northern parts of the country.
“Certain areas will have very low comfort index in the month of March. The level of temperature and humidity in some northern states will be low.
“For the rainfall, we looked at rainfall parameters and what we saw is that some parts in the south, particularly south-east and south-west may have delayed onset of rainy season.
“The onset ranges from first week of March in the south to sometime in June in the north,” he said.
Dr Anuforom urged Nigerians to heed the agency’s warnings.
The Supervising Minister of Aviation, Dr Samuel Ortom, told the reporters that the Federal Government would continue to put measures in place to avert a repeat of the 2012 flooding that affected many parts of the country.
The 2014 seasonal rainfall prediction by the Nigeria Meteorological Agency is a stitch in time for Nigerian farmers and all those whose means of livelihood depend on the vagaries of weather.