Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue said on Saturday that the state was now relatively peaceful since the deployment of troops in various operations to tackle the menace of armed banditry and suspected killer herdsmen.
Ortom, however, pleaded with the military not to leave in spite of the successes recorded.
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Mr Benson Abounu spoke at the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of over 300 housing units under the Nigerian Army post-service housing scheme at Otukpo.
He urged the Army not to demobilise its `Operation Whirl Stroke’ that has helped to bring about peace to the state.
On the housing project, Ortom commended the army for siting the project in Otukpo, the first of such scheme to be located outside any state capital.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the houses, expected to be delivered in 12 months, are being constructed under Public Private Partnership arrangement.
Earlier, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai had assured that the army in partnership with other security agencies would continue to tackle all security challenges in the state.
Buratai stressed that as the “food basket” of the nation, it was imperative that there should be security and peace in Benue.
He said the houses would be allocated to military personnel and civilians on 50-50 basis, unlike the previous arrangement of 70 to 30.
The army chief had earlier at the palace of Och’ Idoma, Dr Elias Obekpa, informed the monarch that the army was constructing a barrack in Otukpo as part of efforts to ensure security in the town and its environs.
He said under the Nigerian army “Order of Battle” 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari gave the approval for the establishment of the barrack.
The army chief noted that Idoma sons and daughters had contributed to the development of the military through their enlistment into the Armed Forces.
Responding, the Och’ Idoma, who was represented by Chief John Ochayi, Ad’ Ohimini, commended the army for the establishment of the barrack.
He said the formation, when completed, would help in addressing security challenges in the area, noting that there had been long cordial relationship between the army and Idoma people.