Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has inaugurated the re-constituted State Council of Chiefs.
Governor Ortom also assented to the amended Benue State Council of Chiefs and Traditional Councils Law, 2016 as well as the amended Criminal Justice Law recently passed by the State House of Assembly.
Governor Ortom who performed the ceremony Monday, February 20th, 2023 at the new Banquet Hall of the Benue Peoples House, Makurdi said it was in line with Section 3 (2) of the Benue State Council of Chiefs and Traditional Councils Law, 2016.
The Governor in exercise of the powers conferred on him by Section 3(3) of the same Law appointed the Tor Tiv, His Royal Majesty, Prof. James Iorzua Ayatse as Chairman of the Council with the Och’Idoma, His Royal Majesty, John Elaigwu Odogbo as the Council’s Vice Chairman.
He disclosed that the Benue State Council of Chiefs as re-constituted has two 10 First Class Chiefs, and 23 Second Class Chiefs across the state as members, while the Director, Chieftaincy Affairs is to serve as Secretary of the Council.
He stated that the 1999 constitution (as amended) made provision for each state to have a Council of Chiefs to serve as an advisory body to the Government at various levels in the federation, noting that the duties of the Council were captured in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He pointed out some of the duties to include “advising the Government on issues relating to the customs and traditions of our people. Promoting cultural activities for the good of the State.
“Fostering unity among our traditional rulers across the state and providing a forum through which voices of our people at the grassroots can be presented” stressing that “these are very critical areas of service to both the Government and our people.”
Governor Ortom expressed optimism that the newly inaugurated Benue State Council of Chiefs would enhance a cordial working relationship between Government and the various Area Traditional Councils with a view to addressing the major issues that affect the traditional institution in the state.
In his response, paramount of the Tiv nation and Chairman of the Benue State Council of Chiefs, His Royal Majesty, Prof. Ayatse described the inauguration of the Council as a historic event.
He commended Governor Ortom for what he described as “the giant strides you have taken to give the traditional institution in the state its rightful place.”
The royal father pointed out the building of world class palaces for the paramount rulers and the priority the Ortom-led administration has given to the welfare of traditional rulers in the state.
He further commended the Governor for the provision of befitting means of transportation for the chiefs and for being sensitive to the concerns of the traditional rulers as well as the amendment of the chieftaincy law.
The paramount ruler assured the Governor that “as a Council, we will do the needful to fulfill our roles to the state and the federation” and appealed to him to create a secretariat for the State Council of Traditional rulers for the council to be functional.
In seperate remarks, Special Adviser, Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Barr. Kenneth Achabo and Permanent Secretary of the Bureau, Mr. Ode Ochelle expressed appreciation to Governor Ortom for giving due attention to the traditional institution in the state.
Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Barr. Michael Gusa presented the amended Laws for the Governor’s assent.