Prisons Service, Benue Govt. Partner To Avert Jail Breaks

Prisons, Benue, Jail BreaksThe Nigerian Prisons Service and the Benue State government have taken steps to prevent the rising cases of jail breaks across Nigeria.

Both stakeholders have resolve to increase surveillance and construct more cell blocks at the Makurdi prison in the Benue State capital, north-central Nigeria.

The Comptroller of Prisons in Benue State, Mr Peter Pevigo, told Channels Television that the joint security committee was contributing maximum armed personnel to counter any jail break attempt in the state.

He pointed out that long period of awaiting trial and prison congestion were major causes of prison riots and jail break attempt.

On his part, the Benue State Deputy Governor, Mr Benson Abounu, promised to ease the pressure on the existing prison facilities, hoping that the judiciary would complement the government’s effort by addressing the challenges of prison congestion.

He acknowledged that 117 inmates were sharing a single cell built to accommodate only 36 prisoners.

Mr Abounu disclosed the government’s plan after a working visit of the Benue State Exco members to the Makurdi prison, to donate 200 mattresses and 400 plates to the inmates.

2017 Budget Will Address Abandoned Projects – Udoma

Budget, Udo Udoma, Abandoned ProjectsThe Federal Government has promised a better national budget in 2017 to address the issue of abandoned projects across Nigeria.

The government also pledged to bring a rest to the crisis of confidence over the 2016 Budget, which has been fraught with allegation of padding right from the beginning.

The Minister of National Planning and Budget, Mr Udo Udoma, disclosed this on Wednesday at a two-day conference on capital projects, implementation and monitoring organised by the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.

The Minister, who was represented by the Director of Budget Planning, Mrs Olasunbor Ayinde, hinted that the 2017 Budget would attain uniform cost price for all items presented by MDAs to fund the abandoned projects spread across the country.

President of the NIQS, Mercy Iyortyer, expressed worry over the more than 19,000 abandoned projects across Nigeria, including the Benue State Sheraton Hotel which has remained uncompleted after 33 years.

The Benue State Governor, Mr Samuel Ortom, who was represented by his deputy, Benson Abounu, blamed the spate of uncompleted projects on lack of ethical behaviour on the part of professionals.

The Senate Committee Chairman on Public Procurement, Senator Mohammed Abdulsalami, on his part explained the controversy of budget padding while he blamed the legislature and the executive for lack of restraint.

Herdsmen Attacks: Olonisakin Assures Benue Residents Of Rehabilitation

Abayomi Olonisakin-Herdsmen-BenueThe Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, has assured residents of communities in Beneu State ravaged by herdsmen attacks that government will rehabilitate their homes and property.

General Olonisakin also promised the people of Agatu community and other local government areas affected by the attacks that government would rebuild destroyed public utilities in their areas.

The pledge was made by the Director of Communities, Defence Headquarters, Major General Edward Nze, who represented the Chief of Defence Staff at a fact finding visit to Agatu and other local government areas.

Speaking at Buruku and Tarka, where many lives were lost in the wake of herdsmen attacks on Benue communities, he noted that the visit was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive.

Major General Nze added that President Buhari had ordered that the perpetrators of the act must be sought out and destroyed.

In his reaction, the Benue State Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu, urged the Federal Government to deal with this threat, which he described as ‘worse than the Boko Haram insurgency’.

“It is our belief that a very firm action should be taken, otherwise, we will run into a problem that is far worse than the Boko Haram.

“Therefore, the law should take its course and a very firm action should be taken to nip this in the bud,” he said.

Defence Chief Promises To Rebuild Destroyed Public Utilities In Agatu

Agatu-IDPsThe Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, has pledge to rebuild destroyed public utilities in Agatu and other local government areas affected by the herdsmen attacks in Benue State.

General Olonisakin made the pledge in Agatu while on a fact finding visit to communities and other local government areas like Buruku and Tarka where many lives were lost in the wake of the herdsmen attacks.

Represented by Major General Edward Nze and a crack military team, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) promised more deployment of both the Navy and Air Force to support the troops on ground to enable the locals take statistics of their losses.

The military team deployed by the CDS to investigate the three months long attacks on Benue communities at a meeting with the Deputy Governor of the State, Benson Abounu.

Mr Abounu, who did not hold back details of the attacks by the herdsmen, called on the Federal Government to tackle the security threat he described as worse than Boko Haram.

The CDS team visited Tarka and Buruku Local Government Areas in company of some government officials where 10 persons have so far been killed.

The Council Chairman, Gowin Iorsue, who received the team, also spoke on the attacks.

When the team arrived Agatu to investigate the herdsmen atrocities, they were confronted with rear humanitarian crisis, ruin and total despair.

The team leader, Major General  Nze, promised that the crisis would end and also pledged to ensure that the Federal Government included rehabilitation of the affected Benue communities, after meeting with the leadership of Agatu communities.

The CDS team is expected to submit a report of its finding on the herdsmen attacks on local farmers in Benue State, but survivors and victims left behind to face the harsh reality, need urgent help to move on with their lives.

Agatu IDPs Seek Protection From Herdsmen, Scramble For Supplies

Agatu-IDPsInternally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the Agatu crisis, are asking the state government to beef up security at the Apa IDPs’ camp to prevent further attacks, amidst challenges of food shortage and lack of medical aids.

A traditional ruler in Apa Local Government Area, Mr John Anteyi, made the demand on behalf of the IDPs, whom he said were vulnerable to further attacks and lacking basic needs.

Responding to the rumoured attack on the IDPs’ camp in Apa by herdsmen, the state government represented by the Commissioner of Finance, David Olofu, said intelligence had been passed on to security agencies to act accordingly.

He assured the IDPs of immediate security response to the area for protection.

Last week, the Benue State Deputy Governor, Mr Benson Abounu, visited the IDPs’ camp in Apa with four Hilux trucks loaded with food items, but the supply ran out so fast due to the huge number of IDPs at the camp.

The lack of humanitarian aid to the IDPs also led to the food crisis.

The development prompted a retired Permanent Secretary from the Federal Ministry of Defence, Mr Mike Onoja, some Benue State Commissioners and the Otukpo Diocese of the Catholic Church to reach out to the IDPs.

Mr Onoja made a donation of 500,000 Naira while the commissioners and the Catholic Church handed over some food items to the camp manages.

The traditional ruler and the Catholic Bishop of Otukpo Diocese, Michael Apochi, said food and medical supplies were important, but security was the most pressing need at the camp.

While fighting and intense hostilities seem to be abating in Agatu, the herdsmen have turned attention to the Tiv land as Buruku, Logo and Kwande Local Government Areas have being attacked.