Benue Governor Ortom Dumps APC

Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has dumped the political party, All Progressives Congress (APC).

The governor disclosed this on Monday, at the Government House in Makurdi, the state capital, while swearing in his Special Adviser on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Jerome Torshimbe.

Explaining the reasons behind his action, the governor said he has been sent out of APC and is currently exploring a new option to actualise his future ambition.

The governor has not, however, announced the party he will be joining, saying only that he is consulting with relevant stakeholders and will soon announce his next move.

“As for party, I have been given a red card and I’m outside the pitch. So, if I have been given a red card and I’m standing outside, I’m a free man,

“So, I don’t know what will happen next; but I’m waiting. If approached, then I will tell the Benue people that I’m joining another football club,” he said.

The governor, speaking concerning the challenges confronting the state expressed the belief that it will soon come to an end.

“Many people have been wondering that though we dedicated the state to God, we are still facing challenges; but all these challenges that we see today, we shall see them no more.”

Governor Ortom urged his newly appointed special adviser to justify the confidence reposed in him through hardwork and commitment to duty and to imbibe the core values of his administration which include transparency, accountability, justice and equity.

I Have No Intention To Dump APC – Ortom

Ortom Says Benue Grazing Law Is Working, 16 Herdsmen Arraigned
File photo

Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has denied any plan to dump the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)

In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, the governor said he enjoys a cordial relationship with party leaders in the state and he is determined to tackle security challenges confronting Benue.

“Governor Ortom has no intention to leave APC for another party and has not consulted anyone on the matter.

“The Governor enjoys a cordial working relationship with other leaders of the party both at the local, state and national levels and is focused on delivering greater benefits of democracy to his people including tackling the security challenges confronting them and there is no cause to warrant his defection to another party.

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“The Governor’s focus is on solving the problem in collaboration with other stakeholders. He wants to see the end of the killings but this can only be done with the support of the Federal Government.

“Fortunately, the administration of President Buhari has responded positively by sending troops and other security operatives to chase away the armed militia from Benue communities,” the statement read in part.

The governor claims that the speculation is the handiwork of detractors who want to take undue advantage of the unfortunate security situation in Benue State and play politics.

He also debunked insinuations of alleged disharmony with APC leaders in Benue.

“The other insinuation in the report that Governor Ortom has fallen out of favour with other leaders of APC in Benue State particularly Senator George Akume is also unfounded. The report is aimed at creating acrimony between the Governor and the Senator,” the statement read further.

Ortom said what is of greater importance is to stop the killings in the state and tackle the humanitarian crisis with many displaced as a result of the invasion of communities by armed men.

Gov. Ortom Condoles With Family Of Former NTA DG, Dr. Ityohegh

Gov. Ortom Condoles With Family Of Former NTA DG, Dr. ItyoheghBenue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has condoled with the family of late Dr. Patrick Ityohegh, a former Director General of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), who died on Wednesday evening in Makurdi, the Benue state capital.

Mr Ortom, who led some members of the State Executive Council on the condolence visit, described the death of Dr. Ityohegh as a national loss, considering his contribution to the media industry especially in Benue state.

The death of the late media icon according to the governor, is one that will re-write history, as his legacies would live through those he nurtured in the media profession.

“My message to the family is to accept it as the will of God because the scripture says, it is God that gives and it is God that takes – this is not an exception, but I think Nigeria will ever miss him.

“He will ever be remembered because of the positive impact he made on humanity and I’m really happy that I’m alive to bid him farewell and by the grace of God, we shall do everything possible to give him a befitting burial,” the governor stated.

Benue Govt. Debunks Claims Of Herdsmen Killings In Jato-Aka

governor-ortomThe Benue State Governor, Mr Samuel Ortom, has denied reports of herdsmen killings of Tiv farmers in Jato-Aka of Kwande Local Council, following the outbreak of civil unrest between the youths and some soldiers last week.

Governor Ortom cleared the air during an expanded Security Council meeting with elders and traditional rulers from Sankera axis, saying that security reports indicated that there were no fresh killings in Jato-Aka.

He, however noted that there is need for security investigation of the renewed herdsmen killings in four out of the five council wards in Turan/Jato-Aka, a border community with Moon District where herdsmen have taken over since 2013.

Meanwhile, the governor expressed his displeasure and warned against unverified media reports of the herdsmen/farmers crisis.

“I can’t just act on rumours that people are being killed. It is not fair when you see pictures that people were killed in Kaduna and posted as pictures of people killed in Benue state, it is not fair to us. Please let us try and verify these facts, we are on top of the situation.

“I just concluded a meeting with my security council and the entire traditional rulers from that area and nobody is talking about killings. We recovered a gun that was missing from the 93 Battalion and we brought it and handed over to the Commander 72 Battalion here in Makurdi and we did not hear about report of killings”.

The expanded Security Council meeting according to governor, revealed that criminal elements were responsible for the weeks of violent gunmen attacks in Zaki-Biam and the entire Sankera axis of the state.

He therefore reiterated his administration’s resolve to flush them out.

Zaki Biam Attack: Ortom Vows To Bring Perpetrators To Book

Ortom Sues For Calm Over Benue Market AttackThe Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has asked the people of Zaki Biam to remain calm, as everything will be done to bring the killers of some traders in the town to justice.

The Governor made the call on Tuesday when he visited the town, alongside the Commissioner of Police in the state, Bashir Makama, to assess the situation there.

The Police confirmed that 17 persons were killed in the attack, after gunmen riding on motorcycles invaded the area while shooting sporadically.

The attack on the traders took place on Monday evening at a yam market in Zaki Biam in Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State, north-central Nigeria.

The Special Adviser to Governor Ortom on ICT and Media, Tahav Agerzua, clarified that the killing was not linked to the activities of herdsmen.

Although witnesses claim that about 27 people were killed by the attackers, but one of the survivors alleges that many lives were lost.

President Muhammadu Buhari in a statement issued on Tuesday by his spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, condoled with the government and people of Benue State on the attack.

“The President condemns the wicked attack and directs security agencies to begin immediate investigation with a view to bring the perpetrators of the act to book,” he said

President Buhari also sympathised with those who lost their loved ones and prayed that God comforts them.

Herdsmen Attacks: Ortom Challenges FG To Improve Security

samuel-ortomThe Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has challenged the Federal Government to do more to stop the attacks by herdsmen across the country.

The governor, who led the State Security Council to the killing fields in Logo and Buruku local council, lamented over the renewed attacks witnessed in the region.

“There must be a solution, the Federal Government must come and collaborate with the state to solve this problem.

“While I agree that the herdsmen have the right to graze, they should graze where there is land. In Benue state, there is no land for grazing.”

Benue Commissioner of Police

The Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama, has on the other hand, ordered his men to deal with anyone bearing arms illegally.

“Anybody that is seen with arms should be brought down. You cannot bear what is illegal to use it against anybody.

“Whoever is carrying any weapon, I have said should actually be arrested and prosecuted for that.”

DSS Arrests Suswam Over Alleged Arms Discovery

DSS Uncovers Arms From Property Allegedly Linked To SuswamThe Department of State Services (DSS) has arrested former Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam.

The arrest was made after the Service said it uncovered a large cache of arms and ammunition from a property allegedly belonging to the former governor at number 44 Aguiyi Ironsi Way, Maitama-Abuja.

According to a statement by the DSS spokesman, Tony Opuiyo, the operation was informed by intelligence that some incriminating items were stashed in the boots of cars parked at the property.

The DSS said after carrying out a raid on the property in the presence of two private security officers employed by the company, the following items were recovered:

  • A glock pistol with two magazines and a total of 29 rounds of ammunition;
  • A mini-uzi with two magazines containing 10 rounds and four rounds respectively;
  • Forty-two extra rounds of ammunition contained in a pack and one Ak-47.

The search also revealed:

  • Twenty-one Certificates of Occupancy and one Offer of Statutory Right of Occupancy;
  • Twenty-three luxury designer watches; and
  • Forty-five keys to various exotic cars.

The DSS warned politicians to desist from making inciting comments that may heat up the system.

“It is in the light of this latest development that the Service wishes to sound a note of warning to persons and groups that it will no longer tolerate any acts of lawlessness by those who ought to be law abiding and responsible citizens.

“The Service has also observed with total dismay, the inciting utterances of some political actors whose activities heat-up the polity.

“It also wishes to express its disappointment with these politicians who in their desperation, are engaged in hate speeches and sponsor of radio campaign jingles when the electoral umpire has not authorised such campaigns in line with the Electoral Act.

“More worrisome is the unpatriotic involvement of some media outfits in these divisive tendencies which negate their constitutional role as the fourth estate of the realm.

“In line with its statutory mandate of maintaining the peace and internal security of the country, the Service hereby restates its commitment to go after anyone no matter how highly placed. who engages in acts capable of causing the breach of peace in the country,” the statement read.

Ortom Sacks Benue Teaching Service Boss Convicted Of Assault

Ortom Sacks Benue Teaching Service Boss Convicted Of AssaultThe Benue State Governor, Mr Samuel Ortom, has ordered the immediate termination of the appointment of the Executive Secretary of the Teaching Service Board (TSB), Mr James Pine, for embarrassing the state government.

The Acting Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr Bem Melladu, disclosed this on Monday in Makurdi.

He said that the government was embarrassed by the actions of Mr Pine, who was convicted of assault against a member of staff in his agency.

According to the acting SSG, “Mr James Pine used criminal force on the staff and while the case was in court, he turned down all overtures towards a peaceful resolution of the matter”.

The SSG regretted that the matter dragged on in court till he was convicted.

“Very senior officials in government tried to arbitrate in the matter to no avail; see the consequence of his actions now. His conviction is very embarrassing to the government.

“Governor Ortom has, therefore, directed the termination of his appointment because Pine’s conviction by the court was an embarrassment to the Governor, the government and the people of the state.”

Mr James Pine, who was appointed by Governor Ortom in 2015, was dragged to court by one of his subordinates, James Asema, on account of assault and criminal use of force against him.

The Magistrate Court found him culpable and sentenced him to five months imprisonment with an option of N10,000 fine.

Benue Government Issues Ultimatum On Arms Surrendering

Benue, ultimatum, arms surrender, amnesty programmeThe Benue state Governor, Samuel Ortom on Friday, gave the Agatu community the ultimatum to surrender all illegal weapons in their possession, or stand at risk of prosecution.

The directive which came after the state council meeting that took place on Friday, is part of efforts in the avowed determination the government to rid the state of illegal arms.

Governor Ortom said that the opportunity given to Agatu people is under the amnesty program of his government.

He said “the Benue state executive council took this decision of the order of illegal weapons, under the state’s amnesty program as conditions for security protection against herdsmen attack”.

The youths of the area have told the governor they will abide by the ultimatum as long as there is show of sincerity.

Benue Govt. Beefs Up Security Ahead Of Herdsmen Crisis

Benue, security, herdsmen crisisThe Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has beefed up security in the state, in order to fore-stall any incidents that may occur between herdsmen and farmers.

He constituted the state and local government joint security committees, comprising security agencies, farmers and herdsmen to prevent the ugly crisis which he says has occurred every year since 2011.

Mr Ortom took this step while declaring open the Benue state security awareness seminar for security agencies, civilian joint task-force, sole administrators and traditional rulers across the state.

The step, according to him, is aimed at avoiding a repeat of the February 2016 deadly Agatu attacks involving herdsmen.

The Special Adviser to the Governor and Chairman of the Committee, Colonel Edwin Jando, had tasked the state to prevent a recurrence by all means possible.

In October, the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 4, Oshodi Glover, deployed over 60 personnel of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) to Plateau, Nasarawa and Benue states.
benue, fayose, herdsmen crisisHowever, in the ongoing fight against insurgents and herdsmen attacks across the country, past Military Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, is one of those who opines that the government cannot solely bring an end to the insecurity issue.

The former military leader-turned-farmer, in an interview with Channels Television, had said the crisis requires all hands to be on deck, especially those of well-meaning individuals in the country.

In an attempt to also avoid further attacks instigated by the herdsmen, Ekiti state Governor, Ayodele Fayose came up with the decision to sign a law prohibiting open grazing of cattle in the state.

Speeding up the passage of the bill, he has inaugurated a task force to enforce the law, insisting that he has a duty to do whatever he can to protect the lives of his people.

Olonisakin Tasks Army On Contemporary Counter-terrorism Strategies

 counter terrorism, Olonisakin, ArmyThe Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, has asked participants at the ongoing Chief of Army Staff (COAS) conference to evolve new and contemporary counter terrorism strategies to combat insecurity in Nigeria.

General Olonisakin gave the directive on Tuesday at the opening ceremony of the COAS conference holding in Makurdi, Benue State’s capital.

The conference was organised to review military counter terrorism approach and the operational competence of the Nigerian Army.

The Defence Chief also set new intelligence and operational targets for the army to meet before the next conference.

The COAS, Lieutenant General Tukur Burutai, consequently ordered a new phase of military training.

He said the training would enhance the capacity and operations of troops engaged in the fight against Boko Haram terrorists, militants in the Niger Delta and armed herdsmen.

On his part, the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, who was represented by his deputy, Benson Abounu, thanked the Service Chiefs for defending the state.

He expressed delight that residents could now go about their lawful activities after they had suffered many security breaches by armed herdsmen.

Besides the review of military intelligence and counter-terrorism operations, the Service Chiefs also commissioned the NASME/ Host Community Link Bridge, the NASME Water Works and a free medical outreach for the public to ascertain their health status.

Benue Governor Urges Inter-agency Synergy To Tackle Insecurity

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom on insecurityBenue State Governor, Mr Samuel Ortom, has demanded more action and inter-agency cooperation among security agencies to tackle insecurity in Nigeria.

Governor Ortom said the synergy would help bring all perpetrators of crime to justice, following the implementation of the stick approach of his amnesty deal.

He made the demand on Monday when he received the Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in charge of Zone H, Joseph Oragande, at his office in Makurdi, the capital of the north-central Nigeria state.

The Governor noted that no economic activity would thrive in the face of security challenges.

The NSCDC Commandant briefed reporters on the outcome of his visit to the State Government House.

Mr Oragande said a joint security and strategy meeting would be convened with the specific aim of addressing inter-state crisis, as well as dialogue between farmers and herdsmen.

The Zone H of the NSCDC comprises of Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Nasarawa and Kogi states.