Benue Assembly Resumes Plenary Since July

The Benue State House of Assembly on Friday held its first plenary session at the State Assembly complex after the crisis which rocked the Assembly since July.

The lawmaker’s resumption follows the Court Order by the State Chief Judge which granted access to the 22 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers who were earlier shut out of the Assembly in July 2018.

The Chairman, House Committee on Information, Paul Biam, during resumption on Friday said the lawmakers are happy to resume to their duties.

“We are extremely happy; this is the first outing since that judgment was given. The Chief Judge of Benue State when he passed that judgment made it clear that the judiciary has no power in the activities of another arm of government,” he said.

Biam also responded to the allegation that the new leadership under Mister Titus Uba had approved additional N40 billion bond for the governor.

He explained that the approval was given under the leadership of the impeached speaker, Mister Terkimbi Ikyange.

Eight out of the 30 members of the lawmakers from the All Progressive Congress (APC) had earlier in July secured an order restraining 22 PDP lawmakers from sitting at the Assembly Complex.

Also, 15 of the lawmakers were also during the crisis suspended for alleged illegal impeachment of the former speaker, Mister Terkimbi Ikyange.

APC Lawmakers Serve Governor Ortom Impeachment Notice

The controversy rocking the Benue State House Of Assembly assumed a new dimension on Monday as some lawmakers served an impeachment notice on Governor Samuel Ortom.

The eight lawmakers who served the impeachment notice on the governor are members of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The impeached Speaker, Mr Terkimbi Ikyange, who led the APC lawmakers, told journalists that the Assembly has commenced impeachment proceedings against Governor Ortom on allegations of diversion of state funds and abuse of office.

Ikyange added that 15 lawmakers have been suspended for six months.

The 15 suspended lawmakers are part of the 22 members of the Assembly who impeached  Mr Ikyange last week.

Earlier on Monday, police officers stormed the Assembly Complex, denying the 22 lawmakers who impeached the former Speaker, Ikyange entry into the House.

The crisis in the Assembly followed the defection of Governor Ortom from the APC to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Controversy Trails Benue Anti-Grazing Bill

Benue Govt. Denies Inducement On Anti-Grazing BillA major controversy appears to be brewing in Benue State over the change in the content and title of the Open Grazing Prohibition Bill recently sent to the legislative by the executive in the state.

The revelation was made by the State House of Assembly, after the letter sent by the executive substituting the earlier bill with the contentious livestock promotion bill was read in the Assembly.

The State Government, however, denied any external influence leading to the change as alleged in some quarters.

The executive added that the new version was drafted to accommodate more views in the bill.

Benue Lawmakers Push For North Central Development Commission

Benue State House of Assembly appeals to Samuel Ortom to facilitate North Central Development Commission The Benue State House of Assembly has appealed to Governor Samuel Ortom to help facilitate the establishment of the North Central Development Commission in a joint effort with other governors in the sub-region.

The lawmakers made the resolve as they resumed plenary on Thursday to debate key national issues, one of which is the insecurity issue relating to attacks by herdsmen.

A motion moved by the Majority Leader, Representative Benjamin Adanyi, prayed the House to also appeal to National Assembly lawmakers from the north-central region to pursue a bill in this direction.

Outlining the effects of herdsmen attacks in the region, Adanyi opined that such bill would help rebuild devastated communities in Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau states, as well as Southern Kaduna in Northwest Nigeria.

He likened the killings and destruction in the region to what the Boko Haram terrorists did in the northeast.

The lawmaker explained that the incidence warranted the Federal Government to establish the North East Development Commission, with proposed funding of 3% deductions from Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue collected nationwide.

He further questioned why such amount of VAT was collected from Benue State to fund the reconstruction of the northeast while excluding the state which he said was confronted with acute internal displacement challenges.

Following a few amendments of the motion by the Speaker of the House, Honourable Terkimbi Ikyange, the lawmakers unanimously passed the proposal.

Subsequently, the Benue South caucus of the assembly met to discuss the brutal killing of a soldier in Agatu Local Government Area of the state.

The Minority Leader of the House, Sule Audu, appealed to the Nigerian Army to halt the alleged destruction of Agatu villages in a retaliation move.

Alleged N750m Car Scam: Benue Lawmakers Clash Over EFCC Probe

Benue LawmakersProceedings at the Benue State House of Assembly on Tuesday degenerated into fisticuffs over an alleged 750 million Naira car fraud.

Tuesday’s face off was a fallout of an alleged probe by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) into the purchase of cars for the lawmakers.

Trouble started soon after sitting commenced with Honourable Kester Kyenge raising a point of order before the consideration of votes and proceedings of the previous sitting.

The Speaker of the House, Honourable Terkimbi Ikyange, who sensed the danger in the motion raised, ruled Mr Kyenge out of order.

The situation led to members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Assembly calling for the removal of all principal officers of the House.

The All Progressives Congress (APC)-led legislature strongly resisted the move at the floor of the House in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.

The situation got worse as lawmakers from the APC, which is the Speaker’s camp and the PDP members used abusive words against each other, prompting the Speaker to adjourn sitting to Thursday.

In an interview with the media, Mr Kyenge in company of his PDP colleagues, expressed concern that the Benue State government had failed to pay workers’ six months salaries, amidst rising insecurity in the state.

They also accused the Speaker of corruption and again demanded the resignation of the principal officers in the House.

The Speaker on his part said that contrary to the PDP lawmakers’ claims, 13 of them violated the law in the purchase of the cars which prompted the EFCC probe.

The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Samuel Ortom, Mr Terver Akase, accused the PDP lawmakers of orchestrating a plot to set up the civil servants against the government.

Benue Govt. Tasks MDAs On Budget Implementation

Benue, Samuel OrtomThe Benue State government has directed its Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to ensure 100 per cent implementation of the 2016 budget.

The State Governor, Samuel Ortom, gave the directive on Monday, with the executive oversight power vested on the Director of Budget in the Ministry of Finance.

He signed the 2016 Appropriation Bill of 150 billion Naira into law at the Government House in Makurdi, the Benue State’s capital.

The Governor warned his executive committee members to avoid plundering state resources set aside for government projects, so as to deliver its campaign promises to the people.

In his reaction, the Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, Honourable Terkimbi Ikyange, asked the executive arm of government to ensure proper construction of massive roads across the state as captured in the budget.

“This is to enable movement of agricultural produce from the farms and increase the campaign on improved value chain in the sector,” he said.

Herdsmen Crisis: Agatu Victims Urge State Governments To Uphold Peace Deal

AgatuSurvivors of attacks on communities in Agatu Local Government by suspected armed Fulani herdsmen have called on the Nasarawa State Government to implement the peace agreement signed with Benue State.

The survivors, on Saturday, urged the State Government to also put a leach on the militia herders.

The traditional ruler of Obagaji and the survivors made the call when a member representing Agatu in the Benue State House of assembly, Mr Audu Sule, visited the affected communities to see the level of destruction carried out by the imposing herdsmen.

Although, both the Army and Police had been mobilized to Agatu Local Government Area where over 20 villages were overran by the herdsmen, the security forces have not been able to subdue the Fulani militia.

Security forces said that the armed Fulani herdsmen with over 5,000 cattle, confronted them at Okokolo at the banks of the River Benue.

The crisis left a huge number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), who now share public schools with students during school hours.

The IDPs said life has been difficult, as little is being done to help them cope with the displacement.

Some of the young men left behind in Obagaji, the headquarters of Agatu Local Government Area to defend their homes, told Channels Television that the herdsmen were still occupying six villages as at Friday, February 26.

Chief James Edoh, said that three pregnant women put to bed along the road while fleeing from the crisis.

The Chief further lamented the inability of his people to recover the corpses of their loved ones for proper burial.

The member representing Agatu in the Benue State House of assembly, Mr Sule, urged the Nasarawa State Government to uphold their end of the peace deal, which the Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State, Silas Agara, insisted is on course.

The renewed clashes after both Governors of Benue and Nasarawa State had convened a peace meeting have underscored the need for the Federal Government to step into the crisis and end hostilities.

Benue Assembly Summons DPR Over Fuel Scarcity

Benue-House-of-AssemblyThe Benue State House of Assembly has passed a resolution, inviting the controller, Department of Petroleum Resources (DRP) to explain the reasons for the acute fuel scarcity in the state.

The resolution followed a motion moved by Mr Dominic Usher, who lamented the long queues and increasing activities of black marketers who sold the product as high as 200 Naira per liter.

Consequently, the House unanimously agreed to the motion to summon the DPR Controller to appear before it by 10.00am on Tuesday and asked Governor Samuel Ortom to reconstitute the State Task Force Fuel Monitoring Committee.

The Lafia-Makurdi Federal Highway was shut to free flow of traffic throughout the weekend due to pressure mounted by motorist to buy fuel from the NNPC Mega station.

The scarcity, which ran throughout Benue State, caught the attention of the State Assembly, who among other things, resolved at its first sitting in 2016 to summon the DPR Controller.

The State Assembly also passed a resolution against consumption of rat, a local delicacy of the Tiv ethnic group, following the outbreak of Lassa fever in Makurdi, the capital of Benue State,  where one person is being treated.

The outbreak of the disease in Benue State, has raised concerns among the lawmakers who believe that, Benue residence would be at a bigger risk, if they continue to consume rat meat.

Benue Lawmakers Probe N28.5 Billion Bailout Fund

Benue Lawmakers Probe Disbursement Of N28.5 Billion Bailout FundThe Benue State House of Assembly has expressed dissatisfaction over the disbursement of the 28.5 billion Naira bailout funds to workers at the state and local government levels respectively.

Members of the State  Assembly voiced the dissatisfaction when they summoned the Commissioner of Finance and a Special Adviser to probe the method of disbursing the 28.5 billion Naira bailout funds which had generated controversies among workers on Friday.

Deputy Majority Leader, Mr Nick Eworo, told Channels Television after the probe session that the House was not satisfied with the explanations offered by the officials.

On the opinion by members of the State Assembly to pay all claimants to the bailout funds, be it legitimate and those referred to as ghost workers, Special Adviser on Local Government and Chieftancy Affairs, Titus Zam, said that such indulgence would encourage fraud in the Civil Service.

Speaking to Channels Television correspondent, Pius Angbo, the Deputy Majority Leader said that the explanation offered were not enough to douse the concerns raised on the method of disbursement.

Governor Samuel Ortom at the State Executive Council meeting on Friday, raised another committee to speed-up the payment of the bailout funds to all deserving worker as quickly as possible.

Benue Speaker Apologises To Channels TV Over Ejection Order

Benue-House-of-AssemblyThe Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, Mr Terkimbi Ikyange, has apologised to Channels Television for barring of its crew from covering plenary on Thursday, June 25, 2015.

The Speaker in an interview with our correspondent, Pius Angbo, hinged the misunderstanding on impending security concern at the assembly on the said day.

Mr Terkimbe, while speaking shortly after the House adjourned plenary, also apologized to the people of Benue State over the fight as a result of majority claim by both the PDP and APC state lawmakers.

He also read a letter from the governor, nominating Transition Committee Chairmen for the 23 council areas.

To tell that the lawmakers are moving ahead from last week’s fracas, a PDP lawmaker, unlike previous sittings, seconded an APC lawmaker’s motion for adjournment, which the speaker say is part of moving forward.

The Speaker had on Thursday, June 25, ordered Channels Television’s correspondent out of the chamber.

The walk-out order against Channels Television was not unconnected to an earlier report of the Television station, showing a free for all fight the lawmakers resorted to during Tuesday’s plenary over the House leadership.

On arrival at the Assembly chamber, the Channels Television’s correspondent, Pius Angbo, was asked to leave by the Press Secretary and the Sergeant At-Arms, on the strength of the Speaker’s directive to accredit all journalists covering the Assembly.

Effort by the Clerk of the State Assembly to allow Channels Television’s correspondent cover Thursday’s plenary was resisted by the Press Secretary, who insisted that the Speaker did not approve of Channels Television coverage of the Assembly.

Benue Speaker Orders Channels TV Out Of Chambers

Benue-House-of-Assembly Channels Television coverage Dictatorial democratic tendencies played out at the Benue State House of Assembly on Thursday when the Speaker, Mr Terkimbi Kyange, ordered Channels Television’s correspondent out from the chamber.

The walk-out order against Channels Television was not unconnected to an earlier report of the Television station, showing a free for all fight the lawmakers resorted to during Tuesday’s plenary over the House leadership.

On arrival at the Assembly chamber, the Channels Television’s correspondent, Pius Angbo, was asked to leave by the Press Secretary and the Sergeant At-Arm, on the strength of the Speaker’s directive to accredit all journalists covering the Assembly.

All journalists, who came for the plenary, were allowed in except Channels Television crew.

Effort by the Clerk of the State Assembly to allow Channels Television’s correspondent cover Thursday’s plenary was resisted by the Press Secretary who insisted that the speaker did not approve of Channels Television coverage of the Assembly.

Benue Assembly: Lawmakers Clash Over Defection, Majority Leadership

Benue Assembly: Lawmakers Clash Over Defection, Majority LeadershipLawmakers at the Benue State House of Assembly, north-central Nigeria, clashed on Tuesday following a letter addressed to the Speaker by members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to appoint majority leader for the Assembly.

The APC and the Peoples Democratic Party’s free for all fight at plenary started when the Speaker of the Benue Assembly, Mr Terkimbi Kyange, read the APC’s letter in which it claimed majority after a lawmaker of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defected into its fold, which gave it a marginal lead over the PDP.

Normal legislative activities had began peacefully with the adoption of proceedings without any sign of an impending pandemonium before the chamber became a boxing ring minutes later.

The lawmaker in the eye of the storm, Mr Nick Eworo, hinged his defection on his expulsion from the PDP at the local government level.

The PDP lawmakers quickly arrested the reading of the letter via a motion to declare the seat of Mr Eworo vacant in line with Section 190 of the 1999 constitution.

Points of order for and against the motion of the PDP lawmakers to declare Mr Eworo’s seat vacant flew from all directions.

Mr Kyange then overruled the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers’ motion, declining the request to declare the said member’s seat vacant.

The APC-PDP clash soon degenerated into a free for all physical combat and fighting, while some female lawmakers scampered for safety after heated argument with other colleagues.

The Sergeant At-Arm quickly removed the mace while fighting was going on.

However, a legislator, Tema Kester, on behalf of the PDP lawmakers vowed to resist the move which they described as a rape on the constitution.

While the Speaker hurriedly adjourned sitting till Thursday, activities at the State’s Assembly continued without any sign of prior civil disturbances.