One Reported Killed As Flood Hits 37 Communities In Benue

 

One person has been reported drowned as flood submerges schools, power installations, and rice farms in 37 communities of Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State.

The incident has forced hundreds of residents from their homes as they now take refuge along the Guto-Oweto highway in the state.

The flood is a result of an overflow of the shallow River Benue which could not contain the release of excess water from the Lado Dam in Cameroon.

Residents of Utugolugu, one of the affected communities lamented in an interview with Channels Television that they have been victims of floods since 2012.

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The floods hit the communities while the people of Agatu, one of the worst-hit areas in Benue from the many years of herdsmen attacks, were still in the recovery process.

During a visit to some of the affected areas, Channels Television uncovered a submerged transformer which holds great danger for anyone who attempts any form of evacuating their belongings.

 

The most dangerous part of the flood was a twenty-minute boat ride to Utugolugu where the entire community was submerged.

Residents in this community practically live in the water, cook on elevated wooden platforms, and sleeps on the roofs of their homes.

Some of the residents, Oigene Haruna and Queen Matthew, urged the government to come to their rescue, saying the suffering was much for them.

 

According to the, their children have no access to their school and no functional hospital while they have continued to live right inside the water for more than three months.

The lawmaker representing Agatu State Constituency in the Benue State House of Assembly, Godwin Edoh, and the Ada’Agatu, Godwin Onah, said the situation requires an urgent intervention of the government.

Why Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore’s President Must Be Arrested – Ortom

Governor Samuel Ortom

 

 

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has explained why he called for the arrest of the President of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore.

The governor who received Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka at the Government House in Makurdi on Tuesday revealed that he would file a formal complaint to the security agencies.

He vowed to petition the Inspector General of Police, the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), and the Presidency to ensure that the association’s president was arrested for allegedly threatening states like Benue for rejecting the establishment of the Rural Grazing Area (RUGA).

“He should be arrested because there is no hate speech more than the one he was saying and was given wide publicity that governors who do not embrace cattle colony and RUGA will not know peace,” the governor alleged.

He added, “We have seen it before and why should we allow a person like this to go scot-free in impunity? If we want to live as a country, this should not be allowed … this is the way to go.”

READ ALSO: Soyinka Calls For ‘Holistic Approach’ To Nigeria’s Security Challenges

 

More Problems In Benue?

In the heat of the crisis between herdsmen and farmers that claimed many lives and forced hundreds of residents from their houses in Benue, the state government had taken some measures to address the situation.

One of the major steps taken by the government was the passage and assent to the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law by the Benue State House of Assembly and Governor Ortom respectively in November 2017.

Although the governor noted that the state government was open to ideas and recommendations on how to tackle the crisis between farmers and herders in the state, he insisted that the RUGA scheme was not an option to consider.

He stated, “I have challenged Nigerians, the Federal Government, state, and all Nigerians that if the prohibition of open grazing in Benue State law of 2017; if you have any order policy that can restore peace for farmers and herdsmen in this country or in Benue State, please bring it on the table.”

“We are willing to go back to our people and say there is a better option, but the option cannot be RUGA, cattle colony, and open grazing.

“It cannot be those ones; they are not there because they will not solve the problem, they will create more problems.”

Ochanya: Benue Arraigns Senior Lecturer Over Rape, Death Of Teenager

Gunmen Shoot Returning Officer While Conveying Result In Benue

 

The Benue State Government has arraigned Mr Andrew Ogbuja, a senior lecturer at the Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, who was alleged to have raped to death 13-year-old girl, Ochanya Ogbanje.

Mr Ogbuja, 54, was arraigned on Thursday, nearly one year after Ochanya’s death from complications said to have resulted from her prolonged rape by the suspect and his son, Victor.

Ochanya died on October 17, 2018.

On the other hand, Victor who is the suspect in the case is now at large and is yet to be arrested or declared wanted.

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During proceedings at the Benue State High Court in Makurdi, four charges bordering on rape and murder were read to Ogbuja and he pleaded not guilty.

Following his not guilty plea, the prosecuting lawyer and deputy director of the Benue State Public Prosecution, Mr P Ukande, urged the court to remand the defendant and fix a date for trial.

The defence lawyer, Mr Abel Onoja, said he was not against the application for trial.

He, however, prayed the court to make an order to compel the prosecution to ensure that the medical experts named in the suit were physically brought before the court to testify.

“My Lord, I have a motion which seeks to compel the prosecution to produce medical experts who have been mentioned in the proof of evidence to be put on notice as to their physical appearance in court, so that they can testify when the trial commences,” Onoja said.

In his response, the prosecuting counsel said it was “premature to come up with such a request, given the fact that the trial has not fully commenced.”

The trial judge, Justice Augustine Ityonyiman, agreed with the prosecution and overruled the defendant’s application, saying “it is premature.”

The court then adjourned the case until November 14 for the commencement of trial.

Court one of the charge read, “That you, Andrew Ogbuja, male and one Victor Ogbuja, your son who is now at large between 2013 and 2015 at your residence in Ugbokolo town, Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court agreed to do illegal acts, to wit: severally rape one Elizabeth Ochanya Ogbanje from the age 7 to 13 years when she was placed under your care and same acts were done pursuant to the said agreement and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 97 of the Penal Code, CAP. 124 Laws of Benue State, 2004.”

Count Four also read, “That you, Andrew Ogbuja, male and one Victor Ogbuja, your son who is now at large between 2013 and 2015 at your residence in Ugbokolo town, Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court intentionally caused the death of one Elizabeth Ochanya Ogbanje, a minor, aged 13 years placed under your care and lived with your family in that between 2013 and 2015 when she was between 7-13 years old, you raped the said Elizabeth Ochanya Ogbanje severally as a result of which she died in October, 2017 of sexual abuse related disease and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 222 of the Penal Code CAP. 124 Laws of Benue State, 2004.”

No Compromise On National Unity, Buhari Tells Benue Traditional Leaders

 

President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday in Abuja declared that he is fully committed to the unity of Nigeria, and will devote all his time and energy to promoting it for the benefit of Nigerians.

Speaking during a visit to the State House by a delegation of Benue State Council of Traditional Rulers led by the Tor Tiv, Prof. James Ayatse, the President called for better appreciation of the historical relationships among various communities in order to sustain the nation’s unity.

Stressing that ties between the Tiv and his own ethnic Fulani stock, which predated him and the current generation, helped in ensuring peaceful and harmonious co-existence among the people, he expressed optimism that such cordial bonds will continue to endure among various groups and serve as a strong unifying force in the country.

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President Buhari decried the misunderstanding of internal conflicts by many people at home and abroad, citing the farmer-herders clashes which in several places had been misconstrued as religious, when in fact they arose from social and cultural factors.

He restated his appeal for better understanding of the nation’s diverse cultures in order to engender a healthier co-existence among the people, while fortifying and strengthening the unity of the country.

Responding to the narration of the Tor Tiv on the plight of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the recent conflicts in the State, the President said he was aware of that, and all that obtains in the Northeast, the Northwest and the South-South.

He noted that it is in realisation of the foregoing and the urgent need to ameliorate the plight of the IDPs that he created the new Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, “so that we have a ministry that coordinates their demands, and we avoid duplication of resources.”

President Buhari expressed delight with the leadership of the Tor Tiv and other traditional rulers in their various communities as well as for their strong support for his administration.

He promised to look into the “long list” of the delegation’s demands, and thanked the royal fathers for showing appreciation for what his administration has done in the State in terms of projects and appointments.

Earlier, the Tor Tiv had described the recent triumph of the President at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal as “God-given victory and mandate to reconstruct, rebuild and unify the country and take it to the Next Level of socio-economic development.”

“We are here to pledge our support and encouragement to your administration and its laudable programmes,” His Royal Majesty added.

Benue Election: Tribunal Upholds Ortom’s Re-Election

File Photo: Governor Samuel Ortom sits at the Benue State Governorship Tribunal in Makurdi on September 11, 2019.

 

The Benue State Governorship Tribunal has upheld the re-election of Governor Samuel Ortom.

The tribunal gave the verdict on Monday after a panel dismissed the petition of the flagbearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Emmanuel Jime, for lacking in merit.

Details later…

Benue Police Exhume Corpses From Kidnap Syndicate’s Mass Grave

 

The police in Benue State have exhumed eleven out of sixteen corpses from a mass grave site in Gbatse within the Ushongo local government area of Benue State.

This discovery was made following the bursting of an eleven man kidnap syndicate who confessed to killing their victims and burying them in shallow graves.

READ ALSO: Modern Slavery: Police Rescue 300 Chained Persons In Kaduna

Leader of the police elite squad of operation Zenda in Benue State, said five of the suspects are still at large.

In the meantime, relations of the victims whose corpses have so far been exhumed, are pleading with the police for justice, narrating how their relations went missing without trace.

Benue Election: Tribunal Reserves Judgement Till Further Notice

Governor Samuel Ortom sits at the Benue State Governorship Tribunal in Makurdi on September 11, 2019.

 

The Benue State governorship election petition tribunal has reserved judgement in a petition filed by Mr Emmanuel Jime and the All Progressive Congress (APC) challenging the victory of Governor Samuel Ortom of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The tribunal will fix a date for judgement to be communicated to both parties involved in the case.

Mr Jime and the APC filed the petition on the grounds that Ortom was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes.

The PDP had asked the tribunal to dismiss Jime’s petition and that of his party for lacking in evidential and material value.

PDP’s Counsel and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Chris Uche moved the motion before the tribunal while adopting their final written addresses by parties before the Justice Henry Oluseyi led panel.

 

 

Benue Pensioners Group Rejects Ortom’s N611m Payment Proposal

Re-Election: Ortom Picks Mark, Suswam As Campaign Council Members
A file photo of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom.

 

 

A group of senior citizens under the umbrella of Concerned Benue Pensioners has rejected the N611 million payment proposal by Governor Samuel Ortom to pay April and May 2019 pension arrears.

The group, a faction of the National Union of Pensioners (NUP), rejected the governor’s proposal on Friday as they occupy the Benue State Government House in Makurdi, the state capital.

The protesters have been occupying the Government House for the third day running, an action they began since Wednesday.

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Governor Ortom, who had been out of the state, arrived to meet with the factional group of pensioners at the Government House.

He explained the challenges the state has in meeting its financial obligations, especially with total arrears of over N51 billion pension and gratuity.

Governor Ortom disclosed that he has directed the payment of April and May 2019 pension arrears, but the pensioners insisted on occupying the Government House gate.

Addressing reporters, Chairman of the group, Mr Peter Kyado, demanded that the pensioners be placed on a first-line charge before payment of salaries to civil servants.

He was responding to Governor Ortom’s proposal to source N40 billion bond to clear the pension arrears which stand at N18 billion, in addition to the two months payment.

In a twist of event, the state chapter of NUP alleged that the leadership of the Concerned Benue Pensioners was being used by opposition parties to cause crisis.

The state chairman of the union, Mr Joseph Ikyume, accused the Kyado-led group of mischief, partisanship and creating confusion within the union.

He insisted that the group had been suspended from the NUP and has lost its case at the National Industrial Court.

Benue Pensioners Protest Over 25 Months Arrears

 

Benue State Pensioners drawn the 23 Local Government Areas of the state have demanded for the payment of their pensions between 12 to 25 months.

The protesters went to the Government House on Wednesday to make their demands known.

The protesting pensioners while speaking with the chairman of the State Contributory Pension Scheme Board, Mr Terna Ahua, insisted that they will make their way to the Government House and occupy the seat of power till the governor yields to their call.

However, efforts by the chairman to convince them to back down from the protest as the governor was yet to return to the state was ignored.

He told them that measures are already taking to address their challenges.

See Photos Below: 

Ishaku, Ortom, Others To Meet Over Tiv-Jukun Crisis

Darius Ishaku                                                                                                                            Samuel Ortom

 

 

The Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku, has scheduled a meeting with critical stakeholders to address the lingering crisis between the Tiv and Jukun ethnic groups.

Governor Ishaku’s media aide, Bala Abu, announced this in a statement on Tuesday.

According to Abu, the meeting which is expected to hold on Wednesday in Abuja will also have in attendance, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State.

He added that many other eminent personalities, including traditional rulers and political leaders from the two states, would attend the meeting.

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Among those expected are federal and state legislators, speakers of the State Houses of Assembly, security chiefs, and representatives of youth groups among others.

The meeting, Ishaku’s aide said, is a follow up to similar efforts by the governors of both states in the recent past.

“This included numerous visits to the affected communities to preach peace and meetings of stakeholders leading to peace accords that were not obeyed,” he said.

Tribunal Upholds Suswam’s Election As Senator

Alleged N3.1bn Fraud: Court Adjourns Suswam's Trial Over Absence Of Lawyer
A file photo of Senator Gabriel Suswam.

 

 

The Election Petitions Tribunal in sitting in Makurdi, Benue State has upheld the victory of Senator Gabriel Suswam in the Benue North-East senatorial district election.

The three-man panel led by Justice A. O. Odugu upheld Senator Suswam’s victory on Tuesday while ruling on the petition filed by Mimi Orubibi, challenging the election of the former governor in the February 23 polls.

It dismissed the petition of the candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) for noncompliance to section 138 of the electoral act, in the formulation of issue one.

The Tribunal also dismissed the petition for the failure of the petitioner to prove allegations of criminality in the electoral process – vote rigging and buying, polling unit by polling unit, in the formulation of issue two.

It, therefore, awarded the cost of N100,000 against the petitioner and upheld the victory of Senator Suswam who contested the election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Meanwhile, counsels to Senator Suswam, Andrew Wombo, and that of Orubibi, Frank Noomor, have reacted to the ruling of the Tribunal.

They disagreed on the interpretation of Section 138 of the Electoral Act and the need to test the outcome of the judgment at the Court of Appeal.

Gunmen Open Fire On Mourners In Benue, Kill Four

Gunmen Shoot Returning Officer While Conveying Result In Benue

 

The Benue Police Command has confirmed the killing of four persons in the early hours of Saturday.

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Mukaddas Garba, said the incident occurred during the burial of one Tor Amaafu, in Tongov district of Katsina-Ala Local Government Area.

Also according to an eyewitness, the gunmen numbering over 10, opened fire on the mourners, killing four persons in the process, while several others sustained injuries.

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Garba says the police has commenced investigation into the matter and he has assured residents that the perpetrators would be brought to book.

He also urged the public to assist the police with relevant information that would lead to the arrest of the culprits.