Doctors, Dentists In Benue To Begin Strike Tuesday Over Unpaid Arrears, Others

A file photo of doctors on duty at a government hospital.

 

Doctors and dentists under the aegis of National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners (NAGGMDP) have threatened an indefinite strike in Benue State.

The group, in a letter addressed to the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, listed six issues its members have raised concerns about, but the state government has yet to resolve them.

It, therefore, directed its members in Benue to commence a total and indefinite industrial action by the end of Monday should the government fail to meet their demands.

This directive was contained in the letter jointly signed by NAGGMDP Chairman in Benue, Dr. Dooga Solomon, as well as the state chapter’s vice chairman and secretary, Dr. John Idikwu and Dr. Agbaji Abraham.

According to them, the union is taking the decision to go on strike following the expiration of the 21 days ultimatum and an extension by two weeks.

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The government, the group claimed, has failed to pay adequate and appropriate attention to the plights of the association.

Some of the demands by the health workers include the revitalisation of the secondary level of the healthcare delivery system in Benue, payment of members’ seven months salaries in arrears, and the payment of their COVID-19 inducement allowances.

They also demanded the issuance of permanent and pensionable letters of appointment to all doctors who have completed their bond and are still working with the Hospitals Management Board (HMB), among others.

 

Read the letter to the governor below:

His Excellency,

The Executive Governor of Benue State,

Benue People’s House,

Makurdi.

 

Through:

 

The Head of Service,

Benue State,

Makurdi.

 

Sir,

 

NOTICE OF TOTAL AND INDEFINITE STRIKE BY MEMBERS OF NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENT GENERAL MEDICAL AND DENTAL PRACTITIONERS (NAGGMDP) BENUE STATE CHAPTER.

Consequent upon the expiration of the twenty-one days (21) and the subsequent two weeks of extension of Ultimatum, respectively given to the Government of Benue State without adequate and appropriate attention to the plights of the Association by the Government on her demands of:

Revitalisation of the Secondary level of health care delivery system in Benue,

Payment of our seven (7) months salaries in arrears,

Payment of our COVID-19 inducement allowances (25% of individual’s basic salary multiplied by three months and payable in one tranche like it was done for all health workers in BSUTH over a year ago),

Issuance of Permanent and Pensionable letters of appointment to all Doctors that have completed their bond and are still working with the Hospitals Management Board (HMB),

Over taxation of doctors working with the HMB, and

Our contributory pension scheme.

Notice is hereby given that Members of NAGGMDP Benue State have in their Congress held on the 5th of December 2021 resolved unanimously to proceed on a total and indefinite strike commencing at 12.00am of 6th December 2021 until their demands and entitlements aforementioned are fully, appropriately, and adequately met.

Accept the assurances of our warmest regards.

Signed:

Dr. Dooga Solomon S.

Chairman, NAGGMDP,

Benue State.

 

Dr. Idikwu, John Idikwu

Vice Chairman, NAGGMDP, Benue State.

 

Dr. Agbaji Abraham U. Secretary, NAGGMDP,

Benue State.

CC:

SSG Benue State,

Hon. Commissioner MOHHS, Benue State,

HoS, Benue State,

ES, HMB, Benue State,

Chairman, NMA, Benue State,

National President, NMA,

National President, NAGGMDP,

HRH. Tor Tiv V,

Gboko, Benue State,

HRH. Ochi’Idoma,

Otukpo, Benue State

HRH. Adirahu Nyi Igede,

Oju, Benue State,

The Bishop, Makurdi Diocese, Makurdi,

The Commissioner of Police, Benue State,

The Director, DSS, Benue State,

Chairman, NLC, Benue State,

The Speaker, BSHA, Makurdi,

The House Committee Chairman on Health, BSHA.

Four Dead As Gunmen Invade Funeral In Benue

A photo showing the map of Benue, a state in North-Central Nigeria.
An image showing the map of Benue, a state in North-Central Nigeria.

 

Gunmen attacked mourners at a funeral ceremony in Imande Abur village, Mbategh council ward of Benue State on Saturday, the police said.

According to a statement signed by police spokesperson Anene Sewuese Catherine, five persons sustained gunshot injuries during the attack and were rushed to the hospital, but four lost their lives while receiving treatment.

“On the 13th November 2021 at about 0300hrs information was received that a group of gunmen numbering three (3) and identified by eyewitnesses to be known persons within Sankara area invaded Imande Abur village, Mbategh council ward and shot sporadically at mourners who were assembled at a funeral ceremony,” the statement said.

READ ALSO: Buratai Calls For Continuous Training Of Special Forces

“Police teams within the area swiftly moved to the area but suspects took to their heels on sighting the police.

“Five persons sustained gunshot injuries and were rushed to hospital for treatment but unfortunately four of them lost their lives while receiving treatment.

“The Command commiserate with families of the victims and assure them that justice will definitely be served as detectives are already on the trail of identified suspects.”

Anambra Polls: Ortom Congratulates Soludo On Guber Victory

The governor-elect of Anambra State, Charles Soludo.

 

Governor Samuel Ortom, on behalf of the government and people of Benue State, has congratulated Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) on his victory at the November 6, 2021, Anambra State governorship election.

Ortom’s felicitation was contained in a statement on Wednesday by Benue’s Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur.

He described Prof. Soludo’s victory as a true reflection of the wishes of the people of Anambra and not the machinations of some individuals or groups outside the state.

Read Also: ‘Let’s Take Anambra To The Moon’: Soludo Hands Olive Branch To Other Contestants

Governor Ortom commended the dogged determination of the Anambra people –  from the beginning of the campaign till the declaration of results  – to overcome “intimidation, coercive threats of force and uphold their wishes and express their franchise by freely electing their choice”.

He also commended security agencies deployed in the state for maintaining law and order, before, during, and after the conduct of the polls with no known cases of violence.

The governor equally congratulated the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and said they also deserve commendation for the credible conduct of the polls “without yielding to external pressure to frustrate the will of the people of Anambra State”.

He said the outcome of the election in Anambra is a pointer that democracy will flourish when all agencies and participants play according to the dictates of the process guiding the democratic principles.

Governor Ortom prayed that God will guide the Anambra State governor-elect to enable him to serve the people faithfully and to actualize his vision for the State.

Benue’s Position On Grazing Reserves Remains Unchanged, Says Ortom

File photo of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom

 

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has said his administration has not embraced cattle colonies or grazing reserves as part of efforts to end the herder/farmer crisis in the state.

The governor in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, accused a presidential aide, Lauretta Onochie, of giving a false narrative on his stand on the implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP).

Ortom said Onochie made it seem like the state supports grazing reserves, because Benue is listed as one of the states that applied for funds from the Federal Government for the purposes of establishing ranches.

This is even as he noted the state government only agreed to key into the NLTP because it was approved by the National Economic Council (NEC).

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According to Ortom, Benue will only implement aspects of the plan that suits its peculiarities.

“Onochie made spurious allegations, painting the picture that Governor Ortom supports RUGA because the State Government was listed as one of the states that applied for funds from the Federal Government for the purposes of establishing ranches,” the statement partly read.

“It is on record that Governor Ortom has rejected all manner of coinage from the Federal Government in a bid to grab land from Benue State.

“When the Federal Government toyed with so many ideas, ranging from Open Grazing, Grazing Reserves, Grazing Routes, Cattle Colony, RUGA and lastly Farm Centres in the 109 Senatorial Districts across the country in a very suspicious manner, Governor Ortom rose up and opposed it. He rejected any of such policies bring imposed  on Benue. He has not shifted from that position.

“The Benue State Government only accepted to key into the National Livestock Transformation Program (NLTP) because the National Economic Council (NEC), which has the 36 state governors as members, approved the National Livestock Transformation Plan which after series of engagement incorporated suggestions by stakeholders from the State.

The NLTP was introduced by the federal government to address the farmer-herder crisis in the country.

As of June, the ministry of agriculture said 22 states and the federal capital territory (FCT) have registered for the project.

Over 100 Security Operatives Killed While Enforcing Benue Anti-Grazing Law – Ortom

One hundred security operatives have so far lost their lives in the course of enforcing the Benue State Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranching Establishment Law of 2017.

Governor Samuel Ortom disclosed on Tuesday in Makurdi, the state capital, while receiving the new Commissioner of Police, Mr Tunji Akingbola.

He further stated that the perceived failure of the Federal Government to come down hard on foreign Fulani herdsmen bearing weapons poses security threats to the lives and safety of security forces and Nigerians in general.

File photo of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom

“Why do we need to allow Fulani from all these countries to come and destroy our land? That is the point we are saying. They have given unnecessary stress and risks to our security agencies in Nigeria.

“I say more than 100 security men have been killed in the course of providing security for lives and properties in Benue State in the course of implementing this our law.”

According to the governor, the affected victims include personnel of the army, police, Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

READ ALSO: Miyetti Allah Asks FG To ‘Stop Governors From Enacting Anti-Open Grazing Laws’

He commended security agencies for putting in their best in safeguarding lives in the state, especially as it regards tackling the killings from herdsmen.

Citing the law, Ortom explained that the Constitution empowers states to enact laws as long as it does not conflict with those existing laws in the country.

The Benue governor also took a swipe at the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) for challenging state governments over the anti-open grazing laws in their respective domains.

“Tell me why Miyetti Allah, a terrorist organisation who has taken responsibility for killings will come to challenge governors that laws shouldn’t have been made.

“We have not committed any evil, we have done the right thing by ensuring we are law-abiding. That was why we legislated and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides that we are free to make laws as a state as long as it does not conflict with the provision of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Ortom stated further.

‘Satanic, Obnoxious Law’

While the 17 governors from the southern region under the umbrella of the Southern Governors Forum announced a ban on open grazing of cattle across states in the region, MACBAN kicked against the move.

The association accused the governors of depriving pastoralists means of livelihood, calling on the Federal Government to stop them from enacting the anti-open grazing law.

MACBAN Secretary-General, Saleh Alhassan who spoke on Monday during a press conference in Abuja, said the law would undermine the relative peace and stability currently enjoyed in the local communities, threaten the social order and exacerbate cattle rustling.

“The National Assembly and Mr President should intervene and stop the current attempts by some state governments to criminalise our means of livelihood of cattle-rearing through enacting of satanic and obnoxious laws they call Anti-Grazing Law,” he noted.

“The Federal Government should create a ministry for livestock and fisheries as obtainable in many African countries. Nigerians should adopt strategies in responding to changes of climate change as it affects livestock production not negative laws.”

Alhassan noted that anti-open grazing laws would destroy livestock production and send millions who depend on the livestock value chain into poverty.

Ortom: Even Though Benue Has Over 1.5 Million IDPs, Attacks Have Continued

 

Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has lamented the spate of attacks in the state, saying that as a result of the insecurity, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) keep increasing.

Addressing journalists in the Ortese area of the state on Tuesday, Ortom said between 2018 and now, IDPs have increased from 500 to over 1.5 million.

“I never envisaged that we will have 500 IDPs and then it will rise to over 1.5 million and we are still counting. As at last week, there were still attacks,” he said.

“These Fulani bandits have continued to kill our people and even those that attempted to go to their villages were killed.”

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom

 

Noting that the state government is constrained financially, the governor lamented that it has become extremely difficult to meet the needs of displaced people in the state.

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He, however, said both the local and state governments provide food items on a weekly basis to the people staying in Ortese camp

According to him, the state government will provide additional relief materials.

As part of efforts to alleviate the suffering of the IDPs, the governor also disclosed that his wife is launching a programme to provide health services to the displaced persons.

Benue Govt Closes Case Against Lecturer Over Death Of Ochanya

A photo showing the map of Benue, a state in North-Central Nigeria.
An image showing the map of Benue, a state in North-Central Nigeria.

 

After calling eight witnesses, the Benue State Government on Wednesday closed its prosecution of a suspended senior lecturer at the Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, Andrew Ogbuja who was alleged to have raped to death 13-year-old girl, Ochanya Ogbanje. 

Mr Ogbuja’s son, Victor, who is now at large, is a second suspect in the case but the police are yet to arrest him or even declare him wanted.

The government had on October 10, 2019, arraigned Mr Ogbuja, a 57-year-old, before a Makurdi High Court on a four-count charge bordering on rape and murder of Miss Ogbanje.

At Wednesday’s proceedings, the Director of Public Prosecution in the State, Peter Ukande, led the eighth witness, a photojournalist in his evidence in chief.

READ ALSO: Court Restrains DSS, AGF From Arresting Sunday Igboho, Blocking His Bank Accounts

Earlier, a video cassette was played before the court, where the late Ochanya said Mr Ogbuja and his fugitive son, Victor, serially raped her until she fell ill and was admitted at the Federal Medical Centre in Makurdi for two months.

“My aunty’s (Felicia Ochiga-Ogbuja) son started sleeping with me, and after that, his father, (Andrew Ogbuja) started sleeping with me too. I Was sick and admitted at the Federal Medical Centre in Makurdi for two months,” Ochanya revealed in the video that was played before the court on Wednesday.

In his testimony, the journalist informed the trial judge, Justice Augustine Ityonyiman, that he interviewed the deceased teenager at the premises in August 2018 when Mr Ogbuja was first arraigned an Upper Area Court in Makurdi.

However, Mr Ogbuja’s lawyer, Abel Onoja, objected to the admissibility of the videocassette.

Mr Onoja argued that he was not properly served with a copy of the video recording, querying the mode of service of the evidence.

But upon an appeal by the trial judge to both lawyers in the suit for an accelerated hearing, the defendant’s counsel withdrew his objection, paving the way for the judge to admit the piece of evidence.

“The video cassette tendered is hereby admitted as Exhibit F,” Justice Ityonyiman said.

Subsequently, the prosecuting lawyer, Mr Ukande closed the state government’s case against Mr Ogbuja.

In his reaction, Mr Ogbuja’s lawyer sought an adjournment to enable his client to prepare for his defence.

Thereafter, Justice Ityonyiman adjourned the case till October 8, 2021, for the defendant to commence his defence.

Ochanya died on October 17, 2018 from alleged complications said to have resulted from her prolonged rape by the father and his fugitive son.

It would be recalled that the prosecution called a total of eight witnesses comprising medical experts, family members of the deceased teenager and police officers who investigated the case.

“We called a total of eight witnesses comprising medical experts, police officers, family members and we tendered medical reports and statements of witnesses before closing our case today,” the DPP told journalists shortly after Wednesday’s proceedings in Makurdi.

Police Kill One Suspected Kidnapper, Arrest Two Others In Benue

A photo showing the map of Benue, a state in North-Central Nigeria.
An image showing the map of Benue, a state in North-Central Nigeria.

 

The police authorities in Benue State have arrested a suspected kidnapper and arrested two others during a gun duel.

Police spokesman, DSP Sewuese Anene said the kidnapper died at the hospital from injuries sustained during the fire exchange, warning that the police will continue to root out all criminal elements.

The suspects were said to have abducted a businessman, Peter Ogbonna from his retail shop in Ugba, Logo Local Government Area of the state on July 29.

However, rescue came for the victim last Thursday after men of Operation Zenda engaged the gunmen in a gun battle before they were subdued and arrested.

“Today 4/8/21, information was received that gunman who kidnapped Mr Peter Ogbonna of Ugba town were in a hideout at Tse Atoov, Alabaar, Logo local government, the operatives swung into action and invaded the hideout,” the statement partly read.

“On sighting the police, suspects engaged them in an exchange of fire, but the police were able to subdue them, three of the suspects were arrested at the scene.

“One of them sustained gunshot injuries, was rushed to hospital where he was confirmed dead and the corpse has been deposited in the morgue, while two of them identified as; Yakyuur Aondona and Teryange Miyina are currently undergoing interrogation.”

See the full statement issued by the police below:

RESCUE OF KIDNAP VICTIMS AND ARREST OF SUSPECTED KIDNAPPERS.

Still on the ongoing operation to clamp down on kidnappers in the state, police operatives from Operation Zenda crack squad extended their work to Logo Local Government Area.

2.Today,  4/8/2021 information was received that gunmen who kidnapped Mr.  Peter Ogbonna of Ugba town were in a hideout at Tse-Atoov,  Alabar, Logo LGA, the operatives quickly swung into action by invading the hideout. On sighting the police, suspects engaged them in an exchange of fire but the police were able to subdue the and three (3) of the suspects were arrested  at the scene. One of them sustained gunshot injuries, was confirmed dead at the hospital and corpse has been deposited at the morgue while two of them identified as Yakyuur Aondona and Teryange Myina were arrested and are currently undergoing interrogation.

  1. The victim was rescued unhurt and has been reunited with his family.
  2. One fabricated barretta pistol with four rounds of live ammunition were recovered from them.

5.Cordon and search  operation is going to arrest fleeing suspects with gunshot wounds meanwhile, members of the public with useful information about the whereabout of these suspects are advised to quickly inform the police for necessary action please.

DSP. ANENE SEWUESE CATHERINE

POLICE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER,

FOR:

COMMISSIONER OF POLICE

BENUE STATE COMMAND

Police Rescue Kidnap Victim In Benue, Reunites Him With His Family

Five Robbery Attacks Foiled, 12 People Rescued In March – Lagos Govt
File Photo of a police van

 

The Police in Benue State have rescued a kidnapped victim and reunited him with his family.

This was contained in a statement by the Police Public Relations Officer of the Benue State Command, DSP Anene Catherine.

It says, “Today, 4/8/2021 information was received that gunmen who kidnapped Mr. Peter Ogbonna of Ugba town were in a hideout at Tse-Atoov, Alabar, Logo LGA, the operatives quickly swung into action by invading the hideout.

“On sighting the police, suspects engaged them in an exchange of fire but the police were able to subdue the, and three of the suspects were arrested at the scene”.

The command’s spokesman explained that one of them who sustained gunshot injuries, was confirmed dead at the hospital and the corpse has been deposited at the morgue while two of them identified as Yakyuur Aondona and Teryange Myina were arrested and are currently undergoing interrogation.

DSP Catherine noted that the victim was rescued unhurt and has been reunited with his family, adding that one fabricated Barretta pistol with four rounds of live ammunition was recovered from them.

According to the spokesman, the search operation has commenced arresting the fleeing suspects, while the members of the public have been asked to provide the police with any useful information.

 

Police Rescue Wife Of Benue Commissioner, Kill Three Kidnappers

The wife of Commissioner for Land and Survey in Benue State, Bernard Unenge.

 

Men of the Police Elite Squad Operation Zenda in Benue State on Monday rescued the wife of the Commissioner for Lands and Survey, Mrs. Ann Unenge.

During the rescue operation, three kidnappers were killed by the police.

Mrs. Unenge was kidnapped on Saturday.

Governor Samuel Ortom who received the rescued victim in the company of her husband, Mr. Bernard Unenge, warned all local collaborators of the kidnap syndicates to desist from the act or face a similar fate like three of the kidnappers who were killed by the police during the rescue operation at Agber village, a suburb of the state capital.

Governor Ortom commended the police for their gallantry and professionalism in the operation without paying any ransom to the kidnappers while urging the team to ensure the arrest of the fleeing members of the gang with a directive to demolish the property used by the kidnappers immediately.

On Saturday Governor Ortom had called on the Federal Government to clamp down on bandits and kidnappers.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Kidnap Benue Commissioner’s Wife, Ortom Reacts

He expressed concerns over the growing cases of kidnapping and other organised crimes across the country, asking the Federal Government to take on them heads-on.

He assured that all hands will be on deck to ensure the release of the victim.

“We are working together with the security agencies. You don’t just review security matters sometimes because you will be exposing the victim,” Governor Ortom said.

“Throughout yesterday night and today, my security adviser is here and we are working with some conventional and unconventional security, they will be released.”

Governor Ortom also expressed optimism that the nation would surmount all her security challenges.

Gunmen Kidnap Benue Commissioner’s Wife, Ortom Reacts

The wife of Commissioner for Land and Survey in Benue State, Bernard Unenge.

 

Gunmen have abducted the wife of a Commissioner for Land and Survey in Benue State, Bernard Unenge.

Briefing journalists on Saturday in Makurdi, Governor Samuel Ortom said Anne Unenge was whisked away on Friday.

He called on the Federal Government to as a matter of justice, clamp down hard on bandits and kidnap syndicates of armed herdsmen just as it has done with separatists leaders – Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho.

The governor also assured that all hands are on the deck to rescue her, as both conventional security and local vigilantes groups have been dispatched to track the abductors.

He expressed concerns over the growing cases of kidnapping and other organised crime across the country, asking the Federal Government to take on them heads-on.

READ ALSO: Police Kill Two Bandits Who Attempted To Attack Town In Imo

“We are working together with the security agencies. You don’t just review security matters sometimes because you will be exposing the victim,” Governor Ortom said.

“Throughout yesterday night and today, my security adviser is here and we are working with some conventional and unconventional security, they will be released.”

Governor Ortom also expressed optimism that the nation would surmount all her security challenges.

Meanwhile, the abductors of the commissioner’s wife have contacted the family to demand ₦50 million.

An aide to the commissioner who disclosed the development said the kidnappers established contact with the family.

 

Suspected Herdsmen Kill Two Aide Workers, Volunteer In Benue

A photo showing the map of Benue, a state in North-Central Nigeria.
An image showing the map of Benue, a state in North-Central Nigeria.

 

Suspected herdsmen have killed two aide workers and a volunteer for 360HSCD, a non governmental organizations working on HIV/AID testing and counseling in Benue state.

The aid workers had been on routine weekend supervision at Tomanyi village in Guma LGA of Benue state.

This is according to local sources who called the telephone lines of the aide workers upon learning of their abduction by suspected herdsmen.

The herdsmen who answered the call, according to the sources, confirmed the killings and insisted that such will continue until Governor Samuel Ortom responds to their demand to repeal the prohibition of open grazing in Benue state.

The state had passed a law banning open grazing in favour of ranching in 2017.

As of Monday morning, Channels Television can confirm that eight corpses have been recovered from Tomanyi village by security forces, accompanied by youths from the area.

However, police spokesperson in Benue, DSP Sewuese Anene, said she was yet unable to confirm the attack.