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.

‘Ban On Open Grazing Has Come To Stay In Benue’: Cultural Groups Back Ortom

A file photo of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom
A file photo of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom

 

The three major socio-cultural organisations of the Tiv, Idoma and Igede ethnic groups in Benue State have backed the law banning open grazing in the state.

Speaking on behalf of the three groups at a press conference held on Saturday, the President of Mzough U-Tiv, Mr Iorbee Ihagh also expressed confidence in Governor Samuel Ortom’s insistence on ranching as an alternative to open grazing.

Governor Ortom signed the bill banning open grazing in Benue into law in 2017 amid constant, violent clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the state.

He has since advocated for ranching as an alternative to open grazing.

However, Fulani cattle rearing groups such as the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore have voiced their dissent against the law.

President Muhammadu Buhari has also recently suggested the reopening of cattle grazing routes.

Mr Ihagh, at the Saturday press conference, said Governor Ortom has the mandate of the people to speak and uphold the law banning open grazing, hence any attack on him, means war on the people of the state.

“An attack on Governor Ortom is an attack on Benue people,” he said. “And I want to tell you, anti-open grazing has come to stay in Benue state. There is nothing nobody can do about it.

“The Miyetti Allah sits in Abuja and says anything, sadly. They are seen with AK-47; but if Agatu man takes knife just to cut grass, he is arrested. I mean, we are in the same country.

“As far as we are concerned, there are not many who would have done what Ortom has done in terms of these herdsmen. A lot of them would have been bought over. There’s no amount of money the herdsmen don’t have. How many people will risk their lives, as he has done? Not many people.”

Buhari Appoints Ex-APC Governorship Candidate As Shippers’ Council Executive Secretary

A file photo of Mr Emmanuel Jime. Source: Facebook.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Emmanuel Jime as the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC).

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.

According to him, the appointment of Jime is for a four-year tenure which is renewable.

“Mr Jime, who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Law, brings his wealth of experience to the new role having distinguished himself in several public offices.

“He was at a time Managing Director at the Nigeria Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA), a two-term member of the House of Representatives representing Makurdi/Guma Federal constituency in Benue State between 2007 and 2015, and Speaker of the State House of Assembly from 1992 to 1993,” said the statement.

Jime was the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue State in the 2019 general elections.

But the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared incumbent Governor Samuel Ortom of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the poll ahead of Jime and other contestants who participated.

Ortom had polled 434,473 votes in the March 23, 2019, election to beat Jime who got 345,155 votes – a margin of 89,318.

His emergence as the winner followed an unsettled election held two weeks earlier in which Ortom scored 410,576 votes ahead of Jime who had 329,022 votes.

But INEC declared it inconclusive because of the gap between the cancelled votes of 121,019 and the winning margin of 81,554 votes and later held a supplementary poll in 204 polling units across 22 Local Government Areas of Benue State.

In another statement, Shehu revealed that President Buhari has approved the constitution of the Board of Federal Housing Authority (FHA) for a period of three years, reappointing Senator Lawal Shuaibu (Zamfara State) as Chairman.

The appointment, according to him, takes into cognisance requisite competence, experience, and network in the housing industry to actualise the present administration’s vision of providing decent and affordable housing for Nigerians.

Other members of the Board are Modestus Umenzekwe (Anambra), Mumini Hanafi (Kwara), Adamu Dadi (Yobe), Adamu Ismaila (Adamawa) Zubairu S.N (Nasarawa), Chinyere Anokwuru (Abia), Yinka Ogunsulire (Ondo), Veronica Shinnaan (Plateau), Aleruchi Cookey-Gam (Rivers), and Olajumoke Akinwunmi (Ogun).

Insecurity: Address The Nation Now, ‘Concerned Benue Mothers’ Tell Buhari

 

A group of women known as Concerned Benue Mothers (CBM) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently address the nation and caution Fulani herdsmen to stop the killings.

The Benue Mothers who were drawn from the three Senatorial Districts of the state made the call on Monday while addressing journalists in Makurdi, the state capital.

While calling on President Buhari to cancel the planned imposition of grazing reserves on Nigerians, the group led by a former federal lawmaker, Rebecca Apedzan, called for a National Ranching Policy.

“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently address the nation and caution Fulani herdsmen to stop the killings. We know that if he makes the address directly to Fulanis and means every word of what he says, they will listen to him,” they said.

The group holds a press conference in Benue State on May 31, 2021, calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently address the killings across the country.

 

“The President should, as a matter of urgency, announce the cancellation of his plan to impose grazing reserves on Nigerians and instead evolve a National Ranching Policy.

“The Federal Government should also throw its weight behind Southern Governors’ Asaba declaration against open grazing.

“President Buhari should motivate security agencies and direct them to be professional and neutral in the discharge of their duties.”

See the full statement issued by the group below:

PRESIDENT BUHARI IS FOR SOMEBODY AND NOT FOR EVERYBODY

Being the text of press conference by Concerned Benue Mothers on Monday, May 31, 2021.

Protocol

Ladies and gentlemen of the press

We the Concerned Benue Mothers are here with very heavy hearts to address you on issues bothering us as a people, Benue State and Nigeria as a nation. As mothers of this state and the nation, we owe our children the duty to voice our feelings when we see things going wrong and those who should speak have chosen the path of silence.

We owe this country the duty to call its leaders to order and counsel them when it has become apparent that the leaders we elected are not doing what is right. We have no other country than Nigeria.

You are much aware of the worsening security situation in the country being perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen who have killed thousands of Benue people and in other states. You are equally aware of the attitude of the Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari who is not bothered to see women and children being killed daily by Fulani herdsmen. We are left with no other option than to conclude as many others have said, that the President is happy to watch his kinsmen turn Benue and other parts of the country into killing fields.

A few days ago, we woke up to the news that President Buhari has vowed to create grazing routes and establish grazing reserves in the 36 states of the country next month whether anyone likes it or not. His Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu was the one who announced the President’s decision. We are wondering if this is the same democracy that we all fought and got in 1999 leading to the emergence of Muhammadu Buhari as elected President in 2015. Has Mr President forgotten that this country is now being run by the Constitution and not decrees? What about the Land Use Act which vets all lands in State Governors? Has the Act been repealed? From where is President Buhari deriving his authority that he feels he can impose draconian and dictatorial policies on Nigerians and expect us to applaud him?

The other time, the Buhari Presidency introduced Cattle Colonies, it took the courage of patriotic Nigerians like Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom to rise and reject the conquest agenda. The President later dusted the programme and renamed it as Ruga, but again, our eagle-eyed Governor and other patriots saw through the veil and kicked against Ruga. The President reluctantly canceled the Ruga programme.

Today, the entire country is speaking with one voice in opposition to open grazing of cattle while embracing ranching which Benue has been leading the campaign since 2016. All Governors of Northern and Southern Nigeria have taken a unified stand to ban open grazing. Shockingly, President Buhari has come out to mock the Governors and is threatening to impose grazing reserves on the people of this country. The words of his Media Adviser, Femi Adesina last year that people should choose between holding unto their lands and death are still fresh in our minds.

 

This is unacceptable! Nigeria is not practicing despotism. Ours is a country structured on the principles of federalism and democracy. We did not vote a tyrant as President. We believed that we voted a man with the right experience and discipline who would will be for all of us and defend us not just his ethnic group. What crime did we commit by going out in large numbers under the Sun to vote for President Buhari that he has now chosen to reward our love with hatred and our ballots with bullets?

From all indications, President Muhammadu Buhari is for somebody and not for everybody, contrary to his words on May 29, 2015 when he took the oath of office.

We want Mr President to remember that our children and grand children also deserve a decent future; a future they will no longer be afraid to go to bed with the thought of being slaughtered by rampaging herders. The humanity and conscience in President Buhari should make him to think about the thousands of children whose parents were killed by herdsmen and are now in internally displaced persons camps for four years as orphans! Don’t such children deserve to live in a country they call their own? What about the hundreds of widows whose husbands were slaughtered by herders and thrown to the birds to feed? Don’t they deserve to return to their lonely homes to start life in the dehumanizing way?

At the last count, Benue had over one million displaced people!

We Concerned Benue Mothers Say No to Grazing Reserves and any similar policy that seeks to enslave our people and hand our lands to killer Fulani herdsmen!

We have also observed a disturbing trend where Fulani militia attack our people but the Federal Government comes out swiftly to absolve them of any blame. A recent example was when Governor Ortom was attacked on his farm by those who say that he is standing in their way to conquering Benue and other parts of Nigeria. The terror group known as Fulani Nationality Movement, FUNAM came out to claim responsibility of the attempt on the Governor’s life. Yet, the Nigerian Police Force exonerated the group. The police high command deployed an investigation team to Benue which confirmed the identities of the culprits as armed Fulani herdsmen. The police made arrests and took the suspects to Abuja only for the Inspector General of Police to go to Aso Villa a few days after and declare that those who wanted to kill Governor Ortom were not Fulani people! What a shame! This is condemnable. Is the Nigerian Police now a Fulani Police Force and no longer for the protection of all Nigerians?

OUR DEMANDS

 

We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently address the nation and caution Fulani herdsmen to stop the killings. We know that if he makes the address directly to Fulanis and means every word of what he says, they will listen to him.

The President should, as a matter of urgency, announce the cancellation of his plan to impose grazing reserves on Nigerians and instead evolve a National Ranching Policy.

The Federal Government should also throw its weight behind Southern Governors’ Asaba declaration against open grazing.

President Buhari should motivate security agencies and direct them to be professional and neutral in the discharge of their duties.

We also expect Mr President to call his appointees to order to stop assaulting the sensibilities of Nigerians. What the Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami said comparing the ban on open grazing with spare parts business was insensitive, condemnable and akin to fanning embers of crisis. The other aide of the President called Garba Shehu denigrates anyone who holds an opinion contrary to that of the Presidency. This is gross negation of the tenets of democracy. In democracies where government is of the people and for the people, leaders of such countries listen to constructive criticism in order to improve.

We call on the international community and lovers of peace across the world to show interest in what is happening in Nigeria, particularly in the Middle Belt region where killings of innocent people by herders have become a common sight.

Benue for instance, is the food basket of Nigeria and for many years, farmers have been displaced from their ancestral lands. The ugly scenario has resulted to food crises and is set to take a more dangerous dimension if not stopped now.

We expect the Federal Government to fulfill its promise to assist the Benue State Government in resettling the displaced people back to their homes. The longer the IDPs stay in the camps, the worse their plight will get.

We also want to urge our sons and daughters who are still sitting on the fence to wake up and speak against the evil being perpetrated in our land. This matter is not only about Governor Samuel Ortom. Benue sons home and abroad who think that they are not affected by the crisis must know that we are all casualties whether we are at home or not. They should raise their voices to condemn the injustice being visited on us. This is no time for politicking. They should send relief materials to those in IDP camps and also solicit the support of international donor organizations to come to the aid of our people.

Finally, we wish to call on Nigerians who love justice, peace and equity, to rise and condemn what is happening to the innocent people of Benue State. The killer herdsmen are still here with us. They have resorted to guerrilla warfare. They now attack our people in their sleep and leave their familiar trademark of death.

Enough is enough!

Thank you all and God bless Nigeria.

Signed:

 

 

 

 

 

Suspected Herdsmen Attack Benue Community, Kill Nine

 

Nine persons have been killed by suspected herdsmen, including the kindred head of Tse Ancha, Agan council ward, Makurdi Local Government Area on Saturday morning, just a few meters from the host community of Abangana IDP camp where seven people were killed about three weeks ago.

Although the police authorities are yet to issue an official statement on the killing, the Police Public Relations Officer for the Benue State Command,  Sewuese Anene, confirmed the attack via a text message.

Tse Ancha is a community located along the  Makurdi- Lafia federal highway and is less than a kilometer from Abagena Internally Displaced Person (IDPs) Camp, where suspected herdsmen attacked and killed seven persons, mostly inmates of the camp and members of the host community.

According to a resident of Tse Ancher and a journalist attached to the Benue state government house who does not want his name mentioned confirmed the attack to Channels Television.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Kidnap Varsity Official, Student, Two Others In Ogun

He said, “The attackers started their operation at Tse Ancha and almost penetrated down to my school before some Youths with local weapons like machete and arrows stopped them but they killed one person within the village at my school, in addition to the eight persons so far discovered at Tse Acha including the Kindred head Chief Uzua.”

The attack happened about 3 to 4 am on Saturday when the villagers were fast asleep.

The Chairman of Makurdi Local Government Council, Mister Anthony Dyegeh visited the scene of the incident and directed that the corpses and those injured be taken to the hospital.

While condemning the attacks on innocent people, Dyegeh called on various security agencies to stand up to their responsibility of securing the lives and properties of the citizens of the state.

Also, the Special Adviser to the Governor of Benue State on Security matters, Colonel Paul Hembah who accompanied the Chairman to the scene, called the people to stop relying on Federal security alone but stand up to defend themselves and their Lands.

He extended Governor Samuel Ortom’s condolences to the people and pray for peace to return in the state.

Also found at the scene of the attack at the break of dawn, was an ATM card bearing Audullayi Sabo and empty shells of bullets.

Police Arrest Eight Suspected Kidnappers, Recover Bodies Of Four Victims

Police-Policeeeee
A file photo of a police patrol van.

 

Police operatives in Benue State have arrested eight suspected kidnappers and recovered the bodies of four victims.

Anene Catherine, the Police Public Relations Officer, confirmed the arrest of the suspects in a statement on Thursday.

She explained that the suspects were part of a 10-man gang of kidnappers who escaped from the Sankara area of the state.

According to the command’s spokesperson, police detectives trailed the fleeing persons and arrested eight of them in Osun State, and brought them back to Benue for further investigation.

She noted that the suspects, on Monday, opted to lead police detectives to Tavachan forest in Mbamon in Kastina-Ala Local Government Area of Benue where they buried their slain victims.

Upon arriving at the scene, Catherine disclosed that a deep well and a shallow grave were found in the forest with decomposed bodies of the suspects’ victims.

“Suspects confessed that some of the victims died due to inability to survive the trauma of being held hostage while others were killed for not paying the required ransom.

“Two of the suspects also confessed to have killed their wives for making attempt to expose their nefarious acts. Four corpses were exhumed for autopsy while an investigation into the case is ongoing to enable the arrest of suspects at large and unravel more facts about the case,” said the command’s spokesperson.

She noted that the police have continued to gain victory over banditry in the state, particularly the Sankara axis.

Within the last two weeks, Catherine stated that operatives deployed in Sankara dislodged bandits’ camps and recovered arms and ammunition.

She added that the suspects have been arrested and charged to court while normalcy has been restored in various markets within the area.

Insecurity: Benue Seeks To Recruit Community Volunteer Guards

File photo of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom

 

As part of measures to tackle the security challenges in Benue, stakeholders in the state have sought the recruitment of Community Volunteer Guards.

The demand followed a meeting of the stakeholders held on Thursday in Makurdi, the state capital with Governor Samuel Ortom in attendance.

According to a communique issued at the end of the meeting, stakeholders commended the efforts of security agencies in tackling the security threats in the state.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Abduct Abia State University Students

“The meeting considers the fact that in the face of banditry, kidnapping, herdsmen attacks and other crimes the Security Agencies have done well,” the communique partly read.

“The meeting, however, resolved that the renewed attacks on the people by armed herdsmen have overstretched Security Agencies in the State.

“Therefore, the Benue State Government should fully enforce the “Law to Provide for the Establishment of Community Volunteer Guards (Vigilante) and for the Purposes Connected Therewith” which was enacted in the year 2000.”

Benue stakeholders also passed a vote of confidence on Governor Samuel Ortom for his administration’s efforts in nipping in the bud the menace of insecurity.

Read the communique issued after the Benue Stakeholders’ Meeting today in Makurdi:

STAKEHOLDERS MEETING OF BENUE STATE HELD ON 6TH MAY, 2021 AT THE NEW BANQUET HALL, BENUE PEOPLE’S HOUSE, MAKURDI

RESOLUTIONS

  1. The Benue State Stakeholders Meeting appreciates Security Agencies for their efforts in ensuring relative peace in parts of the State. The meeting considers the fact that in the face of banditry, kidnapping, herdsmen attacks and other crimes the Security Agencies have done well.
  2. The meeting, however, resolved that the renewed attacks on the people by armed herdsmen have overstretched Security Agencies in the State.
  3. Therefore, the Benue State Government should fully enforce the “Law to Provide for the Establishment of Community Volunteer Guards (Vigilante) and for the Purposes Connected Therewith” which was enacted in the year 2000.
  4. The State Government has been mandated to support the Vigilante with logistics as provided in the Law.
  5. Recruitment of the Vigilante should be carried out in the 23 Local Government Areas of Benue State.
  6. The meeting reinforced the commitment of Benue people to the enforcement of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law, 2017.
  7. The meeting emphasized the need for all stakeholders to join hands in tackling insecurity in Benue State devoid of political, religious and ethnic sentiments.
  8. The meeting unanimously passed a vote of confidence on the Governor for his efforts in providing security in the State. The motion for the vote of confidence was moved by leaders of the three main Socio-Cultural Organizations in Benue State; Mzough-U-Tiv, Ochetoha, K’Idoma and Omini ‘Igede.

 

Samuel Ortom

Executive Governor Chairman

 

Prof. Anthony Ijohor SAN, FCArb

Secretary to the State Government

Secretary.

‘No Winners In Cycle Of Violence’: Buhari Condemns Killings In Benue, Anambra

President Muhammadu Buhari speaks during the registration and revalidation exercise of the All Progressives Congress on January 30, 2021.
FILE: President Muhammadu Buhari speaks during the registration and revalidation exercise of the All Progressives Congress on January 30, 2021.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday called for an end to what he described as “the cycle of violence” in Benue and Anambra states.

In a statement signed by spokesman Garba Shehu, the President said the inclination for people to take law into their hands “in the name of revenge” will lead to “no winners . . . only losers.”

At least 11 people were killed in Gwer West Local Government of Benue State on Monday which apparently led to reprisals on innocent people by mobs that blocked roads to unleash terror and violence, according to the statement.

READ ALSO: Nigerians Will Feel Safe Under Buhari’s Government – Tinubu

The statement also said there had been the killing of innocent people in Anambra State by mobs.

“I totally condemn this latest unprovoked violence and counter-attacks on innocent people that had nothing to do with the cause of the violence,” the President was quoted as saying.

“Violence on innocent people by anybody and any group is unacceptable and indefensible.

“Hate and bigotry have eaten so deeply and violates the sanctity of life. If we allow this culture of violence to go unchecked, such mobs would destroy law and order.”

The President urged leaders of ethnic and religious groups “to play their own roles constructively in controlling their followers or members, in order to support the government’s efforts for sustainable peace.”

He cautioned Nigerians against the “temptations of taking the law into their hands in the name of revenge because there are no winners in the cycle of violence, only losers.”

The statement added that the “President sends his commiserations to the families of the bereaved and the governments and people of Benue and Anambra States.

“He also commends the police and other law enforcement agencies for their prompt response in averting the escalation of the violence, urging them to put in every effort to apprehend perpetrators of the heinous attacks.”

PDP Lawmakers Lament Worsening Insecurity

Meanwhile, the People’s Democratic Party Caucus in the National Assembly has expressed strong concerns over what it describes as the ineptitude and the inability of the APC-led government to arrest the drift to anarchy in the country.

Briefing journalists on Tuesday after a joint caucus meeting, Senate Minority leader, Enyinaya Abaribe, said from 2015 to date, rather than resolving the security situation in the country, the APC-led federal government has rather broadened the security challenges.

The caucus suggested that immediate steps should be taken by governments at all levels to set up proper security infrastructure whether in the mode of state police and other constitutional reforms to arrest the worsening insecurity.

A file photo of Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe.
A file photo of Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe.

Senator Abaribe further said that the caucus has taken note and will continue to take note of the constitutional breaches happening at this time by the government of the APC and will at the appropriate time utilize all constitutional methods and measures available after consultations with its colleagues to do the needful to safe the country from collapse.

The caucus also said it was opposed to the continued superintendent of the NIN registration by someone whom the country has lost confidence in.

It went on to suggest that the federal government should summon the courage to do the needful.

When people lose confidence in a member of the government, the caucus said, that person should either quit or be fired.

National Security: Buhari Disappointed, Sad To Hear Ortom’s Accusations – Presidency

Photo combination of President Muhammadu Buhari and Benue Governor, Samuel Ortom.

 

The presidency has reacted to accusations levelled against President Muhammadu Buhari by the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom over the insecurity in the country.

Ortom had on Tuesday accused President Buhari of working for the Fulani ethnic stock to take over Nigeria in a reaction to the recent killing of residents allegedly perpetrated by herdsmen.

But the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, condemned Governor Ortom for blaming President Buhari for the deaths.

READ ALSO: Insurgency: We Are Committed To Destroying Boko Haram Terrorists – COAS

In a statement titled ‘Governor Ortom Only Sees The Problems Of Others, He Doesn’t See His Own,’ on Thursday Shehu said the President was saddened by the killings in the country as well as the governor’s accusations.

He said, “The President expresses his condolences to the families of our dear citizens who lost their loved ones in the recent spate of killings in Benue State.

“Furthermore, he states that the rising levels of incidents, especially the killings and violence in various parts of the country call for further collaboration with security agencies to curb its recurrence.

“He also states his disappointment and sadness to hear Samuel Ortom, the Governor of Benue State make a litany of accusations against his person and his government following the recent unfortunate incidents in the state.”

‘Deeply pained’

President Buhari and his administration has come under heavy criticism over the violence and killings in several parts of the country. While many critics have accused him of failing to act to secure the nation, Mr Shehu suggested that the government was working to secure the nation.

“No responsible government takes pleasure in such events as the killing of the military and that of innocent citizens taking refuge in an Internally Displaced People’s camp,” he said.

“President Buhari is deeply pained by the terrible acts of violence happening not only in Benue State but also in other parts of the country and expects that the law enforcement agencies will go to every possible extent to catch the perpetrators of these heinous acts and bring them to justice.”

On April 27, after some internally displaced persons were killed in an IDP camp in Benue, Governor Ortom said: “What is happening now, to me, is very clear; Mr President is just working for these Fulanis to take over the whole country.”

“His body language is what is being played out. The body language, the action and inaction of Mr. President shows that he is only the President of Fulani people; I have known this.”

He also lamented that no fewer than 70 people have been killed in the last two weeks in three local governments in the Benue State.

See Garba Shehu’s full statement below:

GOVERNOR ORTOM ONLY SEES THE PROBLEMS OF OTHERS,  HE DOESN’T SEE HIS OWN

The President expresses his condolences to the families of our dear citizens who lost their loved ones in the recent spate of killings in Benue State.

Furthermore, he states that the rising levels of incidents, especially the killings and violence in various parts of the country call for further collaboration with security agencies to curb its recurrence.

He also states his disappointment and sadness to hear Samuel Ortom, the Governor of Benue State make a litany of accusations against his person and his government following the recent unfortunate incidents in the state.

No responsible government takes pleasure in such events as the killing of the military and that of innocent citizens taking refuge in an Internally Displaced People’s camp. President Buhari is deeply pained by the terrible acts of violence happening not only in Benue State but also in other parts of the country and expects that the law enforcement agencies will go to every possible extent to catch the perpetrators of these heinous acts and bring them to justice.

The lives of fellow citizens should not be desecrated by deploying them in political diatribe which unfortunately appeared to be the intent of the string of emotional attacks and blame laid at the doors of the President for those killings by Governor Ortom. President Buhari took an oath to defend the life and property of every citizen, a duty he takes seriously and is committed to ensuring.

Those citizens regardless of their affiliations, who either incite, sponsor or are proven to be abettors of these atrocities will face the law squarely and be answerable for their crimes against our fellow citizens and nation.

President Buhari continuously stresses that the strength of our country lies in our diversity in faith, culture, and traditions and attempts to sharpen the divide between northern and southern Nigeria, between Muslims and Christians, and between communities that have coexisted for centuries should be frowned upon and resisted. As Nigerians, we accuse colonial rulers of the policy of divide and rule. Today, it is our own leaders who put region against region, religion against religion, ethnic group against ethnic group and community against community.

The future of Benue State and indeed that of the entire country lies in harmony and respect for the law, order, and the constitution. It is the only way to achieve progress and development.

While the President will continue to keep security, police and the armed forces on their toes to be on top of their act in troubled parts of the country, the situation in the states will greatly be helped by everyone working together because that is the foundation on which progress and prosperity can be achieved.

Benue under the Ortom administration ought to cooperate with the Federal Government in the implementation of a number of national strategies programs in addressing underlying issues militating against peace, progress and development. This can still get done when the interest of the people is placed above all other interests. A government voted into office by the people, should treat the people as its masters and not as its servants.

Garba Shehu

Senior Special Assistant to the President

(Media & Publicity)

April 29, 2021

 

Two Abducted Benue Varsity Students Regain Freedom

A photo showing an entrance into the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi.
A photo showing an entrance into the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi.

 

The two students of the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi abducted by gunmen have secured their freedom.

Their release comes four days after gunmen stormed the school after its convocation and kidnapped three students.

Confirming the incident via a text message on Wednesday, Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Sewuese Anene, said the students were rescued unhurt.

“The kidnapped students of the University of Makurdi have been released unhurt. Investigation into the case continues please,” he said.

When asked if ransom was paid to facilitate their release, the police spokesman replied saying: “No ransom was paid please.”

There were some reports that the kidnappers contacted one of the parents of the students and demanded N20 million ransom.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Abduct Benue University Students

Efforts to reach the institution’s Director of Information, Protocol and Public Relations, Rosemary Waku, proved abortive as her line didn’t reach.

This comes barely a week after about 20 students were abducted from Greenfield University in Kaduna State.

Three of the Greenfield University students were found dead on Friday.

Speaking to journalists, in Markurdi, police spokesperson Anene Sewuese said the gunmen struck at about 10:20 pm and kidnapped three of the students studying close to a lecture theatre.

“We have received that information, we are on it and I know that we are very close,” she said.

“My advice is that the members of the public remain calm. We are doing our best to make sure that we get to the root of this and apprehend perpetrators of this crime.

Three Students Were Abducted From Benue University – Police

 

The police in Benue confirmed on Monday that three students were abducted from the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi by gunmen.

The University had earlier confirmed the abductions in a statement.

Speaking to journalists, in Markurdi, police spokesperson Anene Sewuese, said the gunmen struck at about 10:20 pm and kidnapped three of the students studying close to a lecture theatre.

“We have received that information, we are on it and I know that we are very close,” she said.

“My advice is that the members of the public remain calm. We are doing our best to make sure that we get to the root of this and apprehend perpetrators of this crime.

“I assure the parents of these students that the police will do our best to get their children.”

The PRO who called on the parents to cooperate with the police, declined to comment on whether the gunmen had made contact with the school authorities or parents of the students to demand a ransom.

“That’s an information that is classified,” she said, adding that the police does not have to wait for contact to be established before taking action.

“As soon as we received that information, we deployed our teams. We are working both technically and physically; the school is aware we are working. So, we will continue to do our best.”

On the identities of the kidnapped students, she said, “the school is in a better place to disclose the identity of the students that were kidnapped. For now, they told us three students were kidnapped.”