Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has no plans to leave the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and return to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Terver Akase, made the position of his principal known in a statement on Thursday.
Akase issued the statement in reaction to claims that the governor planned to return to the APC which he left in 2018.
“We have read some mischievous statements by members of the opposition in Benue State insinuating that Governor Samuel Ortom plans to rejoin the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“Those involved in the impish allegation are clearly doing so to soothe their stuck-up apprehensions. Why will Governor Ortom return to APC? To do what?” the governor’s aide questioned.
He added, “It is true that the governor was contacted by some notable persons to defect from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but he declined the invitation.”
Akase noted that following his exit from the APC, Governor Ortom became the leader of PDP in the north-central region of the country.
According to him, he is enjoying a robust relationship with other leaders of the party in Benue and the entire region.
Governor Ortom’s aide stressed that it was ridiculous for anyone to insinuate that the governor has the intention to leave the PDP.
“We advise young men who have been peddling the hang-about rumour to take advantage of the numerous entrepreneurial opportunities the Ortom administration has created through its collaboration with the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture, and other financial institutions to engage in rewarding ventures and shun falsehood,” he said.
This comes against the backdrop of the defection of Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, from the PDP to the APC.
Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, stated that his Ebonyi State counterpart was one of the governors he said the APC was expecting to welcome into its fold.
He insisted that Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and eight other PDP governors would also move to the APC.
A victim of police brutality, Terfa Gundu, has narrated his ordeal with the personnel of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Benue State.
Speaking before the Benue State Judicial Panel of Inquiry, 34-year-old Gundu alleged that policemen from Mopol 13 Makurdi poured fuel for a crime he knew nothing about.
While disclosing this in Makurdi on Monday, the victim said the police personnel hung him on a rod, beat and poured fuel on his back before setting him ablaze all in a bid to forcefully implicate him.
The victim said his ordeal began when he stepped out to buy some provisions in Makurdi, adding that he was arrested and dragged to Mopol 13 for a torture session, as he now claiming N5billion as damages.
“They arrested me and took me to MOPOL 13. They took me to one small room and asked me to provide the items that I have stolen,” he said.
“I told them I don’t know what they are talking about. So they handcuffed me and asked me to squat down and put a rod across. They packed me up and were using a baton to beat me on sensitive parts of my body.
“After some time, they poured fuel at my back and used lighter to ignite the light. When it became too painful for me, I told them to drop me that I am the one that carried those things. They now asked me where I kept those things; I replied that they were at my house.”
On his part, the Chairman of the panel, Justice Adam Onum said 28 petitions have been received by the panel.
He called on those with ideas on how to improve and reform the Nigerian police to submit their memoranda.
While warning that petitions from kidnappers and terrorist against the police will not be entertained, Justice Onum assured the people of the state to dispense justice to all those with legitimate claims.
The Benue State Government on Tuesday said 17 people have died from a strange illness in the Okpeilo-Otukpa area in the Ogbadibo Local Government Area of the state.
This was disclosed in a statement issued by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Andrew Amee, on behalf of the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Emmanuel Ikwulono.
“At the time of the receipt of the report yesterday, 9th November 2020, about 17 persons were already said to have died of the illness,” the statement partly read.
“We currently have one case which was brought to Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi by a relative of the patient. Others are receiving treatment in different hospitals.”
According to the statement, symptoms of the illness usually include fever, abdominal pain, and general body weakness, while some stool and vomit with tinges of blood.
The Commissioner said the state government was aware of the outbreak and had responded swiftly to facilitate an investigation to establish the cause of the illness.
SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:
BENUE STATE MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES STATEMENT ON THE OUTBREAK OF STRANGE ILLNESS IN OGBADIBO
We have received a report of an unknown illness in a community called Okpeilo-Otukpa in Ogbadibo Local Government Area of Benue State.
At the time of the receipt of the report yesterday, 9th November 2020, about 17 persons were already said to have died of the illness.
We currently have one case which was brought to Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi by a relative of the patient. Others are receiving treatment in different hospitals.
Symptoms of the illness usually include fever, abdominal pain, and general body weakness, while some stool and vomit with tinges of blood.
The State Government is aware of the outbreak and has responded swiftly to facilitate investigation to establish the cause of the illness. His Excellency, Governor Samuel Ortom has approved funds to enable the State Ministry of Health and Human Services to carry out the investigation.
In the meantime, we advise the people of Ogbadibo and its environs to maintain good hygiene practices and report anyone with the said symptoms to the Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers in the local government area, or call the Benue Emergency Operations Centre on the following toll-free telephone numbers:
A former Governor of Benue State and serving Senator, Gabriel Suswam has been re-arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja over alleged N3.1 billion fraud.
Suswam was on Monday re-arraigned alongside a former Commissioner for Finance in Benue State, Omadachi Oklobia on an amended 11-count charge filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
EFCC amended the earlier nine-count charge on which the defendants were first arraigned in 2015, raising the counts to 11.
They were accused, among others, of diverting about N3.1 billion, which the EFCC claimed formed part of the proceeds of the sale of Benue State’s shares in some companies.
Due to their initial arraignment, the trial commenced, with the prosecution calling four witnesses until the judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed recused himself on the grounds that an online medium, Sahara Reporters, alleged that he had been compromised.
The case was later re-assigned to another judge, Justice Okon Abang, before whom the case started afresh and progressed, with the prosecution calling three witnesses until proceedings were halted on account of an order of the Court of Appeal, directing that the case be returned to Justice Mohammed for continuation.
The Court of Appeal had, in a judgment delivered on the February 19, upheld Suswam’s appeal and faulted the manner Justice Mohammad recused himself from the case.
Justice Mohammed adjourned the trial to December 15.
#EndSARS protesters have shut down activities at the Benue State Government House, calling for an end to police brutality, bad governance, unemployment, insecurity, among other demands.
The Leader of the protesters, Mr. Peter Msughter, while speaking to the State Governor Samuel Ortom, on behalf of the youths said he is concerned about Nigeria’s future which has led to the outcry of the youths for their safety.
The governor in his response commended the peaceful conduct of the protest.
He admitted that Nigeria as a nation needs restructuring and the Federal Government should address the grievances listed by the youths.
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has asked the military to release about 40 other militias said to be in custody.
Briefing journalists after a five-hour security meeting at the Government House Makurdi on Friday, Governor Ortom also called for the release of some official vehicles purportedly confiscated by the military authorities.
The governor explained that the call for the release of the repentant militias is necessary to enable them to embrace the amnesty programme of the state government.
“It is the resolve of this meeting, the expanded State Security Council meeting, that the repentant youths who were arrested by the military should be released so that they will continue from where they were coming to receive their amnesty and they were arrested.
“Also items that were confiscated, we are also appealing to the military to return them. Some of those vehicles were hired, some are official vehicles to our government officials. Some other things are documents. We appeal that all these be returned to us,” he said.
A Makurdi Chief Magistrate Court presided over by Mr Isaac Ajim on Friday remanded the lawmaker representing Katsina-Ala East state constituency in the Benue State House of Assembly, Honourable Jonathan Agbidye in prison custody for alleged criminal conspiracy, armed robbery and kidnapping.
Agbidye of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was remanded with one Denen Zuamo of Katsina-Ala town for the alleged offence.
Earlier, the police prosecutor, Fidelis Ogbobe told the court that on May 22, 2018, a Toyota Hilux van with registration number SWA-215-FM and other valuables belonging to Apin Public Health Initiatives was snatched at gunpoint along Katsina-Ala -Tordonga road in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of the state to an unknown destination.
He said that during police investigation, the duo was arrested with the said vehicle was re-registered as MKD-992-AD in Makurdi.
The prosecutor said a further investigation by the police revealed that Hon. Agbidye, Zuamo and others now at large conspired and belonged to a gang of armed robbers and terrorists headed by the notorious and wanted kingpin, Terwase Akwaza alias ‘Ghana’ who snatched, robbed and abducted the staff of Apin Public Health Initiatives.
He said the accused persons committed an offence contrary to Section 1(2) A and B and section 6(b) of the Robbery and Fire Arms (Special Provisions) Act, 2004, and Hostage, Kidnapping, Secret Cult and Similar Activities Law of Benue State, 2017.
Mrs Ortom also called on the people take preventive measures to be protected and be safe by observing the primary protocols which include the wearing of face masks, regular washing of hands with soap and running water and maintaining social distance.
SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:
PRESS STATEMENT FROM HER EXCELLENCY MRS EUNICE ORTOM PhD, FIRST LADY OF BENUE STATE.
On the 3rd of July 2020, results from samples earlier collected during routine testings at Government House, Makurdi showed that I, my son and some of my staff-tested Positive to COVID-19. We went into isolation and began management treatment as advised by medical experts.
It is with gratitude to God that I wish to inform you that after series of review evaluations, today 28/7/2020, we have been confirmed to be fully recovered, certified to be COVID-19 NEGATIVE and so discharged from isolation.
I want to extend my appreciation to my husband the Executive Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, my family, the medical experts who are at the frontline in the fight against this pandemic. To everyone who stood by me during this period through prayers, calls, messages and checked on me in one way or the other, the show of love, concern and support was totally overwhelming and unquantified. May God in His mercies raise people to stand by you when there is a need.
I urge you all to extend the prayers, love and support you showed to me to others who are affected and to humanity in general while hoping that God will provide for us a solution to this pandemic soon.
I wish to reiterate that been COVID-19 positive is not a death sentence as evident by my recovery and that of many others recorded thus far so there is no need to panic, but we should continue to be responsible in our actions so as to keep others safe.
I am encouraging people to take preventive measures to be protected and be safe by observing the primary protocols which are
* Wearing of face masks
*Constant washing of hands with soap and running water
Troops of the Operation Whirl Stroke have rescued 32 kidnapped persons in Benue State, some of which have been held in captivity for over a month.
The troops also killed the gang leader of a kidnap ring, Zwa Ikyegh, and arrested others in its renewed fight against kidnapping in the country.
This was confirmed in a statement issued on Friday by the Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche.
According to the defence spokesman, the development follows credible intelligence on the activities of a notorious kidnap syndicate operating in the general area of Igbom village in Nenzev council ward of Logo Local Government Area of the state.
“Troops had contact with the bandits leading to exchange of fire as troops closed in on the hideout. The gallant troops responded with superior fire forcing the armed bandits to fled in disarray into the bushes.
“The determined troops engaged the criminal elements in hot pursuit leading to the killing of one Zwa Ikyegh identified as the ring leader and others escaped with various degrees of gunshots wounds.
“The successful encounter led to the rescue of 32 kidnapped victims some of whom have been in captivity for over a month,” the statement read in part.
Enenche noted that all the rescued kidnapped victims have been reunited with their families in different communities in Logo local council.
Exhibits recovered are one AK 47 rifle, one AK 47 magazine, 6 locally made rifle, one locally made pistol, and a magazine.
Others include 22 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition, 2 cartridges, 2 motorcycles, and some charms.
Youth groups under the aegis of the Benue youth forum have accused Nigerian police of bias for allegedly exonerating herdsmen from the killing of seven persons in Logo, even after the Defence headquarters confirmed the attack in a statement last week, renewing calls for the designation of armed herdsmen as a terrorist group.
Addressing journalists in Makurdi on Monday, President of the forum, Mister Terrence Kuanum, expressed the forum’s concerns over attempts to change the narrative and blame victims of the attack for killing themselves, even when the herdsmen have allegedly threatened to destabilise the state in the wake of the law banning open grazing of animals.
Reacting to the allegation, the Benue state police command insisted that, hired gunmen were responsible for the killing over mining field dispute between two brothers, leading to the attack after one of them was paid compensation by a mining company in Cheme village in Logo local council of the state.