Benue Govt. Flags Off Vaccination In Yellow Fever-Ravaged Communities

The Benue State Government commenced a yellow fever vaccination campaign in Ogbadibo local government area on November 21, 2020.
The Benue State Government commenced a yellow fever vaccination campaign in Ogbadibo local government area on November 21, 2020.

 

The Benue state government on Saturday commenced the delivery of remedial medical consumables and drugs to three communities in Ogbadibo local government area, following an outbreak of yellow fever.

According to the state’s commissioner for science and technology, Dr. Godwin Oyiwona, at least six persons have died from yellow fever in the local government.

Dr. Oyiwona now oversees the state’s ministry of health and human services, following the death of the substantive health commissioner earlier this month.

READ ALSO: Enugu Govt Confirms Spread Of Yellow Fever In Three LGAs

During the vaccination flag off, the commissioner inspected water sources and said steps are being taken to improve on-water hygiene and other pressing needs such as better roads.

Enugu and Delta states have also recently reported a possible outbreak of yellow fever in several communities.

 

Yellow fever is caused by a virus that is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

These species of mosquitoes thrive in and near human habitations where they breed in even the cleanest water.

Most cases of yellow fever occur in sub-Saharan Africa and tropical South America.

Despite Invitation By APC Leaders, Ortom Will Stay In PDP – Aide

A file photo of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom.

 

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.

#EndSARS: Man Testifies Before Benue Panel, Alleges Police Poured Petrol On Him

 

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.

A victim of police brutality, Terfa Gundu, narrates his ordeal before Justice Adam Onum-led Panel of Inquiry on November 16, 2020 in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.

 

“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.

Benue Health Commissioner, Emmanuel Ikwulono, Dies

The Benue State government announced the death of Dr Emmanuel Ikwulono on November 11, 2020.

 

The Commissioner of Health and Human Services in Benue State, Dr Emmanuel Ikwulono, is dead.

Ms Ngunan Addingi, the Commissioner for Information, Culture, and Tourism in the state, announced this in a statement on Wednesday.

According to her, the government condoles with Ikwulono’s family and people of the state over the sad loss.

The cause of the health commissioner’s death was not disclosed in the statement.

Read the statement below:

The Benue State Government wishes to announce with great sorrow the sad departure of Our beloved Dr Emmanuel Saleh Ikwulono.

The Benue State Commissioner of Health and Human Services.

Our heart goes out to the family and the entire state at this time.

May his gentle soul rest in peace.

Details of interments will be announced soon.

Rt Hon.Ngunan Addingi

Commissioner for Information Culture and Tourism

11/11/20

Strange Illness Kills 17 In Benue – Govt

A file photo of Benue state Governor Samuel Ortom
A file photo of Benue state Governor Samuel Ortom

 

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:

09010999920, 09010999919

Whatapp, SMS 08123135458.

Signed:

Sir Andrew Amee

Permanent Secretary

For Honourable Commissioner

Ex-Benue Governor Suswam Rearraigned Over Alleged N3.1bn Fraud

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

 

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 Shutdown Activities In Benue

Nigerian youths protest in Benue

 

#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.

 

Gana’s Death: Ortom Asks Military To Release 40 Suspects, Confiscated Official Vehicles

A file photo of Benue state Governor Samuel Ortom
A file photo of Benue state Governor Samuel Ortom

 

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.

READ ALSO: Wanted Militia Leader Gana Killed, Says Military

Reacting to the death of the state’s ‘most wanted criminal,’ Terwase Akwaza, alias Gana, Governor Ortom said the Sankara people and the state is pained by the development.

He however noted that nothing can be done to bring back the dead to life, calling on the people of the state to cooperate with the security agencies particularly the military.

While seeking more clarification on the true incident that transpired leading to Gana’s death, Ortom said the state government will continue to engage the military rather than being confrontational.

“We are going to find out the truth of what happened. That is what the entire stakeholders here are demanding to know because from the press statement and information to us gives us a cause to worry.

“We have resolved to move on and continue to interphase with the military and other security agencies to ensure that this kind of ugly incident does not happen again,” he said.

Gana was killed on September 8 in what military authorities described as a firefight.

But Governor Ortom said soldiers snatched Gana from a government convoy of repentant militants in Gboko.

Benue Lawmaker Remanded In Prison Over Criminal Conspiracy, Kidnapping

The lawmaker representing Katsina Ala East state constituency in the Benue State House of Assembly, Honourable Jonathan Agbidye being taken to prison custody for alleged criminal conspiracy, armed robbery and kidnapping on August 21, 2020.

 

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.

No plea was taken for want of jurisdiction.

READ ALSO: Mali Coup: Jonathan To Lead ECOWAS Envoys On ‘Search For Solutions’

The prosecuting counsel told the court that investigation into the matter was still on and asked the court for another date to enable the police to complete their investigation.

Counsel to the accused persons, Barrister Terhemen Oscar Aorabe did not oppose the application for another date.

He, however, informed the court that he will formally file and apply for the bail of his client on another date.

The trial Magistrate adjourned the case to October 12, 2020, for further mention.

As at the time of this report, Hon. Agbidye and Mr Zuamo were being conveyed to the Federal Correctional Facility in Makurdi.

Benue First Lady, Son Recover From COVID-19

Wife of Benue Governor, Eunice Ortom announced on June 3, 2020 that she has tested positive for COVID-19. Credit: Benue Govt.

 

The First Lady of Benue State, Mrs Eunice Ortom and her son have tested negative for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a statement she personally signed on Tuesday, Mrs Ortom explained that they “have been confirmed to be fully recovered, certified to be COVID-19 negative and so discharged from isolation.”

While noting that being COVID-19 positive is not a death sentence, she, however, called on residents of the state to be responsible in their actions so as to keep others safe.

The First Lady appreciated her husband, family members, the medical experts in the frontline in the fight against this pandemic for their efforts in containing the spread of the virus in the state.

She also called for support for others who are affected and to humanity in general, while hoping that God will provide a solution to this pandemic soon.

READ ALSO: DSS Warns Against Plans To Destabilise The Country

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

*Maintaining Social Distance

*Stay indoors if not necessary to go out.

Stay Safe!! COVID-19 is Real.

Best wishes as always.

Dr. Mrs Eunice Ortom

First Lady

Benue State.

 

Troops Rescue 32 Victims, Arrest Suspected Kidnappers In Benue

 

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.

Benue Youths Groups Accuses Police Of Bias For Absorbing Herdsmen From Logo Killings

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.

 

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.

READ ALSO: Wike Stops Security Operatives From Arresting Ex-NDDC Boss, Joy Nunieh

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.