Wike Dares Ayu To Stop PDP Candidates From Contesting Election

 

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has dared the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Iyorchia Ayu to stop any candidate of the party from contesting an election if he thinks he has the powers to do so.

Governor Wike stated this during a media briefing at his residence in Port Harcourt on Sunday while reacting to a recent comment by Senator Ayu that he has the power to stop any candidate, particularly from Benue State, following the attacks on his person.

Ayu was quoted as saying this in his Tiv dialect while addressing the crowd that welcomed him home in Gboko on Friday. He was also quoted as saying that no one can sack him from office.

READ ALSO: [2023] Ex-Afenifere Leader Fasoranti Prays For Tinubu

But Wike believes the comment is further damage to the image of the PDP which should be gaining the trust and confidence of the public to rescue Nigeria.

“He has now come into the office, seen money, seen power, now he can open his mouth to say he could have stopped Ortom. And he said he can also stop any contestant now. We dare him. I dare Ayu to stop any contestant if he has what it takes,” he said.

“Why is he (Ayu) not resigning? He is hoping Nigerians would donate money to the party so he would again superintend over that money. He has already finished over N11 billion party primaries money. Account for it, he says the public should go into the account. We say show us the money. Print the account of PDP, and let the world see how you expended the money.

“This is the party all of us have laboured to take over power from ruling All Progressives Congress that has done badly. Then the national chairman would open his mouth to talk about stopping contestants.  Ayu shouldn’t dare. He knows he can’t do it, knows he has no such power. He is just playing to the gallery. He tried it in Rivers state, came to manipulate, and tried to put some guber aspirants, but we saw the results. We dealt with him.”

Wike reiterated that the calls for Ayu to quit the post are based on the need for inclusiveness and also for the national chairman to fulfill his promise.

“For you to be sacked there are procedures to follow. Nobody has said you are sacked. We are saying if at this point you’re a national chairman who has told Nigerians that this is what you do if that happens and you’re running away from doing that, how do you think Nigerians will now believe you if you tell them to vote for your party?” the governor asked.

“If you say you will not honour or keep to integrity, we have no problem with that thing that is giving you confidence. What we are saying is that we want our party to win, but if you think you can do without keeping to promises you have made, so be it. Saying nobody can sack him tells you the impunity in him.”

He accused Ayu of being ungrateful to Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State.

“I heard when he said he could have stopped Ortom from running for election. You see how ungrateful human beings can be. This was the same Governor Ortom who pleaded with us to say I can take the risk of letting Ayu become national chairman, without being greedy.

“The agreement by PDP governors was that no national chairman should come from where a governor comes from. We agreed on that, but Ortom came. And as a man we respect, he said I want to promote my people in national politics. We said okay, on your honour we let him (Ayu) be,” he said.

“This is a man who never campaigned anywhere, never printed a poster to be national chairman. Even money they gave him to print posters, he never printed any. And he (Ayu) is the one saying if he wanted to stop who brought him, a man who stood as a guarantor for him, he could have done so.”

Buhari Condemns Benue Killings, Says ‘No One Should Attack Anyone’

A combination of file photos of President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Samuel Ortom.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the recent killings in Benue State occasioned by a herders/farmers clash.

Gunmen had attacked Gbeji community in Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State on Wednesday killing at least 23 persons including a police officer.

Three days after the attack, Buhari called the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom and commiserated with the people of the North-Central State on the killings.

READ ALSO: 2023: Atiku Preaches Unity, Backs State Policing At Edo Rally

In a statement on Saturday by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, the President said no one should attack anyone because of their way of life. He said politics must be set aside to bridge divisions in the interests of all citizens.

“No one should attack anyone because of their way of life. Neither should anyone take revenge on others for injustice done to them. Both should be held accountable for their actions, and justice delivered,” the President said.

“President Muhammadu Buhari and all his administration condemn the recent attacks in Benue State. It is unacceptable for lives to be taken by herdsmen and farmers alike.”

According to the Commander-in-Chief, it was unacceptable for lives to be taken by herdsmen and farmers alike.

When tragedies like these occur, the President said Nigerians must remember first and foremost that they are all equal citizens of the country.

President Buhari equally warned that his administration would hold those that took innocent lives to account.

“It is equally unacceptable for the lives of those merely practicing their duties as police officers and government officials to also be lost.

“As those who have been entrusted with leadership by our citizens, we have a duty to remember that and do everything we can to bridge divisions and come together in the interests of all our people.

“There are many times when Buhari and Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue have disagreed politically. But, today, the president puts all these aside, to reach out to the Governor to express the heartfelt condolences of the nation for what has occurred in recent days,” the statement added.

18 Killed In Clashes Between Herders And Farmers In Benue

A file photo used for illustration only.

 

Eighteen people, including two policemen, were killed in intercommunal violence between nomadic herders and farmers in Benue State, officials said Thursday.

Violence broke out early on Wednesday when herders stormed Gbeji farming village in Ukum district, shooting indiscriminately, Paul Hemba, security adviser to Benue state governor said.

Disputes between cattle herders and local farming settlements over land, grazing and water rights are common in central and northwestern regions of Africa’s most populous nation.

“From the latest report I received, 18 people were killed in the attack, two policemen and 16 residents of the village,” Hemba said.

“Security agencies were alerted and they deployed in the affected area which helped in stopping the attack, otherwise the casualties would have been higher,” he added.


READ ALSO: PHOTOS: Peter Obi Visits Benue To Commiserate With Flood Victims


Several other people were injured in the attack and were taken to local hospitals.

Benue state police commissioner Wale Abbas said the attack was a reprisal for the killing of five ethnic Fulani herders by locals in the area.

“The crisis started on Tuesday when five Fulani herdsmen were attacked and killed in three separate incidents and their cows rustled,” Abbas said.

He said he was preparing to summon a peace meeting between the herdsmen and the people in the area when he received reports that Gbeji had been attacked by herdsmen.

Abbas gave a lower death toll of 10, including a policeman, locals and herders.

“The dead policeman was hit by a stray bullet and died on the way to hospital,” Abbas said.

Security personnel were searching for the herders and locals accused of involvement in the clashes, he said.

Tensions between communities sometimes take on ethnic and religious dimensions in Nigeria which has dozens of ethnic groups and is almost equally split between the mostly Christian south and predominantly Muslim north.

Northwest and central Nigeria have also been hit hard by violence from criminal gangs called bandits by locals, who raid villages, killing and burning homes after looting them and carry out mass kidnappings for ransom.

AFP

Flooding: Obi Asks FG To Be Proactive, Donates N5m To Benue Victims

Obi is one of the leading presidential candidates for next year’s election. Twitter/OselokaHObaze

 

The Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) Peter Obi has tasked the Federal Government to be proactive in mitigating the effects of the nationwide floods caused by the failure to prepare for the release of excess water from Cameroon and the heavily silted River Benue.

Obi disclosed this in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, on Thursday where he had gone as part of his follow-up visit to the state governor Samuel Ortom during which he announced the suspension of his campaign to allow him to show support to victims of the flood disaster.

READ ALSO: [Flooding] Declaring ‘State Of Emergency’ Not Yet Necessary – Minister

Although Obi had appealed to other presidential candidates to do the same, his visit to displaced persons both from the flood disaster and victims of herdsmen attacks camped in Daudu, brought hope to the displaced as he donated N5m to assist them.

14 Killed As Suspected Herdsmen Attack Benue Community

 

Suspected herdsmen have killed 14 people in a fresh attack on the Mchia community in Logo Local Government Area of Benue State.

Mchia is a settlement between Abeda and Anyiin, located on Ugba-Anyiin road, Logo local government area in the north-central state.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters, Colonel Paul Hamba (retired) confirmed this to journalists after a Security Council meeting in Makurdi, the state capital.

He said the attack occurred on Wednesday night while the herdsmen, fully armed, stormed the community around 9 pm.

READ ALSO: Troops Kill 36 Terrorists, Arrest 2 Collaborators, Rescue 130 Persons In Borno

Meanwhile, troops of Operation Whirl Stroke have thwarted an attack on the Ortese Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in the Guma Local Government Area of the state.

Commander of Operation Whirl Stroke, Major General Kevin Aligbe, disclosed this to Channels Television in an interview, saying the troops killed the herdsmen in the counter-offensive operation.

According to the Commander, a soldier who was involved in the operation slumped and died at the hospital.

“We got information about these people (terrorists) planning to attack Ortese, Nkohol and two other locations in Guma LGA on Tuesday night; and we quickly deployed that night and reinforced the places yesterday morning,” he said.

“My troops noticed where those guys were hibernating in the bush and went after them. Of course, they made contact with them. They saw them carrying their casualties and running into the bush. Coming back, one of our soldiers just slumped, he was not shot.

“He was rushed to the hospital where he was confirmed dead. We are still maintaining the trend in that axis and that is why you have not heard about any attack. We were still in Human when we heard about the Logo attack.

“The pattern of settlement of the people too is not helping us. But our troops are managing the situation in Logo. Some things had been happening around that area before now which made us conduct a weeklong operation there about two weeks ago. Even my Sector Commander had to move to the area.

“If you notice, these terrorists have killed between the to four people every three to four days. So, we needed to just clear that side. Before you know it, you will just hear that they have attacked and run away. The pattern of settlement is not also helping matters too. They go to isolated areas where they know that security is not near and they kill innocent farmers and other innocent people.”

Police Arrest 18 Suspected Kidnappers In Benue State, Recover Weapons

A file photo of police operatives.

 

Police operatives in Benue State have arrested 18 suspected kidnappers and also recovered some weapons from them. 

The spokesman of the Benue State Police Command, Anene Sewuese Catherine,  confirmed this development on Monday.

“On 21/08/2022 at about 07:30hrs information was received about suspected kidnappers who were trying to bypass police checkpoints at Utonkon road, Ado Local Government Area,” the police image maker added.

“Police officers deployed to the area in collaboration with members of the community were able to intercept and arrest eighteen suspects all male of Ikpayongo, Gwer Local Government Area.

“Items recovered from them include one (1) AK-47 rifle and two (2) magazines loaded with thirty (30) rounds of 6.72mm live ammunition. An investigation is ongoing.”

Benue Govt Demolishes Alleged Kidnappers’ Building Linked To Ex-Chief Judge

The affected building being pulled down in Makurdi, Benue State.

 

 

Benue State Government has demolished a property allegedly belonging to a former Chief Judge of the state for being used by kidnappers.

The demolition followed the arrest of two out of the four suspects in the failed kidnap attempt that was busted by the Benue State Police Squad in Makurdi, the state capital.

Channels Television observed that the affected property is not a structurally defective building but a residential apartment along the Makurdi-Gboko Road.

It is being pulled down under the supervision of security officials after investigations revealed that it has become a hideout where kidnappers hold their victims hostage.

The property is purportedly owned by a former CJ of the state but occupied by four tenants who allegedly turned out to be members of a kidnap syndicate.

Addressing journalists in Makurdi, Special Adviser on Security Matters, Colonel Paul Hembe, said the demolition was in line with the Benue State laws that forbid buildings to be used as kidnapping sites.

READ ALSO: Troops Rescue Another Chibok Schoolgirl, Three Others

“The state has zero tolerance for kidnapping activities and we have a law in place which provides that whoever provides his or her property to be used by kidnappers as a den, we will have that building demolished,” he said.

“Our special crime unit busted their activities. Two of them were arrested and two others including the kingpin are on the run but hopefully, we will get them very soon.”

In his remark, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Wale Abass, said the suspects who have carried out three successful kidnapping operations in the past have been giving Benue State problems.

Noting that the suspected kidnappers have collected ransom, the police commissioner said they were nabbed by special operatives.

One of the suspects, Iorver Solomon, confessed to the crime and said they collected N500,000 as ransom from the first victim. He stated that they realised N1 million from the second kidnap victim.

But the husband of a kidnap victim, Ibrahim Anum, contested the amount demanded by the suspect, saying his family coughed out nothing less than N3 million as ransom.

Anum explained that the suspects initially demanded N25 million, saying they know how successful he has been as a businessman, but after due negotiations and pleadings, eventually collected N3 million.

See photos from the demolition below:

Police Arrest Two Kidnappers, Release Victim 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.

 

Police in Benue State have apprehended two suspected kidnappers and rescued an abducted from the abductors’ den. 

Spokesperson to the Benue command, SP Anene Sewuese, disclosed this in a brief report on Friday.

She revealed that on Thursday, a team of Operation Zenda JTF were on patrol within Otukpa, Ogbadibo LGA, when information was received that one Raphael Okpe of Akere village was kidnapped on his way to the farm.


READ ALSO: Police Arrest Boko Haram Bomb Manufacturer In Taraba


According to the police spokesperson, the team responded immediately and chased the kidnappers into their hideout where they engaged the gunmen in a duel.

Consequently, two of the suspects named Abdulahi Mohammed and Yusuf Saidu were arrested while the other suspects escaped with gunshot injuries.

The victim who was already shot in the leg by the hoodlums was rescued and taken to hospital where police say he is responding to treatment.

Following the arrest, ten rounds of AK47 ammunition were recovered from the kidnapers’ dungeon.

SP Sewuese said investigations are still ongoing, adding that the force will not rest on its oars till the suspects at large are apprehended.

Ortom Condemns Killing Of Benue Farmers, Asks Residents To Defend Themselves

A file photo of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom.

 

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has condemned the recent killing of farmers by gunmen suspected to be herders in Edumoga in Okpokwu Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.

In a statement on Tuesday by his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, the governor described the killing as barbaric and demanded justice for the victims.

He mourned the victims and described the murderers as cowards and criminals who must be fished out and prosecuted forthwith.

“When I started shouting about the menace of killer herdsmen in my state, many people thought I was playing to the gallery,” an angry Ortom was quoted as saying.

“Gradually, this has spread to all other parts of the country because the Federal Government has refused to act appropriately and decisively against them. This is the reason why they have continued with impunity.

“It has clearly shown that the killing of these innocent farmers in Edumoga, Okpokwu Local Government is yet another barbaric act by Fulani herdsmen. They must not go unpunished.”

READ ALSO: Police Confirm Attack On Benue Communities As Leaders Put Casualty Figures At 30

The armed men invaded Edumoga in the early hours of Sunday where they killed some locals while the whereabouts of several others had yet to be ascertained.

Although the police authorities in the state confirmed the incident, they did not give the actual number of residents killed during the attack.

Chairman of Okpokwu LGA, Mrs Amina Audu, told Channels Television that residents recovered three more bodies on Monday, bringing total casualty figure to 13.

Governor Ortom, in his reaction, warned that the peaceful attitude of Benue people who accommodate others must not be taken for granted.

He stressed that the law must take its course to apprehend the criminals no matter how long it takes, although he appealed to residents to remain law abiding.

The governor, however, reiterated his earlier call on the people to stand up to defend themselves against the invaders, saying the laws of the land allow for self-defence.

“We are capable of defending ourselves if authorities concerned refuse to do so. We are not cowards; we are just law abiding,“ he stated.

Democracy Day: Ortom Urges Nigerians To Rise Against Anti-Democratic Forces

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

 

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has urged Nigerians to be on the alert against anti democratic forces saying “We must guard our democracy jealously.”

“By deliberate efforts and design, Nigerians opted for the presidential system of democracy because it is participatory and representative enough. It is a way of life that must be held sacrosanct, “ Ortom stated in his goodwill message to Nigerians to commemorate the June 12 struggle.

Governor Ortom recalled the tortuous journey to democratic rule and urged Nigerians to rise up to say “Never again shall we allow undemocratic forces take control of our collective destiny.”

The governor advocated for the need to strengthen democratic institutions in the country “so that the practice of democracy should not be at the dictates or the whims and caprices of a few individuals who think they will lord it over the general public but the wishes of the people.”

He pointed out that the unabating security situation “where armed Fulani terrorists are seizing our sovereignty is already a threat to our hard earned democracy, a development he lamented has not been given priority attention by the the current APC led federal government is a cause for  concern.”

Ortom added: “Democracy should be our way of life. It is freedom to exercise our franchise in an uninterrupted environment. But insecurity that has forced majority of our away from their ancestral lands and made their living conditions less than humans because they are now forced to live in shanties is a major challenge. This is why the federal government must wake up to their responsibility and tackle the menace headlong.”

He went on to state that “we cannot be celebrating democracy day when our citizens are now slaves and not free in their homes, schools, worship centres, workplaces and cannot go to their farms or even travel freely on our roads or by train. We must tackle the issue of insecurity courageously if we are to practice democracy freely.”

Looking back, Governor Ortom said his  administration has “in the last seven years, provided dividends of democracy in education, health, agriculture, infrastructure and other critical sectors of development, in the face of daunting economic and security challenges. We appreciate the people of Benue State for the support given us and assure them that our administration will not waver. We will sustain the tempo in this remaining year.”

While paying glowing tribute to the June 12, 1993, Democracy martyr, Chief M.K.O Abiola, Governor Ortom prayed that what led to the ill-fated third republic will not occur again in Nigeria.

Suspended Priest Emerges Benue APC Governorship Candidate

Revd. Father Hyacinth Alia.

 

Reverend Father Hyacinth Alia, who was recently suspended by the Bishop of Gkoko Catholic Diocese for engaging in partisan politics, has emerged as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue State, following the adoption of direct primary mode by the party leadership. 

Chairman of the Benue State APC primary election committee Peter Ojie made the declaration at the party secretariat in Makurdi the state capital, to conclude the two-day-long process of direct primary elections better known as Option A4.

READ ALSOWith PDP, Nigeria Shall Rise Again – Ayu

Benue Speaker Beats Deputy Governor To Win PDP Governorship Ticket

Benue Assembly Speaker, Titus Uba, has defeated Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu to emerge as the PDP governorship candidate in Benue State.

 

The Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, Titus Uba, has won the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primary in the state.

Uba emerged the winner of the exercise conducted on Wednesday at the Aper Aku Stadium in Makurdi, the state capital.

He polled 731 votes to defeat the incumbent Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu, who raked in 81 votes.

Reacting, the Speaker thanked the delegates and party leadership for trusting him with their mandate.

READ ALSO: Peter Obi Withdraws From PDP Presidential Primary, Dumps Party

This is even as he called for unity among party fateful to emerge victorious in the forthcoming governorship election in 2023, pledging to work with his fellow aspirants.

“One of the greatest days in my life is today and I want to give this to the delegates of our great party who have made the moment what it is now and who have come together to give me the opportunity to fly the flag of PDP in 2023,” he said.

“Responsibility they say is collective. Responsibility to our party is for us to put our heads together and move this state forward. Your Excellency, I am overwhelmed, my speech is filled with joy that I cannot express now.”

In his remarks, Abounu accepted the outcome of the election while briefing journalists in the state capital.

According to him, no human being can swim against the tide but God only.

“The party authority has spoken and the party authority has spoken well – loud and clear and that is how the tide goes,” he said.

“All I can say is that only God can make it possible for somebody like me who is a creation of God to be governor of Benue State.”