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.

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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.

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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.

Killings: Benue Youths Accuse Police Of Bias

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

 

The youths in Benue State have accused the Nigeria Police of bias over the killing of seven persons in Logo Local Government Area of the state.

This comes a week after the Defence headquarters in a statement confirmed the attack, renewing calls for the designation of armed herdsmen as a terrorist group.

Addressing journalists in Makurdi on Monday, President of the Benue Youth Forum, Terrence Kuanum, expressed the forum’s concerns over attempts to change the narrative and blame victims of the attack for killing themselves.

Kuanam noted that the reaction of the police authorities is in support of the herdsmen who have allegedly threatened to destabilise the state in the wake of the law banning open grazing of animals.

But reacting to the allegation, spokesman of the State Police Command, Sewuese Anene, said that hired gunmen were responsible for the killing.

Anene said the development is related to a 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 LGA.

Declare Herdsmen As Terrorists, Ortom Tells Buhari

Re-Election: Ortom Picks Mark, Suswam As Campaign Council Members
A file photo of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom.

 

The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to declare herdsmen killing innocent people in communities in the state as terrorists.

Ortom made this call on Saturday, according to a statement issued by his spokesman, Terver Akase.

While condemning the invasion and killings in several parts of the state, Governor Ortom described the situation as unacceptable.

He said the state has a law that prohibits open grazing of livestock, adding that “only a terrorist group would deliberately choose to violate the legislation as Fulani herdsmen have done since the law was emanated in 2017.”

According to the Benue leader, declaring the armed herders operating in the “state as terrorists will end the wave of impunity and guarantee the rule of law.”

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Obasanjo Shuts Out Associates At Wife’s Mother Funeral

Governor Ortom, therefore, called on people of the state, particularly those living in the affected areas to report any suspicious persons to security agencies.

He, however, commended officers and men of Operation Whirl Stroke for their prompt responses to distress calls, particularly that of yesterday when the people of Tse-Chembe came under herdsmen’s attacks.

Ortom also reassured the people that his administration will not surrender the state to criminal elements, be they herdsmen or any other group, saying that no amount of threats and attacks will stop the enforcement of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of the State.

COVID-19: Ortom Mourns Benue Varsity Deputy Vice-Chancellor

 

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has mourned the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration) of the state university, Professor Godwin Achinge.

In a statement issued on Monday by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, the governor described Achinge’s death as devastating.

According to him, the state has lost one of its best hands in the medical profession whose expertise and selfless services also benefited many other Nigerians.

Governor Ortom said the don’s demise “is not only shocking and painful but has also left a vacuum quite difficult to fill.”

READ ALSO: Benue Varsity Deputy Vice-Chancellor Dies From COVID-19

While noting that Achinge was a multi-talented man who performed his duties as a team player, Ortom recalled that “as Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Vice Chairman State Action Committee on COVID-19, Professor Achinge was always the first to attend meetings and often made valuable contributions especially in helping the State Government to fight the menace of Coronavirus.”

The governor regretted the late academician will be deeply missed by his administration and people of the state at large.

He therefore that God may grant the deceased eternal rest and the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

Professor Achinge who had earlier tested positive for coronavirus died on Sunday at an undisclosed hospital in Jos, the Plateau State capital.

21 Missing, Two Rescued After Boat Sinks In Benue

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

 

 

Twenty-one persons have been declared missing after a boat carrying 23 passengers sank into a river in Benue State.

The incident occurred on Sunday in Makurdi Local Government Area of the state, the police confirmed in a statement.

Anene Catherine, who is the Police Public Relations Officer in Benue, said the accident involved 23 members of ECWA Church, Ijaha who boarded a boat to attend a conference across the River Benue.

In midstream, she noted that the boat sank into the river while a Marine Police search party was immediately deployed to the scene.

Catherine noted that two of the passengers were rescued while 21 persons were still missing.

The state governor, Samuel Ortom, who also confirmed the incident, sympathised with the families of the victims.

In a statement on Monday by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, Governor Ortom described the incident as painful and unfortunate.

He urged members of Kwaghter community where the incident took place to cooperate with the police rescue team in finding the missing persons.

The governor reminded Benue people about this year’s weather predictions on torrential rains and advised those who travel by water to adhere to all safety measures to avoid unforeseen incidents.

He also asked residents to always observe the COVID-19 prevention measures by staying away from crowded places to curb the spread of the disease.

Benue Varsity Deputy Vice Chancellor Dies From COVID-19

 

There’s been another high profile death from COVID-19, this time in Benue State University, where the Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of academics, Professor Godwin Achinge is the victim.

Professor Achinge, who was also the Vice-Chairman of Benue State Action Committee on COVID-19, had earlier tested positive for coronavirus.

READ ALSO: Boko Haram: Buhari Condemns Attack On UN Helicopter

Channels Television gathered that he died this afternoon at an undisclosed hospital in Jos, the Plateau State capital.

Wife Of Benue Governor, Son Test Positive For 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 wife of Benue State Governor, Eunice Ortom has tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a signed statement on Friday night, the First Lady said her son and some Government House staff too were infected by the virus, adding that she has gone into total isolation and has commenced treatment.

“A few moments ago this evening, I received my result from the tests earlier carried out on me by NCDC personnel on routine screening at Government House, Makurdi which returned that I, my son, and some staff are COVID-19 positive.

“We have from this moment, gone into total isolation as required by the protocol and would immediately begin the management treatment as advised by medical experts,” she said.

Ortom, however, advised everyone who has had contact with her in the past two weeks to undergo screening and get tested.

The governor’s wife is optimistic about recovering from the virus, stressing that being COVID-19 positive is not a death sentence.

While reiterating that the virus is real, she asked residents of the state not to panic but take responsibility for their actions.

In doing this, Ortom wants the people “to take preventive measures to be protected and be safe by observing the primary protocols.”

Primary protocols include the wearing of face masks, constant washing of hands, maintaining social distance and staying indoors.

Troops Kill Four Militias, Arrest Suspected Kidnap Kingpin

A file photo of soldiers travelling in a truck.

 

 

The Nigerian Army has killed four suspected Tiv militias and injured others at Che Jukun village in Taraba State.

A statement by the Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, on Tuesday said the suspects were killed during a gunfight with the troops.

According to Enenche, the troops of Operation Whirl Stroke operating under Operation Accord deployed at Gbise in Katsina-Ala LGA in Benue State and Sector 4 in Taraba State conducted a joint commando raid on Monday at Rafin Kada in Wukari LGA and Yojaa in Donga LGA of Taraba State.

He noted that the armed militia opened fire on sighting the troops who responded with superior firepower, thereby neutralising four of them while an unconfirmed number escaped with gunshot wounds.

The troops recovered from the suspects, two locally-made rifles, 55 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition, 117 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, three AK47 magazines, and two motorcycles among other items.

In another development, Enenche said troops responded to a distress call from Zaki Biam on the activities of a suspected notorious kidnap kingpin, Kobo Ishor (aka ‘Lesser’), an associate of late Orjondu.

He noted that the suspect has been apprehended and undergoing interrogation and would be handed over to the police for prosecution.

“The High Command of the Armed Forces of Nigeria congratulates the gallant troops of Operation Whirl Stroke for their dexterity and professionalism and encourages them to remain resolute in curtailing the activities of criminals in the North-Central zone of the country,” the military spokesman added.