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.”

Gunmen Abduct Benue University Students

 

At least three students from the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi have been abducted at gunpoint “by unknown persons”, the institution confirmed on Monday.

“The University has reported the incident to the police and all relevant security agencies,”  a statement signed by the university’s Director of Information, Protocol and Public Relations Unit (IPPR), Mrs Rosemary Waku, said.

“The University has not heard anything from the students or their captors since the unfortunate incidence took place.”

The police has also confirmed the abduction.

“The Commissioner of Police, Benue State Command has ordered a full-scale investigation into the case,” a statement from police spokesperson, Anene Sewuese, said.

The Benue abduction comes barely a week after about 20 students were abducted from Greenfield University in Kaduna.

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

‘Three Students’ Abducted

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.

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

 

“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.”

UPDATED: Seven Confirmed Dead In Benue Tanker Explosion

The scene of a tanker explosion in Oshigbudu, Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State on April 18, 2021.

 

 

Seven persons have been confirmed dead following a tanker explosion in Oshigbudu, Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State.

The Executive Secretary of the Benue State Emergency Management Agency, Dr Emmanuel Shior confirmed this to Channels Television on Sunday in Makurdi, the state capital.

He said about 50 houses were destroyed from the information he got the local government chairman, adding that a detailed assessment would be carried out tomorrow when he visits the scene of the explosion.

Shior conveyed the condolences of the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom who he said, has directed for a comprehensive audit of the fire incident and report back.

READ ALSO: Seven Killed, Many Injured As Suspected Herdsmen Attack Benue Community

He also commiserated with those who lost their loved ones and properties to the fire.

Earlier, the Commissioner for Youths and Sports and an indigene of the area, Ojotu Ojeme, had confirmed the incident via his Facebook post.

He also commiserated with the victims of the explosion, calling on the government at all levels and spirited individuals to help residents of the area.

“The fire inferno at Oshugbudu in Agatu local Government, my local government of origin today, 18-04-2021 which has claimed so many lives and destroyed properties yet to be quantified, is the Chief of all the calamities that have fallen us this year,” he said.

“As I pray  God to comfort the good people of Agatu and most especially those directly involved, over the lost, I wish to call on Government at all levels and spirited individuals to come to our aids in order to drastically reduce the effect of the disaster on the people. Once again may God grant us the fortitude to bear the huge loss.”

This comes amid an amateur video sent by an eyewitness which showed many houses, shops and properties were also destroyed in the inferno.

Agatu local government area is some four hours drive from Makurdi, the Benue State capital and help from this axis is unlikely as the fire is believed to have gone out of control.

Many residents of the area called for help from relevant authorities to come to their rescue as the only fire station is in Otukpo Local Government Area, a one hour thirty minutes drive from the scene of the fire.

 

 

Seven Killed, Many Injured As Suspected Herdsmen Attack Benue Community

 

Seven family members have been killed following an invasion of a Benue community by suspected herdsmen.

The gunmen were said to have attacked the Mbamondu community at the outskirts of Makurdi, the Benue State capital in the early hours of Saturday.

Mbamondu is in the Modern Market Council Ward of Makurdi Local Government Area of the state.

It was gathered that the attackers also inflicted various degrees of injuries on five others with three in critical condition being treated at a medical facility in Makurdi.

READ ALSO: We’ll Provide Support For Digital Switch Over In Lagos, Sanwo-Olu Assures Residents

A survivor who narrated how the attackers invaded the community to the State Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Solid Minerals, Mr Bernard Unenge, described the attack as unprovoked.

On his part, the Commissioner said he had to call on the security operatives that were stationed around the Adaka community, also on the outskirts of the state capital who responded swiftly.

However, before the military agencies got to the scene of the incident, the assailants had already fled after accomplishing their mission.

Unenge told journalists that seven dead bodies were recovered and deposited at the Federal Medical Centre Makurdi while five persons were also injured with three in very critical condition.

He described the incident as heart wrenching and tragic as it happened unprovoked, pointing out that his people were shot and butchered like animals.

PHOTOS: PDP Governors Meet In Benue After Communal Clash

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom receives some PDP governors in Makurdi on April 9, 2021.

 

The governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have met in Makurdi, with the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, on hand to receive them

Although the detail of the meeting is still sketchy, a statement signed by the Director-General of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Cyril Maduabum, said the governors will discuss a number of issues and would come up with an implementable blueprint for tackling insecurity and sundry criminality facing the nation.

Maduabum noted that the meeting would also afford the governors an opportunity to review the state of the party.

The visit might not be unconnected with recent communal clashes between communities in Konshisha and Oju Local Government Areas leading to the death of at least two soldiers and other civilians.

Following the crisis, a military operation is ongoing in the two communities, with Governor Samuel Ortom calling for restraints on all sides, including the military.

Ortom had in a statement he personally signed on Friday said: “I have already directed leaders of the affected areas to ensure that the weapons the bandits took away from the military personnel deployed to bring peace between the warring communities are returned without delay.”

The governor asked members of those communities to expose perpetrators of the unprovoked attacks on the military.

While condemning the attacks, Ortom said “such an act is condemnable and also capable of jeopardizing the efforts Government has made to guarantee the return of peace to the area.”

He added, “Our administration is determined to see the end of the crisis and will support security agencies to fish out those fomenting trouble.

“I however urge the military to avoid civilian casualties and protect law-abiding people while efforts are on to recover their missing weapons.”

See photos below:

 

Killers Of Benue Catholic Priest Will Be Arrested, Ortom Assures

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

 

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has assured that the killers of a Catholic priest in the state, Ferdinand Ngugban will be arrested.

Ortom in a statement issued on Wednesday by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, Tuesday condemned the killing of Ngugban, who until his death was in charge of St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Aye-Twar village of Katsina-Ala Local Government Area.

He reassured the people of “Katsina-Ala and Sankera in general that the State Government will not relent until those responsible for the killing and other attacks in that part of the state are brought to justice.”

The governor, while wondering why a harmless priest would become the target of armed men, reiterated “the resolve of his administration not to handover the state to criminals.”

READ ALSO: At Least 15 Killed As Suspected Herdsmen Attack Communities In Ebonyi

He also asked the people of the state to support security operatives with timely and useful information.

While sympathising with the bereaved family, Governor Ortom prayed that God would grant the soul of Reverend Father Ngugban eternal rest.

Gunmen had in the early hours of Tuesday killed a priest and three other parishioners in the Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of the state.

According to locals, the gunmen stormed the village called Agu Centre in Mbatyula/Mberev council in the state around 7:00 am when the church was closing for morning mass.

Attack On Ortom: Kyari Leads IGP’s Special Team To Benue

Governor Samuel Ortom addressed reporters on March 20, 2021 after surviving an attack by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen.
Governor Samuel Ortom addresses reporters on March 20, 2021 after surviving an attack by gunmen.

 

Following an attack on Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom by gunmen, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has dispatched a special team to Makurdi.

The team, a Special Investigative Task Force, is being led by a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, whom the police authorities described as a no-nonsense investigator.

This was disclosed in a statement issued on Sunday by the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, adding that the team has arrived in the north-central state.

According to a statement, the team consists of operatives from the Tactical Investigation Units of the Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB) and other experienced, crack detectives with specialised competencies in crime scene investigation and reconstruction, ballistics, fingerprint analysis and other core areas of forensics.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Attack Governor Ortom In Benue

One of the core mandates of the team is “to take over and consolidate all on-going investigation into the incident.

“The Team is also expected to investigate all angles of the reported attack with a view to ensuring that all persons empirically linked to the incident are apprehended and brought to book.”

IGP Adamu also charged the team to be professional, thorough and clinical in their investigations, stressing that they should “liaise and work with the Benue State Police Command and other relevant members of the law enforcement community to ensure that they deliver on their mandate.”

The attack on the governor occurred on March 20 at Tyo Mu along the Makurdi-Gboko Road in Makurdi Local Government Area of the state.

Recounting how it occurred, Governor Ortom had told reporters that the gunmen who attacked him were “herdsmen”.

According to him, the armed men numbering about 15 trailed him to the riverbank where he was on foot.

The governor said his security details, who were just about six in number, swiftly responded to the attack and repelled the assailants after which they provided cover for him to return to safety.