Over 1,400 Killed By Gunmen Within Six Months In Nigeria – UN

Chief Imam’s Son, Two Others Kidnapped In Ogun Community

The United Nations on Tuesday lamented over the spate of killings in Nigeria noting that over 1,400 people have been killed as a result of kidnapping and banditry within a period of six months.

The UN Country Director, Edward Kallon disclosed this in Makurdi, the Benue state capital at a meeting with Governor Samuel Ortom, noting that killings by armed herdsmen and bandits outweigh killings by the Book Haram terrorist in the country.

“Pockets of conflicts and insecurity in the country at large especially where I am today (Benue), the herders and farmers crisis and also kidnapping and banditry. This is now really getting out of hand.

READ ALSO: Abducted OSUSTECH Professor Found Dead

“The last statistics I saw from the government was that over 1,400 people were killed as a result of kidnapping and banditry since the elections.

“This is not a pleasant statistics,” he said.

Kallon also claimed that institutional failure at all levels of governance is responsible for the killing of over 1,400 persons since March 2019, particularly by armed herdsmen, bandits, and kidnappings.

He, therefore, called on the government to pay attention to issues of insecurity.

“We all know the statistics and the menace of herders/farmers problems. There were more people killed by the herders and farmers crisis than the Boko Haram crisis in Nigeria.

“When I said this in Abuja, it was not being welcomed but that was one statistics we have.  These are all due to weak institutions and governance deficit at the Federal, state and local level,” Kallon said.

Governor Samuel Ortom at the event claimed that those responsible for fashioning out a solution to herdsmen attacks choose to politicise the issue.

According to him, adopting the position of the National Economic Council which recommended ranching is the best solution to animal husbandry.

Kallon is in Benue state to follow up on earlier commitment by the UN to support the rehabilitation and resettlements programme for victims of herdsmen attacks in the state.

After signing the visitor’s register at the end of the meeting, the UN delegation moves to Gbajimba in Guma local council to take possession of the land donated to them by the state government for the rehabilitation projects to ensure these IDPs are properly reintegrated back to the society.

Dismissal Of Miyetti Allah Suit Against Our Law Is Victory For Justice – Ortom

 

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom says the judgment of the Federal High Court today which dismissed the suit filed by Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore against the Benue State Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law is a victory for justice, democracy and the rule of law.

Governor Ortom in a statement by his special aide, Terver Akase, commended the country’s judiciary for proving once again that it is indeed the last hope of the common people.

He said the judgment affirms the fact the law was duly enacted and it is in the interest of all Nigerians who wish to go into livestock business in the state.

READ ALSO: Court Dismisses Miyetti Allah’s Suit Seeking To Restrain Open Grazing Law

The Governor, on behalf of the government and people of the state, appreciates individuals and groups, as well as all other Nigerians who supported the state while the case lasted.

Governor Ortom restates the commitment of his administration to ensuring that implementation of the ranching law guarantees peace in all parts of the state.

He urges Miyetti Allah groups and other livestock owners to embrace ranching which is the global best practice of animal husbandry.

Ortom Should Stop His Hate Campaign Against President Buhari, Says Presidency

 

The presidency has called on Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State to desist from basing his campaign for re-election on falsehoods concerning President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to a statement by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President, Governor Ortom’s campaign is designed to drive attention from pertinent issues in Benue state.

“Governor Ortom’s campaign is clearly one designed to stir division and hatred, and to divert the people’s attention from his inability to pay staff salaries and pensions for several months.

Below is the full statement by the presidency.

READ ALSO: Ortom Condemns FG’s Move On CJN, Decries Attack On Judiciary

“It has been noted that the governor has been visiting churches in the state where he falsely tells congregations about President Buhari’s so-called plans to Islamise Benue State.

This nonsense has formed the basis of his campaign, because he has nothing to offer Benue people.

The allegations coming from Ortom were particularly unfair, when one considers how much support the governor received from the Federal Government, which supported his grazing laws as a means to end the farmer-herder crises that have plagued the state.

If not for President Buhari’s insistence that the governor be given a chance to effect the law, he would have faced resistance from different sources and found it difficult to implement.

While advising Ortom to immediately stop his dubious attacks on President Buhari, the Federal Government calls on the people of Benue State to not fall for Ortom’s deception and allow themselves to be hoodwinked by such a negative campaign.

They should instead, ask him why he has refused to pay staff salaries and pensions for months, and what he did with the funding from the excess crude account which should ideally have gone towards addressing such payments”.

‘It Doesn’t Make Any Sense,’ Governor Ortom Reacts To Impeachment Plot

Governor Samuel Ortom addressing journalists on Monday, July 30.

 

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has reacted to the plot by some All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers in the Benue State House of Assembly to impeach him.

The governor told journalists on Monday that the impeachment plot does not make sense.

Governor Ortom is surprised that Mr Terkimbi Ikyange, who was on Tuesday last week impeached as Speaker by 22 out of the 30 members of the Assembly, led seven other APC members to hold plenary on Monday despite a court order restraining him from parading himself as Speaker.

“The impeached Speaker and other principal officers paraded themselves in disobedience of the Benue High Court order that they should not do so until the substantive matter was heard,” the governor said.

“They sat illegally without the clerk of the House or his deputy. Eight lawmakers claim to have suspended 22 members. Is this not laughable? It is only in a shithole country that you can do this kind of a thing. The same members without forming a quorum claim to illegally move a motion to serve an impeachment notice on me.

“It doesn’t make any sense, it doesn’t mean anything. We are learned people, we have read the constitution, we know the provisions.”

Governor Ortom called on patriotic Nigerians and the people of Benue to rise and resist the action of the APC lawmakers which he described as ‘impunity and rape of democracy.’

“This is not the Nigeria we are yearning for. This is not the kind of democracy we are talking about,” the governor added.

The impeached Speaker of the Benue State Assembly, Terkimbi Ikyange, had earlier on Monday led his colleagues, under heavy police protection into the House.

The police officers blocked the entrance to the Assembly complex and also barred journalists from covering the plenary.

Ikyange told journalists after the plenary, that the APC lawmakers are moving to impeach Governor Ortom over alleged diversion of state funds and abuse of office.

APC Lawmakers Serve Governor Ortom Impeachment Notice

The controversy rocking the Benue State House Of Assembly assumed a new dimension on Monday as some lawmakers served an impeachment notice on Governor Samuel Ortom.

The eight lawmakers who served the impeachment notice on the governor are members of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The impeached Speaker, Mr Terkimbi Ikyange, who led the APC lawmakers, told journalists that the Assembly has commenced impeachment proceedings against Governor Ortom on allegations of diversion of state funds and abuse of office.

Ikyange added that 15 lawmakers have been suspended for six months.

The 15 suspended lawmakers are part of the 22 members of the Assembly who impeached  Mr Ikyange last week.

Earlier on Monday, police officers stormed the Assembly Complex, denying the 22 lawmakers who impeached the former Speaker, Ikyange entry into the House.

The crisis in the Assembly followed the defection of Governor Ortom from the APC to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Again, Police Storm Benue Assembly

Police officers on a road leading to the Benue State House of Assembly.

 

Police officers have again stormed the Benue State House of Assembly blocking roads leading to the complex.

The heavily armed officers are seen at the entrance of the House of Assembly, while others blocked the road from the popular Benue Hotel gate.

Some lawmakers were denied entry into the legislative chamber for plenary while six others were allowed entry.

The lawmakers denied entry are the 22 lawmakers who impeached the former Speaker, Terkimbi Ikyange.

The officers also dispersed protesting youths with teargas.

The protesting youths are aggrieved over an alleged plot by some lawmakers to begin impeachment proceedings against Governor Samuel Ortom.

Efforts to reach the Commissioner of Police in the state, Besan Gwana, proved abortive as call put through his mobile phone were not answered.

This is the second time police officers will storm the Benue Assembly complex within two weeks.

On Friday, July 27 police officers barred 22 lawmakers who impeached Ikyange as Speaker of the Assembly from gaining access to the legislative chamber for plenary.

Again, Benue Govt To Hold Mass Burial For Herdsmen Attack Victims

Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom during his visit to Okpokwu Local Government Area on Tuesday.

Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has issued a directive for necessary arrangements to be made for another mass burial in the state.

The mass burial is planned to hold next week Friday, March 16.

The governor gave this directive on Tuesday during his visit to Omusu village. He described the attack as unfortunate and called for the arrest and prosecution of the herdsmen allegedly responsible for the attack on Omusu village in Okpokwu Local Government Area of the state which has left 24 people dead.

14 of the victims were women, two children while the search for more bodies has continued.

Governor Ortom during the visit to the village appealed to the community not to embark on reprisal attacks. Security agents have since been mobilised to forestall further attacks while the governor also called on the State Emergency Management Agency to immediately provide relief materials to persons displaced in the attack.

READ ALSO: Ortom Asks Security Agents To Flush Out Armed Herdsmen After ‘Invasion’

He reiterated his call for the arrest of the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore whom he alleged were sponsoring the suspected herdsmen militia.

The governor also visited Saint Mary’s Hospital Okpoga, where the injured persons were treated and proceeded to the General Hospital in the town where remains of the dead victims were deposited. 

 

The Chairman of Okpokwu Local Government Council, Ogwuche Olofu said, the herdsmen had earlier reported an attack on them, alleging that some cows and two persons were  missing.

According to him, while the allegations were being investigated, the herdsmen launched the reprisal attack on Okpokwu around 4:00 pm on Monday. This led to the death of twenty-four persons with many houses razed and scores injured.

One of the community leaders, Itodo Ojobo acknowledged the swift response of security agents to their distress call and appealed for assistance to enable family members to bury their dead and take care of those being treated in various hospitals.

Taraba Govt Officially Bans Open Grazing

Taraba State Governor Darius Ishaku

Taraba State government has officially effected its ban on open grazing throughout the state.

Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State has, therefore, joined his counterparts in Benue and Ekiti State to officially place a ban on open grazing.

Governor Samuel Ortom on May 22, signed the anti-open grazing and anti-kidnapping, abduction, cultism and terrorism bills into law in Benue State and effected the anti-open grazing law on Wednesday, November 1, 2017.

Governors Ishaku and Ortom also close ranks against attempts by the Federal Government to establish cattle colony in both states.

Ishaku made notice of the ban while addressing a crowd at the burial of the lawmaker representing Takum I state constituency, Late Hosea Ibi who was kidnapped on December 30, 2017, and was later found dead.

Some Federal lawmakers including Senator Emmanuel Bwacha and the Speaker of the Taraba State assembly have appealed to Governor Ortom to protect the state against the alleged genocide agenda of minority tribes in the Middle Belt by suspected herdsmen.

Governor Ishaku at the burial, therefore, declared Wednesday, January 24, as the official date banning open grazing while Ortom called for synergy in protecting the Benue/Taraba corridors.

Benue Holds LG Poll, As BESIEC Excludes Makarfi’s PDP Led Faction

The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has applauded the peaceful conduct of electorates across the state in the ongoing Local Government election. 

Governor Ortom who joined the accreditation queue in the company of his wife, at Ako polling unit of Nzorov ward in Guma Local Government Area, blamed the exclusion of the Ahmed Makarfi led faction of the PDP from the ongoing election, on the party’s internal crisis.

The exclusion of the Makarfi led faction of the PDP, which the former Senate President, David Mark and Ex-governor Gabriel Suswam pitched tent with, has made the election less competitive for the ruling APC administration, as the recognized Ali Modu Sheriff faction presented only Six chairmanship candidates in the 20 local councils.

The Governor said: “I want to appreciate God for the wisdom and the cooperation of the Benue people to help us conduct this election today. As a law abiding citizen and as one who committed to the rule of law and due process for my state and country Nigeria I want to ensure that the Democratic structures in Benue State are very strong.

“This informed me and my council and the entire people of Benue State to conduct this election because we know that Local Government are the third tier of Government and just like we have Democratic process at the Federal level and at the state.

“The Local government too should have the opportunity to enjoy democracy, and this is what informed us to conduct this election though at a very difficult time that there is no money to pay salaries as and when due but because we want democracy at the local government level”.

“Maybe it will help instill sanity and discipline and make it more functional because here you are going to have the representatives of the people who are going to be elected at the council ward and them at the state level and I am excited and happy that the entire state is today very peaceful in conduction this election. This shows the commitment we have to ensure peace for our state and I am happy that we are conducting the election”.

The governor further noted that he is aware about the eight political parties contesting this election, stating that PDP is not an issue and their wrangling has nothing to do with the election.

“I am aware that about eight political parties are contesting this election so it does not matter. PDP is not an issue. Their internal wrangling has nothing to do with the election. And I am aware that PDP also fielded candidates in this election and is going on.

“So that is their own internal thing and that was why some of us had to leave the party because the party is not organized and I can see it standing anywhere. In any case whichever faction that fielded candidates we were ready to contend with it because we as a party, the All Progressives Congress is ready to face any opponent legitimately and by law. We have done our homework.

“We are the only political party that went out to campaign and seek for votes so why can’t the people vote for us. It is very clear. Which other political party came out to work the way we did. We launched our campaign in the three senatorial zones which I was personally there and again we went to all the local Governments and we went to all the wards. So we are sure of victory at the end of the day.”

Police Parade Suspected Killer Herdsmen, Others In Benue

Police, Kidnap Suspect, Turkish School,Four herdsmen suspected to have been involved in killing of farmers and destruction of villages in Tarka Local Government Area (LGA) have been paraded by the Police in Benue state.

The Police also paraded 14 alleged cattle rustlers, alongside some cattle said to have been stolen by them.

The Commissioner of Police, Mr Bashir Makama, who paraded the suspects, confirmed the killing of two farmers in Kwande LGA by suspected herdsmen.

“Some of them are those that have rustled cows and you can see the cows there, some of them are those that were arrested at the scenes of herdsmen and farmers clashes.

“We heard there was a reprisal attack in that particular community which led to the killing of two persons, and the people (attackers) have already been identified; detectives are already out there looking for them.

“Jungle justice is not allowed, if anybody has rustled their cows, they have reasons to report and if they report, it will be treated. But for them to take the laws into their hands is not acceptable,” Mr Makama said.

He said some of the rustled cows recovered from the suspects by the Police have been return to their owners.

In another development, the Benue State Security Council, during an operation alongside the Inspector General of Police Crack Team, also recovered large cache of arms from a bunker allegedly located in the stronghold of wanted suspect, Terwase Akwaza, alias Ghana.

Items recovered include a General Purpose Machine gun, grenades, assorted riffles and live ammunition among others.

The IGP’s investigation team, led by a Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Bello, has been in Zaki Biam and Katsina Ala for over two weeks, in a bid to track down the wanted suspect.

Speaking to reporters, Governor Samuel Ortom accused Ghana of hiding behind his amnesty programme to perpetrate crime in Benue state.

“You can now confirm when I said Ghana was using the amnesty to shield himself and perpetrate criminality, but this is just one armoury. We understand from information available to us that there are many more elsewhere and you can imagine the terror they did in Zaki Biam.

“I want to assure the people of Benue state that as we work together with them, and with the team I have here today, the security men that are supporting us in this state, and the directive of the President who is very passionate about the security situation in the state, we are going to overcome this,” he said.

Also speaking, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters, Coloniel Edwin Jando (rtd), highlighted the details of the operations.

“These weapons were in a bunker and someone gave the Police information and they used their instruments to discover them under the ground, the bunker was broken and taken out.

“There are so many of those bunkers out there in Gbishe, and some arrests have been made with some of those arrested taken to Abuja for further investigations,” he said.

Suspected Herdsmen Kill Seven In Benue State

fulani-herdsmen-suspectsSecurity has been beefed up in Buruku Local Government Area of Benue state, following an attack by suspected Fulani herdsmen, in which five people were killed in Mkovur and Tombo communities.

More security personnel including soldiers and the police have been deployed at the request of the state Governor, Samuel Ortom, to reinforce those on ground.

The Special Adviser to the governor on security, Colonel Edwin Jando (rtd), who disclosed this in a statement on Sunday, said the reinforcements have already arrived their destination.

According to Col. Jando, his office had received reports of the killing of five persons including a tax collector on Saturday, whose bodies have been recovered.

He also offered an assurance that security personnel have been deployed to logo, Ukum, Katsina-Ala, Tarka, Gwer, Gwer west and Agatu to embark on patrols and forestall an escalation of the crisis.

FG Partners Gates Foundation On Food Sufficiency

FG Partners Gates Foundation On Food Sufficiency
Bill Gates

The Federal Government has begun the implementation of the agricultural programmes in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates assisted food sufficiency programme.

Farmers in Benue, Kogi and Kaduna states will be trained to develop value chains, food processing and marketing.

A delegation from the Gates Foundation were in Makurdi, the Benue State capital for a meeting with Governor Samuel Ortom.

The Head of the delegation, Mr Audu Yerima, hinted that the value chain development, processing and marketing of food items were priority areas in the partnership agreement with the Federal Government.

Governor Ortom, on his part, said his administration was willing to open up the State Agricultural Policy for input and greater efficiency for the growth of the sector.

He asked the Foundation to deploy its expertise knowledge and marketing network, in order to make millionaires out of Benue farmers.

In another development, the state’s Commissioner of Information, Onoja Otokpa, said the Benue State Executive Council has approved the cancellation of the ongoing auctioning of government vehicles and equipment due to fundamental lapses.

The auction was cancelled following a series of reactions that trailed the sale of the government property.