Eight PDP Supporters Die In Road Crash On Their Way To Campaign Rally

Tragedy struck as PDP members were travelling to attend the flag-off of their party’s senatorial campaign in Benue Zone C.

 

Eight supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have been confirmed dead in an auto crash which occurred on Friday at Ugbokpo in Apa Local Government Area of Benue State.

They were travelling to Agatu for the flag-off of the PDP’s Zone C senatorial campaigns when their vehicle was involved in an accident involving two other vehicles.

The bodies of those who were certified dead at St. Charles Catholic Hospital Adoka have been moved to the morgue of General Hospital in Otukpo, while the survivors are being treated in Adoka at the time of this report.

Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom who visited the hospital in Adoka in company with former Senate President, Senator David Mark, and the Deputy Governor, Engineer Benson Abounu, announced the indefinite postponement of the PDP senatorial campaigns flag-off in Zone C.

The Governor described the incident as painful and unfortunate, saying it is a huge loss to the entire PDP family in the state.

Governor Ortom also gave a directive for the immediate evacuation of the survivors to Benue State University Teaching Hospital Makurdi for further treatment, stressing that cases that required further referrals outside the state would be handled accordingly.

He condoled with the families of those who lost their lives in the crash.

Former Senate President, Senator David Mark who also consoled the affected families, lamented that most of the victims were very promising youths within his senatorial district and prayed God to grant the deceased eternal rest.

On his part, the member representing Obi/Oju Federal Constituency, Rt. Hon Samson Okwu, described the incident as painful, saying he met with some of the victims yesterday but never knew they were meeting for the last time.

See more photos of the crash below:

Christmas: Show Love To One Another, Ortom Tells Nigerians

Re-Election: Ortom Picks Mark, Suswam As Campaign Council Members
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom

 

The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has asked Nigerians to show love to one another during this festive season.

In his Christmas message, the governor said, “Let us embrace peace, harmony, tolerance and show love to one another at this Christmas and carry the same virtues into the coming year.

“My dear people of Benue State, on behalf of my family and the Government, I join you in celebrating the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

“The yearly commemoration of the birth of our Lord Jesus presents us with the opportunity to re-assess our ways and correct the wrongs we might have done to God and fellow human beings.

“As a government, we have provided adequate support to security agencies to ensure that all parts of the state remain crime-free during the Christmas and New Year season.

“I, therefore, urge you to go about your normal activities without the fear of molestation”.

Governor Ortom disclosed that the 2019 Budget which was christened ‘Budget of Peace, Security and Prosperity in Benue’ is to ensure that the security challenges confronting the people are overcome to pave way for greater development in all sectors of the economy.

“We will not relent in the efforts we are making through the construction of rural roads, health and school facilities, electrification, water supply and other critical infrastructure in various communities of the state.

“We will also sustain the payment of salaries as and when due while we source funds to clear the arrears.

“In 2019, our country will conduct elections to choose leaders at various levels of government. The choices we make during the elections will determine how we fare as a country and state in the following years. It is therefore important that we make the right decisions at the polls.

“I urge political parties and their supporters to conduct peaceful and issue-based campaigns to avoid acrimonious engagements which will heat up the polity.

“Let’s remember that we must have a state and its people for us to be called leaders. We must, therefore, promote decorum and harmony in our campaign speeches and activities, knowing fully well that power belongs to God and He gives it to whomever He wills.

“May this year’s celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ strengthen our faith in the affairs of the state and country”.

Ortom Orders Payment Of December Salaries To Benue Workers

Re-Election: Ortom Picks Mark, Suswam As Campaign Council Members
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom

 

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has directed the State Ministry of Finance to ensure that payment of workers’ salaries for the month of December 2018 commences on Wednesday, the 19th.

The Governor further directed that officers who prepare payment vouchers should put in extra effort, even if it means working all night, to see that workers receive their wages with effect from Wednesday this week.

He emphasised that the directive is to enable the workers to celebrate Christmas, as he earlier promised them.

The Governor cautioned that any officer who flouts the directive will be sanctioned.

According to the governor, the Benue State Government remains committed to the payment of monthly salaries.

He reassured workers that the arrears of their salaries will be paid as soon as his administration is able to access the required funds.

 

Over 20 Feared Drowned As Boat Capsizes In Benue

A boat accident on River Katsina-Ala has left several families in mourning as 20 passengers are believed to have drowned in the incident.

Eyewitnesses said the boat carrying over 20 passengers and up to 17 motorcycles left Logo Local Government around 8 pm on Wednesday but capsized at the Buruku crossing point of River Katsina-Ala.

The Chairman of the Benue Motorcycle Association, Ugonduzua branch, which lost 17 members in the incident, Mr Felix Ikyaajime, said they were heading for a burial in Buruku when the boat capsized.

As of Thursday evening, three corpses and 18 motorcycles had been recovered by the rescue team while the search for others missing in the boat accident was still in progress.

Ortom Condoles With Victims

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has sympathised with families of victims of the tragedy.

Governor Ortom, represented by Secretary to the State Government, Professor Anthony Ijohor (SAN), visited the scene of the incident on Thursday along with the Chairmen of Buruku and Logo local government areas, some commissioners and special advisers.

He described the boat accident as unfortunate and painful, recalling that a similar incident had claimed 17 lives five years ago.

Secretary to the State Government, Professor Anthony Ijohor (SAN) led the government delegation to visit the victims

 

The Governor called on the Federal Government to construct a bridge across the Buruku axis of River Katsina-Ala in order to prevent the loss of more lives.

Stressing that both he and his deputy, Benson Abounu, “are deeply saddened by this unfortunate incident”, the governor promised that the state government “will ensure that the victims are given the necessary support”.

“Our appeal is that the Federal Government should construct a bridge here at the Buruku crossing point of River Katsina-Ala to put an end to the frequent loss of lives,” he added.

The bodies so far recovered have been moved to the morgue of General Hospital Buruku with the state government promising to assist in the burial.

Chief Terngu Iorhuna from Logo, who spoke on behalf of the affected communities, thanked Governor Ortom for his prompt response, saying the people of the area were consoled by his visit.

Rescuers search for survivors and bodies of those that drowned.

Ortom Congratulates Atiku Abubakar

Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom

 

 

The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has congratulated the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, for emerging as the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) Presidential candidate for the 2019 elections.

Governor Ortom said the credible conduct of the presidential primary election was a confirmation that the PDP is a party that truly practises transparency and internal democracy which gives the people the freedom to choose a leader.

He described Atiku as an experienced administrator, tested politician and a Nigerian who understands the problems facing the country and has the capacity to fix the challenges.

Governor Ortom expressed confidence in the ability of the PDP Presidential candidate, who is a title holder in Benue State – (Zege Mule u Tiv), to provide credible leadership for the country, if given the mandate.

He is optimistic that Nigerians will vote for the rebranded and refocused PDP in next year’s elections to address the plethora of challenges confronting the country, and turn around the economy and security situation which the All Progressives Congress (APC), administration has apparently failed to handle.

Ortom Wins PDP Governorship Primary In Benue

Benue State Governor, Dr Samuel Ortom, has won the Peoples Democratic Party primary in the state.

The governor got 2,210 votes with his closest rival, Mr John Tondo, getting 475 votes.

In all, 3,748 delegates participated in the primary, which was held at the Aper Aku Stadium in Makurdi, the state capital.

Governor Ortom’s predecessor Gabriel Suswam and the immediate past Senate President, David Mark, were among those who participated in the primary.

The governor had defected from the All Progressives Congress to the PDP in August after accusing the APC of effectively sidelining him.

Ortom Reacts As FG Recalls Paris Club Refund Paid To Benue

Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom

 

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has reacted to the Federal Government’s alleged decision to recall the Paris Club Refund paid to the state.

He called on the people of the state to remain calm as he expressed shock and hoped the decision will be reversed.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the state governor, Terver Akase, described the news as demoralising.

“Following the Governor’s directive to the state Ministry of Finance, payment of salaries, pensions and gratuities was set to commence today, only for the people to wake up with the demoralizing news of Federal Government’s recall of the funds from the state’s accounts.

“We hope this latest move is not part of the ongoing witchhunt of the state. Benue people have already suffered enough impunity and attacks.

“We also hope that the withdrawal order was made in error because the said funds are not grants from the Federal Government.

“This was a refund of funds the Federal Government has been owing Benue over the years, so they shouldn’t make it look as though they had given the state a loan or a grant”, the statement added.

Governor Ortom gave the assurance that the Nigerian Governor’s Forum (NGF) will meet on Tuesday and an official position will be taken on the matter.

Ortom Orders Payment Of Arrears To Lobi Stars

Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom

 

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has ordered the immediate payment of all outstanding allowances owed the technical crew and players of Lobi Stars of Makurdi.

The governor gave the order on Wednesday when he received the players and management of the club after they emerged champions of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) for the 2017/2018 season.

Following months of insecurity, Ortom said the victory is one of the best things that has happened to the state so far.

He also approved a state banquet to honour the players, shortly after receiving the CAF confirmation letter for the club.

On his part, the Vice Chairman of the club, Mike Idoko, said the team is excited about the opportunity to play at the Confederation of African Football level, 19 years after the club last tasted glory.

Defection Of APC Governors ‘Pains Us So Much’, Says Okorocha

Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State speaks to journalists in Daura, Katsina State on August 23, 2018

 

Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State on Thursday said the defection of some governors and members of the All Progressives Congress was painful.

He said this in Daura, Katsina State when he led other APC governors to visit President Muhammadu Buhari to felicitate with him in the spirit of the season.

“We had wished that none of them, especially the governors, had left the part. We had wished, and it pains us so much,” Okorocha who is also the Chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum said.

The pain, he explained, is because they had associated and “related together as brothers”.

All of a sudden, you don’t see one of your own; we feel it,” he added.

The governor was reacting to the recent defections from the party, particularly those of Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State; Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State; and Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State.

All three governors had defected to the Peoples Democratic Party within a week, starting with Ortom on July 25, Ahmed on July 31 and Tambuwal on August 1.

Although Okorocha described their exit as painful, he believes it had no further effect on the APC.

“(It had) no negative effect whatsoever on the APC,” he said. “Within one week, people had forgotten and we have forged ahead.”

Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State, however, waved the defections off, saying it is normal for politicians to defect from parties.

“Parties around the world are associations of persons and, sometimes, others will feel their objectives cannot be met where they are,” he said.

Like Okorocha, he dismissed arguments that the defections had a negative effect on the party.

“What has happened led to more commitment among party members,” the Kebbi State governor said.

Humanitarian Day: Ortom Seeks Global Support For Benue IDPs

Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom

 

The Governor of Benue State has called on the United Nations and other global organisations to come to the aid of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Benue State, as the world marks the 2018 World Humanitarian Day.

According to the Benue State government, over 500,000 persons have been displaced in the state because of the attacks and killings by suspected herdsmen.

This year’s World Humanitarian Day has the theme, ‘Not A Target’. However, Governor Ortom believes that in contrast, the people of his state have become targets of “armed herdsmen attacks” in violation of global conventions on the right to life and human dignity, his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Terver Akase, said in a statement on Sunday.

The governor explained that global support was needed because the humanitarian crisis caused by the attacks in the last eight months have overstretched lean resources of the state.

On the level of devastation witnessed in the state, the Governor said apart from the lives lost, homes, schools, churches and health centres were destroyed.

Part of the consequences, according to him, is that more than 180,000 people are living in eight IDPs camps and over 500,000 displaced persons are either living with relatives or in uncompleted buildings across several local government areas in the state.

Out of the number of those in the camps, the governor said 80,000 are children who have been forced out of school with over 2,000 of them pregnant women, while 2,766 nursing mothers.

In calling for global support for the displaced persons, Governor Ortom thanked humanitarian groups such as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), civil society organisations and the media for the roles they have played in bringing relief to the IDPs.

He also commended the military for the ongoing Operation Whirl Stroke in which some soldiers have lost their lives.

The governor assured the people that his administration would not relent in its bid to ensure their safety.

Court Stops APC Lawmakers From Impeaching Ortom

 

A High Court sitting in Makurdi has retrained the eight suspended members of the Benue State House of Assembly from proceeding with the impeachment process they initiated on the state governor, Samuel Ortom.

The presiding judge, Justice Theresa Igoche, on Wednesday restrained the suspended lawmakers from sitting and upheld their suspension pending the determination of the motion on notice.

On Monday some lawmakers served an impeachment notice on the state governor on allegations of diversion of state funds and abuse of office.

In today’s ruling, the judge stated that “The order restrained the Chief Judge of Benue state from receiving or acting on any process, request, issued pursuant to the purported sitting, proceedings and resolutions of July 30, 2018, aimed at or commenced for the purpose of removing the Governor of the State pending the determination of the motion on notice.”

She (Justice Igoche) upheld the subsisting order that was earlier given by Justice Adam Onum, Chief Judge of the state restraining the former speaker, Terkimbi Ikyange, and other former principal officers from parading as same and ordered the security agencies to vacate the premises of the Benue State House of Assembly.

Responding, State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Michael Gusa, commended the ruling saying as a law-abiding government, they will always seek redress in the law courts.

Also speaking, Sebastian Hon, (SAN) who appeared on behalf of the Plaintiffs alongside over 20 lawyers described the ruling as sound and promised to abide by the orders of the court.

The new Speaker of the Assembly, Titus Uba, said with the order, they expect the police and other security agencies to vacate the premises and stop interfering in their legislative business.

The applicants had on July 31st approached the Court, seeking eight reliefs amongst which were an interim order restraining the lawmakers from sitting, proceeding or acting in furtherance to the impeachment and the Chief Judge from acting on their request.

Benue Governor, Ortom Defects From APC To PDP

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom

 

Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has announced his defection from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The governor made the announcement during a meeting with elected local government chairmen and councillors on Wednesday at the Government House Makurdi, hours after protesting youths barred him from traveling to Abuja to attend the APC reconciliation meeting.

He said that after various consultations from his party, he was advised to look for another party, noting that his stay at the APC had expired.

The governor while making the announcement said, “I have formally resigned from the All Progressives Congress (APC).

“With your support and a blank cheque that I have been given to nominate a party, we can now fight justice, equity, and fairness for the people of Benue state.

“Let me formally announce to you that I’m now going to join the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)”.

After the declaration, the governor was chanting “PDP”.

The announcement brings to an end months of speculation that the governor will return to the PDP as a result of his disagreement with leaders of the APC in Benue and at the national level.

His defection follows major political decisions in the state over the last three weeks, all of which had fuelled the speculations of his exit.

The governor recently sacked over 80 percent of his cabinet members and, on Tuesday, the Benue House of Assembly impeached Mr. Terkimbi Ikyange as its Speaker.