The police spokespersons in Benue State, Moses Yamu confirm to Channels Television that the local police in the area gathered that some youths from the neighbouring town of Utonkon, allegedly aided and guided the herdsmen in the Sunday morning attack.
Since the open grazing prohibition law was effected on November 1st, 2017, violent agitations by herdsmen across the state, have led to the killing of over seven indigenes who tried to ward off herdsmen from their farm in the ongoing harvest season.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Audu Ogbeh, has blamed the poor run of Nigeria’s economy on the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) introduced by former Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida.
Mr Ogbe disclosed this during an exclusive interview with Channels Television in Otukpo, Benue State, at the flag off of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Benue South Senatorial re-run election campaign for its candidate, Mr Daniel Onjeh.
The Agric and Rural Development Minister, who blamed Nigeria’s over-reliance on crude oil, claimed that the Structural Adjustment Programme pointed Nigerians in the wrong direction.
He advised Nigerian youths to take advantage of the oil crisis in other to diversify into Agriculture and non-oil sectors.
Ogbeh also expressed concern over the high rate of unemployment among Nigerian youths with the advice that they take up opportunities being created in the agric-sector, in other to earn themselves legitimate sources of livelihood.
The Senate President, David Mark has expressed worry over the performance of the card readers which failed to capture bio-data of voter card holders after several attempts.
Senator Mark’s concern followed several attempts to be accredited at his polling station in Otukpo, Benue State, a situation said to have affected many of the eligible voters who turned up for the accreditation exercise.
Senator Mark, however, called for patience by the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) officials and the electorate in other to ensure a hitch-free general election, while commending the peaceful conduct of Nigerians who came out in large numbers to cast their votes.
During the zonal campaign of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held in Otukpo, Benue State, the Senate President, David Mark stated that among those jostling for the presidential post, “Jonathan remains the best that can move the nation forward.”
In convincing the people of the zone to keep fate with the ruling party PDP, David Mark also highlighted the achievements of the party since 1999 and also urged them to back the party up by voting all candidates of PDP in the forthcoming elections saying, “together we shall move Benue forward.”
Benue State Governor Gabriel Suswam further alleged that the presidential candidate of the APC, General Muhammed Buhari represents the Islamist Group ‘Boko Haram’.
He also declared that those that attacked the state two years ago were Boko Haram and not Fulani herdsmen.
He urged people of the state to come in mass and vote for all candidates of the PDP during the forthcoming elections, voting Jonathan as President.
Minister of Interior, Honorable Aba Moro, in his speech emphasised the transformation agenda of President Jonathan on the improved living standard of Nigerians, appealing to people of the state and the entire nation to vote Jonathan as President and David mark as the Senate President
Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC) on Sunday declared the result of last Saturday’s local council polls with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) clinching 15 chairmanship seats out of the 23 councils in the state.
The councils won by the PDP include: Ohimini, Otukpo, Ushongu, Tarka, Buruku, Logo, Ado, Gwer-East, Gwer- West, Agatu, Konshisha, Ohimini, Okpokwu, Obi and Oju LGA.
But the BSIEC chief, Prof. Philip Ahire, told reporters in his office that results of the remaining eight local council areas were still being awaited adding that a comprehensive results of all the local council areas including councillorship would be collated and announced soon.
No fewer than ten persons have been confirmed dead in a fresh communal clash that ensued between the bordering communities of Agila in Ado local government area of Benue State and Ngwo in Ebonyi State.
The rivalry between the two neighbouring communities broke out on the wee hours of Tuesday over perennial land dispute between them which has gone beyond controversy.
Ngwo community over the week allegedly deployed mercenaries into Agila threatening to march into Agila main town.
According to an eye-witness at the Benue end of the border, who spoke with Dailypost, the renewed fighting has forced inhabitants of Ai-Nedu clan in Agila to flee to Apa Agila for safety.
According to him, farmers of Ai-Nedu community had gone to carry out their routine farming activities yesterday morning when they ran into an ambush of over 100 men who marched through Ogilolo community dressed in military camouflage and armed with sophisticated weapons.
“The farmers flee on sighting the men but the mercenaries caught up with one Oche Adayi, a father of four and beheaded him. From that point, they moved in further, shooting sporadically and killing any living thing within the area; as at now we cannot ascertain the number of the dead because many people are still missing while some are believed to be trapped in the farms.
“As at 30 minutes ago we were hearing sounds of gun shots coming from the besieged community near the Community Secondary School in Agila while people are still scampering for safety,” he said.
Reacting to the incident, Benard Ochepa, the Caretaker Committee Chairman of Ado local government area, lamented the extent of the attack on his people.
“The attack was just overwhelming; it is sad that despite efforts by the state government to ensure that this crisis was brought to an end, the people we gave land to habit have now resorted to killing my people, it is sad indeed.
“In fact the situation is even more painful when you realised that our people have been displaced from their places of abode and their communities made desolate,” Mr Ochepa said.
The development on Tuesday prompted a forced cancellation of all official engagements organised by the Benue State Government.
Meanwhile, the Benue State Security Council, chaired by the Deputy Governor, Steven Lawani, had conveyed an emergency meeting to deliberate the matter.
The Deputy Police Public Relations Officer for Benue State, Ejike Alaribe ASP, disclosed that the police recorded one death in the fighting, adding that the state Police Commissioner, Christopher Katso, personally directed the Area Commander in charge of Otukpo to move to the troubled community to ensure that peace was restored in the communities immediately.
He added that Benue State Police Command was also collaborating with its counterpart in Ebonyi state to ensure that calm returned to the areas.
“We have drafted more men to the area, and I can assure you that calm has returned to the area”, Mr Alaribe said.