Gunmen Kill Two Members Of Nigerian Legion In Benue

Gunmen Shoot Returning Officer While Conveying Result In Benue

 

 

Gunmen suspected to be fishermen on the Banks of River Benue along the Makurdi old bridge, killed two members of the Nigerian Legion working as guards at a disputed piece of land where a top government appointee in charge of revenue collection is constructing fish ponds.

The Deputy Governor, Mr. Benson Abounu who disclosed this to Channels Television in Makurdi, asked the police and other security operatives to bring the perpetrators to justice, irrespective of the grievances leading to the crisis where construction equipment was also burnt.

READ ALSO: Police Arrest Traditional Ruler Accused Of Raping Boy, Family Demands Justice

Mr. Abounu stressed that the state government is doing all to keep the state safe, he added that the murder case will not be taken likely and stressed that the culprits will be fished out soon.

An eyewitness explained that the victims who were guarding the premises are the latest victims of the criminal activities on that portion of the road and recommend the land be donated to the Nigerian police for effective surveillance.

The witness disclosed that the bodies of the two members of the Nigerian Legion were thrown into River Benue.

Flooding: FG Promises To Dredge River Benue

The Federal government has pledge to dredge River Benue as part of the medium term solution to the perennial Benue flooding.

The Vice President Yemi Osinbajo made this known while meeting with victims of the Benue floods at the IDP camp in Makurdi.

He gave this assurance following overwhelming solidarity song in support of the dredging River Benue and the construction of standard drainage system.

The Vice President who is visiting the state on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari was recieved by the governor Samuel Ortom, and other top government officials.

Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is in the state to condole with the victims of flood that hit the state recently.

Following heavy rains in the state capital which left many homeless, the Benue State Emergency Management Agency had set up a camp for displaced persons at the International Market in Makurdi.

On his part, President Buhari had also directed the National Emergency Management Agency to immediately commence the mobilisation and deployment of resources to support the victims.

NEMA officials have been on the ground to assess the situation and provide relief materials such as food and non-food items to affected persons.

Some residents told Channels Television in Makurdi that while the flood waters were receding in many areas, there is still a lot of work to be done. in relief intervention to support the affected communities in the short-term, and in rebuilding and reconstruction in the medium and long-term.

 

FG Commits To Providing Better Infrastructure

Babtunde-FasholaThe Federal Government says it is working hard to provide infrastructure that will create employment and ease the movement of citizens within Nigeria.

The government’s statement comes as part of efforts to fast track the infrastructural development of the nation.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, gave the government’s commitment to putting infrastructure in place on Sunday in Loko, Nasarawa State shortly after inspecting the Loko-Oweto Bridge being constructed over the River Benue in Nasarawa and Benue States.

He promised that more rural communities would be opened up for the benefit of farmers and other Nigerians.

“That is the kind of growth and inclusion we expect to see as we also improve the infrastructure of the country and get construction work going again.

“Those who lost their jobs will come back to work. You will see increased merchandising and sales of building materials.

“Hopefully the growth of the economy will return,” the Minister said.

He was optimistic that the road would create access to farm produce and also give farmers access to markets to reduce wastage caused by lack of transportation means.

The spokesman for the Loko Patriotic Forum, Yusuf Aliyu, commended the government for the development in their community.

Beyond the construction of the bridge, he also appealed to the Federal Government to connect the community to the national grid for adequate electricity.

Herdsmen Crisis: Agatu Victims Urge State Governments To Uphold Peace Deal

AgatuSurvivors of attacks on communities in Agatu Local Government by suspected armed Fulani herdsmen have called on the Nasarawa State Government to implement the peace agreement signed with Benue State.

The survivors, on Saturday, urged the State Government to also put a leach on the militia herders.

The traditional ruler of Obagaji and the survivors made the call when a member representing Agatu in the Benue State House of assembly, Mr Audu Sule, visited the affected communities to see the level of destruction carried out by the imposing herdsmen.

Although, both the Army and Police had been mobilized to Agatu Local Government Area where over 20 villages were overran by the herdsmen, the security forces have not been able to subdue the Fulani militia.

Security forces said that the armed Fulani herdsmen with over 5,000 cattle, confronted them at Okokolo at the banks of the River Benue.

The crisis left a huge number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), who now share public schools with students during school hours.

The IDPs said life has been difficult, as little is being done to help them cope with the displacement.

Some of the young men left behind in Obagaji, the headquarters of Agatu Local Government Area to defend their homes, told Channels Television that the herdsmen were still occupying six villages as at Friday, February 26.

Chief James Edoh, said that three pregnant women put to bed along the road while fleeing from the crisis.

The Chief further lamented the inability of his people to recover the corpses of their loved ones for proper burial.

The member representing Agatu in the Benue State House of assembly, Mr Sule, urged the Nasarawa State Government to uphold their end of the peace deal, which the Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State, Silas Agara, insisted is on course.

The renewed clashes after both Governors of Benue and Nasarawa State had convened a peace meeting have underscored the need for the Federal Government to step into the crisis and end hostilities.

Bill Gates Foundation, Benue Govt. Partner On New Agricultural Innovations

BenueThe Benue State government is partnering with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in developing new innovations to boost productivity in its agricultural sector.

Governor Samuel Ortom was in a meeting with representatives of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Makurdi on Monday to seek the foundation’s intervention in the state’s agricultural revolution.

Governor Ortom listed food processing and marketing as major challenges inhibiting the full utilization of its agricultural resources and potentials, adding that the state urgently needed solution in those areas.

Both Governor Ortom and leader of the delegation from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr Jacob Mignouna, then agreed to simplify new agricultural innovations for small scale farmers in the state to improve their production and processing capacity.

The Governor also received a truck load of food items donated by a Chinese firm, Tongyi Group, on behalf of those who were displaced from their residence on the banks of River Benue in September 2015.

Hydrological Services Agency Issues Flood Alert

floodThe Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) has issued a flood alert to communities on the shores of River Niger and River Benue.

In a statement signed by the Director General of the Agency, Dr Moses Beckley, the agency said that communities in‎ Niger, Anambra, Taraba, Nasarawa, Kebbi, Sokoto, Adamawa, Kogi and Benue States will experience flood due to the latest release of water from the Lagdo and Kainji dams.

The agency advised the affected communities to relocate to avoid the 2012 incident, where lives and properties were destroyed by flood.

Nasarawa Flood: Al-Makura Approves 25 Million Naira For Settlement Camp

flood-nasarawaNasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura, has approved 25 million naira for the construction of a temporary settlement camp for the Riverine community of Guto in Nasarawa Local Government.

The intervention became necessary following the early warning of flooding by the Federal Ministry of Environment to coastal communities, which Guto community on the banks of River Benue from the Nasarawa axis lies.

Governor Al-Makura disclosed this in Lafia, Nasarawa State capital, after an air surveillance of the coastal communities on the bank of River Benue.

The Governor also promised to relocate the Palace of Oche-Agatu  six kilometers from the present location.

Court Acquits Ex-Minister Of N43million fraud

A federal High Court in Abuja has   acquitted and discharged former Minister of Works, Mr Hassan Lawal and a former bank official, Adesanya Adewale from the eight count charge bothering on conspiracy and corruption to the tune of N43 million slammed on them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The trial judge, Justice Adamu Bello, chided the anti-graft agency for a shoddy investigation.

Lawal and Adesanya had earlier pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to them, and consequently brought a no case submission after the prosecution had closed its case.

Ruling on the no case submission, Justice Bello held that the prosecution failed to prove the essential ingredients of money laundering before the court adding that the anti-graft agency did not present any evidence to prove that the transferred funds were derived from illegal and corrupt proceeds.

Dismissing the counts on conspiracy, the court held that having failed to prove that the money transferred was from illegal and unlawful sources, it can’t be proved that there was conspiracy between the 1st and 2nd defendants.

He also held that the charge of conspiracy to launder money failed in its entirety stating that from the exhibits before the court, there was nothing like conspiracy.

Lawal was alleged of misappropriation of funds meant for the rehabilitation of the Guto-Bagana Bridge across River Benue while Adewale, a former banker, was alleged to have assisted him to launder the money.

State and Local government must establish emergency agency-NEMA boss

In the wake of the disappointing rescue efforts for people affected by the flood disaster across the country, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has called for state and local government to establish Emergency Agency at their levels, because they are closer to the people.

This will enhance a prompt rescue mission to save lives whenever disasters strike. This was made known by NEMA’s Director of Search and Rescue, Mr Charles Otegbade on our breakfast show, Sunrise.

Responding to why the delay in rescuing people affected by the flood in Kogi which displaced almost a million people and claimed a number of lives, Mr Otegbade, stated that the agency got hold of the flood disaster in Ebaji (Kogi state) by 4PM and that the rescue team arrived at the disaster spot by 10AM the following day.

“We (NEMA) are a national body and the state and local government emergency agencies should have swung into action before our arrival because they are the closest to the people” he stated.

He also noted that the staff of national emergency agency had to be deployed from Benue state, which was already ravaged by the flood before the call came from to Kogi state.

“So the state and local governments must create these local agencies to quickly assist people whenever a disaster happens.”

He called for increased funding for the agency as well as other agencies that could assist in rescue operations.

“Idly, the Federal Fire Service should be the agency that will lead the rescue mission for flood disasters but because the Fire Service is in a dire state, they cannot do anything, all of these agencies need to developed by funding and manpower to enhance the rescue operations when needed.”

He added that “NEMA is essentially a strategic coordinating agency” as he quickly quipped that “but that does not precludes us (NEMA) from the operational tactics at the operational level.”

“NEMA should have just coordinated the efforts of every other agency if they were adequately equipped with equipment and manpower.”

Mr Otegbade stated that over 6,000 Internally Displaced People (IDPs) are currently accommodated in IDP camps in Kogi state.

The rescue expert claimed the excessive rainfall and release of water from the dam in Cameroun were responsible for the flood.

“What we expressing is the downward movement of the accumulated water from River Niger and River Benue to Delta state” as he spoke about the flood disaster that has also affected the Niger-Delta.

 

Over a million Nigerians will die if Nyos Dam should collapse-NEMA

Over a million Nigerians are likely to die if the Nyos Dam in Cameroon should collapse the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has warned.

The agency made this known at the presentation of a manual to prevent such an occurrence. The manual, which was endorsed on Thursday at a ceremony in Abuja by stakeholders, aims to put measures in place to mitigate flood waters from the lake from affecting the people of Benue State.

The agency said the manual, titled Lake Nyos Disaster Response Manual, was produced to “proactively prepare for the disaster that may arise from the possible collapse’’ of the Lake Nyos Dam in Western Cameroon.

Director-General of NEMA, Alhaji Muhammed Sidi, said Lake Nyos was close to Nigeria and that a 2005 UNDP report had predicted that the dam was at “a point of potential collapse’’.

Sidi, who was represented by NEMA’s Director of Administration, Dr. Zanna Muhammad, said the report predicted that the collapse might be caused by gradual erosion from rain, wind and lake waters, or as a result of violent volcanic eruption.

The representative of the DG explained that the report mentioned the possibility of the breakdown of the dam within 10 years, adding that the eventual failure of the dam would result in the discharge of about 55 million cu. metres of water which would result in flooding downstream.

“It is estimated that between Cameroon border and River Benue, 50 settlements, including Katsina-Ala, Kashimbilla, Waya, Manga, Gamovo, Andie, Terwegh and over 15,000 hectares of land will be flooded.

“Also, over one million people and 20,000 heads of cattle and other livestock will be affected and could perish,” he said.

He also said that financial losses had been estimated to be in billions of naira, comprising of crops, residential and commercial structures, utilities and infrastructure, including roads and bridges and other services.

KILLER WIND

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) has warned Nigerians to take precautions against violent winds that may occur during the dry season, due to the effects of climate change.

The Director-General of NIMET, Dr Anthony Anuforom, gave the warning in Abuja on Thursday.

He said, “We are transiting now from rainy to dry season; the kinds of things we may experience are violent winds. Therefore, we advise people to avoid staying under trees.

“The reason why we alert people is for them to know ahead of time and take necessary precautions.

“We have no ability to protect natural disasters but the ability to observe what the weather is and inform the people early.”

Anuforom further noted that if forecasts by the agency were strictly adhered to it could help save the situation, adding that any emergency situation could only surprise people unexpectedly if there were no early warnings.

“If adequate disaster risk measures are taken, the number of deaths will decrease because people would have known what to expect,’’ Anuforom said.

 

Senate calls for supplementary budget to address flood disaster

The Senate has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to send a supplementary budget to the National Assembly to address the immediate needs of the victims affected by the ravaging floods across the country.

The Senate took the resolution on Tuesday, after considering a motion on the menace of flood in the central part of the country that claimed a number of lives and displaced over a million people.

The motion for an urgent need of the supplementary budget to support the affected state government was moved by Senator Danladi Sankara.

The Senator drew the attention of the Senate to the flood which has ravaged many states in the country claiming lives and rendering thousands of Nigerians homeless.

The floods have ravaged communities along the River Niger, River Benue, Cross River as well as Gongola River and Iyere River.

The unprecedented flooding has been alleged to be caused by the release of stored water in a dam by Cameroonian authorities. Others attribute it to climate change, but the reality is that many are unprepared for it despite numerous warnings by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), earlier in the year.

Presiding over the session, Senate president David Mark expressed his displeasure with the manner in which the disaster is being handled despite NIMET’s warnings.

The lawmakers also lamented that as much the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) tried to contain the situation, the rescue agency was ill-equipped to manage disasters.

They therefore urged President Jonathan to forward a supplementary budget to the national assembly to address the immediate needs of the victims affected by the flood across the country.

They also urged the federal government to draw up a national standard operating procedure to respond to such disasters in the future.