Ortom Shuns Peace Meeting With Akume

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, on Tuesday failed to attend a peace parley called by the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The Deputy National Chairman (North) of APC, Sen. Lawal Shu’aibu had invited Sen George Akume and Ortom to Abuja for the “urgent meeting”.

The duo are the main actors in the tussle for leadership of the Benue chapter of the APC.

Only Akume was at the meeting which lasted for about two hours. Ortom was said to have stayed back in Makurdi.

At the end of the meeting, Shuaibu walked with Akume to the latter’s car.

The former Governor was silent on what had been discussed.

Speaking, Shuaibu who was mandated by the party to deal with the situation, said the party was eager to ensure reconciliation.

The peace meeting followed Ortom’s announcement that he was no longer with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Ortom made the declaration at the banquet hall of the Government House in Makurdi, the state capital on Monday.

He spoke while swearing in the newly appointed Special Adviser on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Jerome Torshimbe.

JUST IN: Herdsmen Attack Benue Communities, Kill Nine

No fewer than nine persons have been killed in separate attacks by suspected herdsmen in Guma and Logo LGAs of Benue State.

It was gathered that six persons were killed in Tse Shan, and two in Tse Nyamkyume in Saghev, Guma LGA.

The attackers also killed one person in Tse Ngo Jov Tombo Logo LGA in a separate attack that happened late last night.

A source in the community hinted this reporter that most victims were children and women, who could not run when the heavily armed herdsmen invaded the community.

Over 45 houses were also set ablaze while several persons have been declared missing after the deadly attack.

Abounu Raises Alarm Of Impending Attack In Benue

Mr. Benson Abounu has raised alarm while speaking to newsmen on Wednesday of impending attacks on Benue communities.

The Acting Governor of Benue said security reports made available to him had indicated that large number of armed mercenaries had occupied the Benue Valley and were planning to launch simultaneous attacks on five major Benue communities.

About six local government areas of the state had at one time or more been attacked by Fulani herdsmen since New Year’s Day.

Some of the council areas that have suffered attacks include Guma, Logo, Okpokwu, Makurdi, Agatu and Kwande LGAs.

According to Abonu, the reports he had received, the mercenaries had already identified and occupied five different locations and communities along the riverine areas of the state waiting to launch possible attacks simultaneously.

The acting governor, who disclosed this shortly after he came out of the State Executive Council Meeting held at the Government House in Makurdi, noted that the situation was very pathetic.

“We have received security reports which indicated that large numbers of armed mercenaries have moved into the Benue Valley and had mapped out five different locations in Benue State to launch possible attacks on five major communities in the state simultaneously.

“This development is absolutely worrisome and unhealthy to our state and we condemn it in totality. The reports further showed that the mercenaries would be carrying out their nefarious attacks on those communities occupied by people around the riverine areas of the state.

“Since we got this report, we have never rest on our oars. I have been meeting with all the heads of security formations in the state for us to find ways of stopping these people,” Abounu stressed.

 

Army Neutralises Four Militia In Benue

The Army says its troops have neutralised four of the 20 militia they encountered at Teguma village in Guma Local Government Area of Benue on Monday during patrol, while others fled.

A statement by Brig.-Gen Texas Chukwu, the Director of Army Public Relations, issued on Tuesday said items recovered from the militia were four AK 47 rifles; five 7.62mm rounds of ammunition and 28 rounds of 7.62 police special ammunition.

Chukwu restated that the Nigerian army was determined to rid the country of criminal elements.

NAN

Benue Gov Proceeds On Leave, Hands Over To Deputy

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, is set to proceed on a twelve-day working leave with effect from April 12.

The leave which is part of the Governor’s annual leave will terminate on the 27th of April.

During the period of the working leave, the Deputy Governor, Engr. Benson Abounu will act as the Governor. This is in line with Section 190 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

This is according to a letter titled, “Notification of intention to proceed on 12-working days leave” dated 4th April and signed by the Governor.

The letter added thus,” I am confident that the Benue State House of Assembly shall accord the Deputy Governor every support and cooperation within the period as it has always accorded me”.

The letter which was addressed to the Speaker was read on the Floor of the House by the Speaker, Mr. Terkimbi Ikyange to the hearing of all the Assembly members.

Army Intervenes As Youths Protest Against Arrest Of Suspected Cattle Rustlers

Hundreds of youths in Agasha town of Benue state on Monday protested the arrest of four youths suspected to be members of a syndicate which rustled 20 cows.

In a statement signed by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Texas Chukwu on Monday, the youths numbering about 500, were said to have taken to the streets to demand the release of the suspects from the custody of a sister security agency.

However, the timely response of troops of 707 Special Forces Brigade, prevented a complete breakdown of law and order.

According to Chukwu, the situation is closely being monitored as patrols continue to dominate the general area.

This comes a time when the state has been thrown into mourning with attacks by some group of herdsmen leading to hundreds of people and several animals being killed, as well as farmlands being destroyed since the beginning of the year.

However, the Nigerian army and other security agencies have continued to make efforts to stamp out the criminals and bring an end to killings in the state.

Peace Corps Protest In Benue During Buhari’s Visit

Following President Muhammadu Buhari’s continuous refusal to assent to the Peace Corp bill members took to streets of Makurdi, Benue during Buhari’s visit appealing the President to reconsider.

They wielded placards with the message, “Fulfill your campaign promise of job creation,” “PMB please give us Peace Corps.”

Buhari Arrives Benue, Meets Stakeholders

President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived Makurdi, the Benue State capital, to meet with the state Governor Samuel Ortom and other stakeholders.

President Buhari arrived the airport at Makurdi, the state capital at exactly 10:43 a.m. on Monday morning.

The president is scheduled to meet with leaders and stakeholders in the state at the Government House.

This is President Buhari’s first visit to the state since the New Year killings which claimed the lives of over 70 people.

He was earlier scheduled to visit the Tor-Tiv, Professor James Ayatse and also visit the Exercise Cat Race Camp including Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Camps in Gbajimba, Guma LGA headquarters.

The President had last week visited Taraba State, one of the states troubled with the herdsmen-farmers crisis which has left scores dead and displaced hundreds.

While he commiserated with the people over the killings, he described the attacks and bloodshed as unfortunate.

President Buhari, therefore, assured Nigerians and victims of the attacks that justice will be served. He, however, noted that a collective effort is required to maintain peace and security.

Apart from Taraba and Benue, he is also expected to visit Yobe, Zamfara and Rivers states where cases of terror attacks and clashes have been recorded.

Herdsmen, Farmers In Fresh Benue Clash, 16 killed.

Sixteen persons including, a herdsman were on Monday killed in a fresh clash at Omutu community in Okpokwu local government area of Benue state.

Barely 24 hours after two persons were killed by herdsmen in Humeger, Guma local government area of the state, the gruesome killing began.

According to a statement coming from the Benue State Police Command spokesman, ASP, Moses Yamu, the victims were mostly women and children.

Yamu in a statement made available to our correspondent on Tuesday morning said that the attack was a reprisal after some youths in the community went berserk, attacked Fulani herdsmen and ‘maimed’ some cows.

“We received information from the security adviser of Okpokwu local government that some irate youths from Omutu engaged some herdsmen in a fight, maiming some cows while two herdsmen were missing.

“A peace meeting was immediately convened by the Council Chairman and the head of Fulani community in the area while a police search party went in search of the two missing herdsmen, one of whom was found dead.”

“Unfortunately, as the search and peace meeting were on going, some herdsmen went on a rampage, hacking  15 persons – mostly women and children, to death while some houses were set ablaze.

The Police spokesman said four suspects had been arrested in connection with the killings, adding that ‘extensive’ patrol of the community was ongoing and to be reinforced by special forces.

15 People Killed In Fresh Herdsmen Attack In Benue State

15 people have reportedly been killed in the freshest attack by suspected Fulani herdsmen on Olosu, a village in Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State.

According to police report the incident took place after a peace meeting was summoned to address fight between Irate Youths from Omutu and some herdsmen. The incident also lead to loss of properties as houses were set ablaze.

The herdsmen during the meeting went on rampage slaughtering 15 people and setting houses ablaze.

The location of the attack is said to be close to the camp of the herdsmen.

The Benue State Police Command, in a statement, confirmed the killings to DAILY POST, stating that four suspects had been arrested in connection with the gruesome murder.

The statement read “The Benue Police wishes to report that, today at about 0730hrs, information was received from the Security Adviser, Okpokwu LGA that some Irate Youths from Omutu engaged some Herdsmen in a fight, maiming some cows, while two (2) herdsmen were found missing.

“A peace meeting was immediately initiated with the Chairman of the LGA and the Head of the Fulani Community in the area, while a Police Search Party went in search of the 2 missing Herdsmen, one of who was found killed.

“Unfortunately, as the search and peace meeting were ongoing, some herdsmen surreptitiously went on rampage, resulting in matcheting to death of 15 persons mainly women and children, while some houses were set ablaze.

“Four (4) suspects have so far been arrested in connection with the gruesome murder. An extensive patrol of the community is ongoing which will be reinforce with the Special Forces.”

 

Military Starts Operation Cat Race Exercise In Benue

Operation Cat Race, the military exercise aimed at curbing conflicts and other criminal activities in the north central is set to take off today in Benue state.

Ahead of the formal inauguration of the operation, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, has visited Governor Samuel Ortom at the Government House in Makurdi the state capital.

According to General Buratai, the exercise is aimed to familiarise the Army with the terrain and the peculiar security challenges of the area.

It is expected that this would bring under control, to a large extent, the issues of farmers and herdsmen crisis and other ancillary security challenges in that zone.

The Army had said on Wednesday last week announced that the operation would run from February 15 to March 31 in Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger states.

Giving a brief on the Security Council meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, Adesina said issued considered include the farmers-herdsmen crisis in different parts of the country.

According to him, others are cattle rustling, kidnapping, banditry, as well as anything that constitutes security challenge, while the intention is to tackle the issues.

The President’s spokesman noted that the recent efforts by his principal have shown that he was not enjoying himself in his air-conditioned home and doing nothing about the killings reported in the country.

He, however, maintained that President Buhari is up and doing in addressing the security challenges which he said were giving him a lot of concern.

Mr Adesina further assured Nigerians that the Federal Government is working hard to reduce the crisis to the barest minimum, if not completely controlled totally.

However, the scene of the launch, which is Gbajimba in Guma Local Government Area, has witnessed a spate of attacks by suspected herdsmen operating along the Benue-Nasarawa border.