6 Dead, Others Missing After Boat Capsizes In Benue

At least six persons have been confirmed dead after they drowned in River Katsina/Ala, Benue State, following a boat mishap on Friday.

The unfortunate incident occurred when an overloaded boat crossing River Katsina/Ala with mourners capsized.

The boat was reportedly ferrying more than 15 persons without any life jacket.

Three bodies were said to have been recovered same day, Friday, while three other bodies were recovered Saturday morning.

Five of the deceased, three kids, aged one, four and six and three women were also said to be missing as of the time of filing this report

Reacting to the incident, the Chairman of Katsina/Ala local government, Mrs. Virginia Kpindi, said “the accident occurred because the boat was overloaded”.

She, however, consoled with deceased families and prayed God to grant them fortitude to bear the losses.

Youths Behind Nigeria’s Problem – Ortom

Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, has blamed youth unemployment for the various agitations across Nigeria, especially by the now proscribed IPOB.

Ortom said this in an interactive session with newsmen in Abuja, on Thursday.

He said, “I think that this agitation that we are talking about, if you look at the majority of the people that are visibly seen from the Biafran agitation that has now been proscribed; you discover that they are mainly youths.

“Youths are all over the place. If you hear what the Arewa coalition did, they are still youths. To me, I think that it is lack of employment. And it’s a very big challenge we have to contend with.

“I have known that even before I started campaigning to be governor even as governor, what troubles me every day is how to surmount this challenge.

“I feel that this agitation and all these problems, threats from here and there are coming as a result of not engaging these youths because the hand that is idle becomes the devil’s workshop.

“I think that we must concentrate our efforts at the local government, state and federal levels to ensure that we engage our youths.”

Just In: Herman Hembe Loses Supreme Court Appeal

The Supreme Court has again ruled and confirmed its initial stand that Mr. Herman Hembe was not properly elected as a member of House of Representative for Vandeikiya/Konshisha federal constituency of Benue State.

Mr. Hembe had approached the Supreme Court again to refer the case to a lower court for retrial after the apex court ordered him to vacate his former seat and return all monies he earned in the House of Representatives since 2015.

The Supreme Court also awarded the sum of one million naira against Mr. Hembe in favour of Dorathy Mato, the defendant.

Details later……….

Dangote Approves N250m Relief Assistance To Benue Flood Victims

Chairman, National Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, says he has provided N250 million as relief assistance to victims of the devastating flood in Benue State.

Dangote said on Sunday in Lagos that this was in response to the request by the Benue State Government.

He said that the committee had also approved the release of one of its completed IDP Hostels in the state as a temporary shelter for some of the displaced people.

Former President, Goodluck Jonathan had on Oct. 11, 2012, inaugurated the Dangote-led 34-member National Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation.

The committee was charged with raising additional funds to support the government’s efforts to provide adequate relief and post-impact rehabilitation to persons and communities affected by floods in the country.

Dangote said the State Emergency Management Agency had disclosed that more than 110,000 people in 24 communities, including Makurdi, were displaced by the recent flood in Benue.

The committee chairman said that asides the donation to Benue, his committee had also donated N150 million to provide relief assistance to flood victims in Anambra,

Dangote, in a statement by Mr. Sunday Esan of the Corporate Communication Department of Dangote Group, said that the committee had also released N118 million to the National Emergency Management Agency.

He said that this was to augment the N1.6 billion released by the Federal Government for procurement of food and non-food relief materials in aid of flood victims in 16 states.

According to him, the states are Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Abuja FCT, Kebbi, Kwara, Lagos, Niger, Ondo, Oyo, Plateau, and Sokoto.

He said that the committee was currently implementing the various projects in the 24 states affected by the 2012 nationwide floods.

Dangote said that the rationale behind the projects was to assist the benefiting states to better handle future emergencies, including flooding.

 

Osinbajo Visits Benue To Sympathise With Makurdi Flood Victims [PHOTOS]

Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday visited Benue state to sympathise with the recent flood victims who are taking refuge at the Makurdi International Market.

Osinbajo, who arrived Makurdi, the state capital was received by the State Governor, Samuel Ortom and other dignitaries at the Airport.

 

See photos below……

Air Force Treats 200 IDP’s In Benue

The Nigerian Air Force has administered free treatment to no fewer than 200 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) affected by the flood in Benue.

Squadron Leader Jeremiah Amase, told the  Reporters on Monday in Makurdi that some of the patients were suffering from hypertension, Malaria, diarrhea, upper and lower respiratory infections among others.

The Chief of Air staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, had earlier inaugurated the “Medical Outreach Programme” to assist IDPs as part of the Nigerian Airforce’s ( NAF ) social responsibility to the people of the state.

Amase explained that the over 200 patients attended to responded to treatment.

He said that the clinic had not received any case beyond the medical team’s capability and commended the efforts of medical doctors from the Benue State University Makurdi for their collaboration.

He, however, disclosed that the major challenge facing the camp was lack of water and poor sanitation system which he said was being addressed.

Reports have it that the NAF is collaborating with the State Government, UNICEF and other international and local organizations to assist the flood victims.

Heavy Rains Render Many Homeless in Benue

Following about four hours of heavy downpour from late Saturday night to the wee hours of Sunday morning, many areas in Makurdi, the capital of Benue State have been left flooded. This includes Atusa, parts of Wadatta, Zone 4, Gana and Nyima.

Punch reports that A staff of the state house of assembly, Mr Tikili Simon said that some of the flooded areas from Zone 4 to Atusa and Gana were mostly affected because of lack of drainage.

According to him, ‘if you move from here to Atusa and the FADAMA area in Nyima which links Gana down to rail track along Barracks road, they are not conducive because there are no drainages’.

“All these places like Gana and Atusa are developing areas within 16 Kilometer radius, so government should do something to make these places habitable”.

Other representatives of the State for environmental issues have also laid the blame on lack of proper drainage channels.

Benue Constitutes Panel to Clear Backlog of Salaries

The Benue State Government has set up a special committee to clear the backlog of salaries owed civil servants.

Gov. Samuel Ortom, said on Friday in Makurdi at a meeting with organised labour, that the committee would work out what was involved and work toward settling it.

He said that the committee would be headed by the Deputy Governor, Mr Benson Abounu, with the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Tony Ijohor, Commissioner for Justice, Mr Mike Gusah and some members of the State Executive Council as members.

Other members include the Chairman, Benue chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr Godwin Anya and his Trade Union Congress counterpart, Ordue Tartenger.

Other are the Chairman, Joint Negotiating Council I, II and III, Mr Philip Nongo, and the Chairman, National Union of Local Government Employees, Mr Terungwa Igbe.

Ortom said that civil servants were the engine room of government, and stressed the need to clear the backlog of salaries so as to motivate them to put in their best.

In their speeches, Anya and Tartenger urged the government to clear the outstanding salaries and strive to ensure that salaries were paid regularly henceforth. (NAN)

Fulani Herdsmen Not Responsible For Attacks – Gov Ortom

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state has explained that Fulani herdsmen are not the ones responsible for the incessant attacks in Nigeria.

He blamed the attacks on herdsmen from Mali, Ghana, Congo and Niger and appealed to the Federal Government to tighten security at borders into the state.

He explained that the foreign herdsmen have been behind the incessant attacks on his people since 2011.

The governor said, “unless they are chased out, it would be hard to maintain peace in the country. “These herdsmen are very destructive and well-armed. They kill women and children on sight.

“They are completely different from the Fulani’s that we have lived and cohabited with over the years.
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“We understand that the herdsmen came from Mali, Ghana, Congo, Niger among others and are killing us every day with impunity. This must stop.

“As we speak, over eight Local Governments have been affected across the state. The situation is really overwhelming,” said the governor.

The governor said that there was no land for grazing in the state, explaining that all lands belong to farmers in the state.

He said that 85 per cent of the state population were farmers and occupied the little available land, adding that it would be difficult to create a grazing reserve in the state.

He suggested that the herdsmen should rather embrace ranches as it was being practiced in developed countries.

Ortom Restates Commitment To Probe Of Suswam, Says He Owes It To The People

Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue on Monday restated his determination to probe the administration of his predecessor, Mr Gabriel Suswam.

Ortom announced this in Makurdi while swearing in three new Special Advisers and said that probing Suswan was one of his responsibilities to people of the state.

According to him, people of Benue voted me into office because of my pledge during the electioneering that I will correct all the wrongs in Suswam’s administration.

“Those who stole public funds must return it or risk going to jail; government has overwhelming evidence against those indicted in the report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry setup by the state.

“Probing the past administration is part of my responsibility to Benue people; the people voted me because of my pledge to correct all the wrongs in the administration of Suswam.

“We must recover all stolen funds in Benue and develop the state with it. We have a lot of evidence against those indicted in the report of the judicial commission of inquiry.

“During my campaign, I told the people that I was going to check and boldly correct all the wrongs in Suswam’s administration.

“My actions in office will determine whether I will win a second tenure or not; 2019 will take care of itself, “ he said.

Ortom charged the new advisers to steer clear of public funds and dare not to convert funds meant for the execution of projects for service delivery and the people’s welfare into private pockets.

“We must be conscious that by probing the previous administration today, ours shall be probed tomorrow,“ he stated.

The new advisers were Mr Matthew Mnyam, Mr Benjamin Ashaver and Mr Richard Gbaden, bringing the total of advisers to the governor to 20.

David Mark Says Over 500 People Killed In Agatu Crisis

Over 500 persons were killed and 10 communities destroyed in the recent crisis in Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State, the immediate past Senate President, Senator David Mark, said.

Mark, in a statement by his media aide, Paul Mumeh, described the attack as ‘barbaric, wicked and inhuman.’

“I’m shocked beyond words at the extent of destruction in Agatu. It is unbelievable, unimaginable. Nothing whatsoever justifies this brazen act of wickedness meted out to the people of Agatu. My heart bleeds,” he said.

Mark, who was on  assessment tour of the communities alongside some members of the national and state assemblies from his  constituency, urged security operatives to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book.

He said that the attacks could not have occurred by accident. He said he suspected an orchestrated   genocide against the people of Agatu.

He told the survivors of the attacks to remain calm and law abiding no matter the level of provocation, just as he assured that the government would intervene to bring succour to them.

Mark advised the people to take advantage of the proposed public hearing by the joint Senate  committee on the crisis to bring the matter to public domain and seek redress.