Agatu Killings: Senator David Mark Alleges Genocide Against His Constituents

The immediate past President of the Senate, Senator David Mark has described as barbaric, wicked and inhuman the massive attacks and destruction of lives and properties in Agatu local government area of Benue State by armed men suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.

He said: “I’m shocked beyond words at the extent of destruction I have seen here in Agatu today. This is unbelievable. It is unimaginable. Nothing whatsoever justifies this brazen act of destruction meted out on the people of Agatu. My heart bleeds.”

Senator Mark, who was on assessment tour of the war ravaged communities along with some members of the National and state Assembly from his Benue South constituency, urged security operatives to do all that was needed to bring the perpetrators to book.

The Senator was of the view that the attacks could not have happened by accident, but a planned and orchestrated genocide against his people of Agatu.

About 10 communities have been raze down to the rubbles, while no fewer than 300 lives have been lost to the recent hostilities.

Some of the villages visited by Senator Mark and his team have been deserted and virtually turned into ghost towns.

The villages are totally bereft of any social or economic activities. All the primary and post primary schools, health centres , worship centres as well as the police station in the area have been burnt down.

What is left of a hitherto boisterous Agatu communities of Aila, Akwu, Adagbo, Okokolo, Ugboju, Odugbeho, Ogbaulu, Egba and Obagaji are the debris of the wreckage.

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

Senator 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.

Only last week Senator Mark through a community leader and former commissioner in Benue state Chief John Ngbede distributed relief materials to the survivors .

The former Senate President had counselled the handlers of the relief materials not to discriminate among political party faithful in the distribution of the relief materials, but to ensure that every one benefited, irrespective of party affiliation.

Items distributed included but not limited to mattresses, bags of rice, salt, indomie noodles, clothes as well as toiletries.

Senator Mark also visited one of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps located in Apa local government area, where he counselled the victims to remain calm as authorities would do the needful to ameliorate their situation.

Some of the survivors and community leaders, including Haruna Bawa from Odugbeho, Yakubu Ameh from Adagbo, Stephen Mathew from Aila and Aduba Abraham from Okokolo in their separate remarks alleged that the Fulani herdsmen invaded their communities shooting and killing every thing on sight.

They, therefore, pleaded with the state and federal governments to intervene and help rebuild the wrecked villages and rehabilitate the survivors.

They lamented that besides the dead, a handful of survivors had lost all means of livelihood, submitting that “life is now worthless here”.

FG Deploys Soldiers To Benue To Stem Violence

The federal government has approved the deployment of soldiers in Benue to end the lingering farmers/herdsmen crisis in the state.

Samuel Ortom, governor of the state, disclosed this in Makurdi, capital of the state, on Friday, while administering oath of office on Cosmos Idye, president, customary court of appeal (CCA), and Augustine Ityonyiman , a high court judge.

He said the invasion of some communities by herdsmen in the state was becoming worrisome, adding that “more local government areas are being attacked on daily basis”.

“As we speak, the Fulanis have started moving out of Agatu to other parts of the state,” he said.

“What we are witnessing today in Benue is more than what happened in the north-east.”

He said Agatu, Logo, Tarka, Buruku, and Kwande were all under attack by the Fulani mercenaries.

Ortom charged the judiciary nationwide to support government anti-corruption crusade through effective and timely dispensation of justice.

Benue South: INEC Declares David Mark Winner

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has declared Senator David Mark of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, winner of the Benue South Senatorial re-run elections which held yesterday.

INEC declared David Mark winner of the Saturday election after defeating his rival, Daniel Onjeh of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

According to INEC, Mark defeated Daniel Onjeh with a total vote cast of 84,192 votes to 71,621.


Help! Save Me! My Life Is Under Threat, David Mark Cries Out

Former senate president, David Mark, has alleged a plot by the deputy governor of Benue State, Benson Abounu, and some chieftains of the All Progressives Congress to assassinate him ahead of Saturday’s rerun in the southern senatorial district.

In a statement by his media aide, Paul Mumeh, on Monday, Mr. Mark said the APC candidate for the election, Daniel Onjeh, through his campaign Director, Okpokwu Ogenyi, in connivance with the deputy governor, had allegedly hired the services of cultists to unleash terror in the district and in the process target him (Mark) for elimination.

The statement said the cultists allegedly hired for the assassination include the notorious supreme Vikings squad from Jos, Plateau State and the dreaded Black Axe in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.

It also said Mr. Mark, who is running on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, had already alerted the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, of the plot by the APC stalwarts in the state to assassinate him.

In a petition to the IGP signed by his counsel, Ken Ikonne, the statement said, the former senate president alleged that Mr. Ogenyi was the arrowhead of the plot.

“It is obvious that Ogenyi knows more about the assassination plot than he has revealed,” the petition said.

“Our client has therefore instructed us to petition you( IGP) to as a matter of urgency apprehend and interrogate Ogenyi to throw more light on the details of this grave assassination plot before he and his associates carry out the dastardly plot.

“Only yesterday, police said to be attached to the State Deputy Governor Benson Abounu fired several gun shots into the family house of Senator Mark in Otukpo.

“No reason was given for the unprovoked attack and no arrest has been made.”

The petition also said a couple of weeks ago, the chairman of the APC in the state, Abbah Yaro, was quoted as saying “if Senator Mark wants, let him win the election in seven out of the nine local government areas but no returning officer born of a woman will dare declare him.”

Also, the Benue State chairman of the PDP, Emmanuel Agbo, had petitioned the police command in the state over the unhealthy political activities of APC ahead of the election.

He also asked the authorities to prevail on them to allow peace reign.

The Police Force Public Relations Officer, Bisi Kolawole, an assistant commissioner, could not be reached as she did not respond to repeated calls to her mobile telephone.