I’ve Not Abandoned You – Buhari Tells Benue People

President Muhammadu Buhari has blamed the Inspector General of Police, Idris Abubakar over the continuous killings in Benue State.

The President said this while faulting the notion in some quarters that he had abandoned the people of Benue State.

Buhari said he had the people of the state at heart and will not abandon them.

The president made this remark on Tuesday during a condolence visit to the state.

According to him, “The problem in Benue started worsening because the IGP refused to follow my instruction.
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“It is wrong to think I have abandoned the people of Benue. I still have at heart.

“I thank the governor and the people of the state for receiving me.

“We have deployed security agencies to make sure the clashes between farmers and end as soon as possible.”

Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom in his remarks urged President Muhammadu Buhari to upgrade the ongoing military exercise in the state tagged “Ayem Akpatema”, to a wider operation to effectively curb herdsmen attacks.

“If the exercise is upgraded to a wider operation, it will assist greatly in ending the incessant attacks and senseless killings by herdsmen,” he said

He urged Benue people to learn to live in peace with other people.

Ortom said that many states were currently involved in massive cultivation of rice, and urged his people to join the trend.

The governor reiterated his call for the arrest of the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, alleging that the body was responsible for the killings in Benue.

Ortom maintained that ranching was the best option for cattle breeding in Nigeria, and advised herdsmen to embrace it so as to minimise the clashes caused by open grazing.

He also called on the federal government to take over the management of the Benue University Teaching Hospital, College of Education, Katsina-Ala and Benue Polytechnic, Ugbokolo.

Malam Shetima Mohammed, a representative of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Benue Chapter, however, denied responsibility for the Benue attacks.

“Our association is a peace loving one and the exact opposite of what is being portrayed,” he declared.

 

Seven Nigerian Govs To Visit Buhari Tomorrow

Seven governors are set to travel to London to visit Nigeria’s ailing President, Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday.

This was disclosed by three presidential spokespersons, Femi Adesina, Garba Shehu and Laolu Akande, at a media briefing in Abuja.

The governors are to be led by Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara and include governors of Ebonyi, Kano, Benue, Borno, Akwa Ibom, and Oyo.

The visit comes a few days after some APC leaders and governors visited the president on Sunday.

Mr. Buhari had on that July 23 met with the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and some governors elected on the party’s platform.

A statement by the presidency, which provided a photograph of the event, gave the names of those who met with the president to include Governors Rochas Okorocha of Imo, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa, Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna, Yahaya Bello of Kogi, and the APC National Chairman, John Oyegun.

Femi Adesina, the special adviser to the president on media and publicity, later quoted Governor Okorocha as describing Mr. Buhari as cheerful and humorous during the meeting held at Nigeria House in London.

Mr. Adesina also quoted the Imo governor as saying, “By our visit to London today, the merchants of lies have been put out of business and Nigerians will not buy the garbage they have been selling.

“All those who look up to fake news can find better use for their time.”

Mr. Buhari, whose real medical condition is unknown, has been in London for over 70 days for medical treatment.

His deputy, Yemi Osinbajo, recently visited him in the British capital, reporting back to Nigerians that the nation’s number one man was recuperating fast and would return soon.

Ortom Challenges Whistle-blowers

Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom has charged residents of the state to swiftly ‘blow the whistle’ if they have any case of corruption against him and members of his cabinet.

During the children dedication and thanksgiving service organised by Pastor Daniel Unongo, the Government House Chaplain, whose wife delivered a set of twins after 18 years of marriage, Ortom said, “I have tried to run an open and transparent administration. Anyone with a case of corruption against me or any of my officials should blow the whistle and get the approved five per cent reward.

Ortom also spoke out to his critics to watch and see the success of his administration.

He siad “Those insulting and criticising me should wait, watch and see what will happen when I complete my tenure.

“At the moment, I am owing four months salaries and we are believing God that the issue of non-payment of salaries or delay will soon become history.

“ Ours is not the worst; we have states owing workers seven months and even beyond. But, we shall try to tackle the issue”.

Samuel Ortom, Terrorism In Benue State And Other Matters, By Michael Apeh

The seemingly extra ambitious governor of Benue State, His Excellency Samuel Ortom may be gold in the eyes of many, but let us remember the ever correct and tested statement; ‘not all that glitters is gold’.

Terrorism, foreign trips and absenteeism from important meetings regarding issues staring the state in its face is the style of governance adopted by the governor.

If we can remember, the notorious king of the forest, popularly known as ‘Gana’, was kept far away from Benue State in the previous administration of Suswam, only to surface from the forests of Taraba/Cameroon when he was invited by power thirsty political animals to deliver their party, APC, in the April 2015 elections.

Senator George Akume and Barnabas Gemade contracted Gana with the promise of a seat in the House of Assembly, which would be reserved for one of Gana’s several wives. Fair enough deal if you ask me, but was the promise kept? NO.

To compensate the now angry, wild and dreaded Gana, The new governor of Benue State handed Gana the cash cow of the state – Agriculture. Gana collected revenues of N30,000,000.00 monthly from Agric produce and remitted about N10,000,000.00 to the State. Everyone was happy until things went south. Now his Excellency Governor Ortom wants Gana dead.

You may wonder why the romance between the governor and Gana went sour, but the reasons are not far-fetched.

After heavily empowering Gana with office of the special assistant to the governor on security and giving him two pickup loads of security men to guard him day and night, His Excellency has suddenly realized that Gana knows too much of his various shady deals.

Let us also critically look at the issue of amnesty in Benue State.

For the purpose of curiosity, one would wonder if His Excellency Governor Samuel Ortom can let everyone know how much this whole Amnesty sham cost the State.

You ask people/militants to surrender their arms with the promise of a better future, which is yet to be redeemed after so many months. Can we then ask what happened to the funds allocated for this course?

Where are the recovered arms?

His Excellency picked out Gana, empowered him with so much money to buy new sophisticated arms, and left the other militants hanging.

Now in a desperate bid to silence him, a rival group from Abaji was commissioned and paid heavily, which led to the killing of 12 out of 13 men who were in a meeting strategizing on how to get Gana. Till date, we are yet to find out who carried out those killings, but the answers seem to lie in the hands of Governor Ortom and Tewase (Gana).

In two years, so many of the governor’s cronies have been arraigned and charged with murder cases, for example, the special adviser on special duties, Joe Kyaagba, who served three months in jail and was bailed by His Excellency and is still standing trial.

Another sad issue I want my people to look at is Ortom and the award of contracts in Benue State. In a country where corruption is the order of the day and sincerity meant only for fools, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the number one man of a state awards himself contracts meant for the good of the citizens, but then again for how long do we intend to continue like this?

We would expect that with the current song of change filling our airwaves, the governor of Benue State will at least lead by example. But No, the reverse is the case.

In July 2015, His Excellency Governor Samuel Ortom awarded a contract of N540,000,000.00 to Oracle Business Limited for the supply of 30 units of Toyota Prado SUVs for the government house.

Can we ask who owns Oracle Business Limited? Can it be the same company His Excellency set up with N2,000,000.00 a couple of years back?

Not stopping there, the insatiable governor went ahead to award a N4.7 Billion road contract to M/S Tongyi new international construction company Limited, a company supposedly owned by his private secretary, Mr. Stephen Amase.

The payments made to Mr. Amase’s company were done without the payment of the mandatory 10 percent handling charge.

It may interest you to know that this same company was registered in August 2015 with Ruth Amase, Dooshima, Sedoo, Tavershima, and Wuese Amase as its directors.

We also gathered that all printers in Benue State have refused to pay tax to the state government for the lack of patronage, no thanks to Oracle Business Limited, which gets all the printing jobs and more.

On a final note, let us remember that those who the gods want to punish, they first make mad.

Michael Apeh wrote this piece from Makurdi, Benue State.