Benue House Of Assembly Summons Governor Ortom Over Killings

The Benue State House of Assembly has suspended sitting for one week, and summoned Governor Samuel Ortom after another church – in Logo Government Area – was reportedly attacked.

Seven persons were said to have been killed in the attack on Wednesday night, a day after 19 persons including two priests were killed at a Catholic church in Gwer East Local Government Area of the state.

The Assembly summoned the governor based on a motion moved by Mr Lanna Jato after the lawmaker representing Logo constituency, Kester Kyenge, told his colleagues that another church in his constituency was attacked. The police have yet to confirm the attack.

Based on the motion, the governor is to appear before the lawmakers on May 2 to brief them about the security situation.

Before debating the killings and resolving to summon Governor Ortom, the lawmakers held a minute of silence for those murdered in the attacks.

Some of the All Progressives Congress lawmakers, call for the boycott of the planned APC congresses in protest of what they described as the failure of the party and President Muhammadu Buhari to effectively check the criminal activities of herdsmen.

Hours after the attack and murder of the priest and worshippers at the Catholic church in Gwer East LGA, gunmen had struck a community in Guma LGA and killed 13 people before a third attack was said to have taken place at the church in Logo LGA on Wednesday night.

The continued killings have led to outrage across the country and the House of Representatives and the Senate have summoned President Buhari to brief lawmakers on the killings and what the Federal Government is doing to halt it.

Beyond that, the House of Representatives called for the sacking of the service chiefs for failing to secure the country against attacks and killings.

On Thursday, the National Economic Council weighed in on the killings and called for a ban on the movement of herdsmen in the five states affected the most – Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Kaduna, and Zamfara.

The NEC said the best way to rear cattle was through ranching and urged the affected states to provide land for ranching.

Herdsmen Attack: Samuel Ortom Urges Residents To Support Security Officials

Governor of Benue state, Samuel Ortom appealed to residents of the state in Naka, Gwer West Local Government Arear (LGA) to support the security personnel to enable them put an end to the incessant attacks on people by herdsmen in the country.

He insisted that the attacks were becoming more daring as security personnel have lost their lives in the attack by Fulani Herdsmen.

“Just Monday a soldier was killed at Tyulen, in Guma LGA of the state.

“People are being killed and even security men sent here to maintain law are not spared. Since these attacks began January this year, 11 policemen, three Civil Defence officers had been killed.

“We must not allow this barbaric act to continue to prevail on our people. This is not right.

“This is not right. We must respect rule of law. When people violate the law and there is no sanction, it results to impunity and cannot allow impunity to continue in this state,’’ he said.

He lamented that the attacks were gradually turning to impunity and if impunity was allowed to continue unabated it would deteriorate to anarchy.

The Chairman, Gwer West Local Government Council of Chiefs, Chief Daniel Abomtse said that 24 persons were killed on Thursday attack on Mbapa, Mbapupuu, Mbachohon, and Enger, all in Agagbe District in Gwer-West LGA.

According to Abomtse, one person was abducted on Monday by the herdsmen along Makurdi – Naka road, and taken to an unknown destination.

He said the herdsmen were camping at Nyiti near Makurdi where they usually come with their cattle to block the Makurdi – Naka road in wait of their victims who ply the road.

The Council Chairman, Gwer West LGA, Mr Francis Ayaga appreciated the governor for his deep concern for the people of the area by visiting them without much ado.

Ayaga also commended him for signing the Anti-Open Grazing Law 2017, stressing that it was the only panacea to the incessant attacks between farmers and Fulani herdsmen in the state.


Ibrahim Idris Has No Right To Direct Us- Benue, Taraba And Ekiti Govs

The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris had, last week, advised state Governors to establish cattle ranches before implementing anti-grazing laws to avert conflict between farmers and herdsmen.

The Governors of Benue, Ekiti, and Taraba states, which are currently implementing anti-grazing laws in their states, have said the IG, has no right to direct them on how to make the legislation work.

Governors Samuel Ortom (Benue); Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti) and Darius Ishaku (Taraba) asked Idris to implement the law instead of giving them lectures on how to pacify the herdsmen.

Ekiti won’t provide ranches for herdsmen – Fayose

Fayose, who is the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party Governors’ Forum, specifically said the IG had no power to order state governors around.

He also said the IG was under an obligation to obey and ensure compliance with laws made by any state’s House of Assembly.

The governor, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, insisted that the state would not heed the advice of the police chief.

He said, “The Inspector-General of Police has no choice than to obey the laws made by any state. It is the duty of the police to enforce the law. Cattle rearing is regarded as a private business and it is not the duty of the governors to provide land for the herders.

“The real cattle owners are rich people who can afford land; they are not the nomads you see following cattle from the North to the South.”

Our pilot scheme ranches not to pacify herders – Ishiaku

Speaking in a similar vein, the Taraba State governor maintained that his anti-grazing law was not the cause of the killings being perpetrated by the herdsmen in the state.

Rather, he said the law remained one of the solutions to end the unwarranted massacre of law-abiding people in the state.

Ishaku, who spoke through his Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Emmanuel Bello, said the law in Taraba State was promulgated to put a stop to incessant attacks and killings by the herders.

He said, “We have already enacted a law, but we are still prepared to listen to any good idea that brings about peace and mutual understanding among stakeholders.”

Bello explained that the state government was planning a pilot scheme on the creation of ranches to demonstrate that the global practice was also achievable in the country.

Go and challenge our law in court, Ortom tells IG

Similarly, the Benue State governor, who spoke through the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Lawrence Onoja Jr., challenged Idris to approach the court if he was not comfortable with the implementation of the law.

Onoja said, “Ibrahim Idris’ directive to state governors to establish ranches before operating grazing laws is totally against the Nigerian constitution and the act that established the Nigeria Police.

“It is not his duty and he does not have power to direct governors. The police are not to interpret the law but to enforce it. Therefore, it is not for the IG to determine whether a law is right or wrong. It is the duty of the judiciary to interpret laws. If a law is passed and the IG feels it is not good enough, the best thing to do is to challenge the law in the court for interpretation”.

The commissioner maintained that ranching remained a lucrative private business and that it would be wrong for anyone to advocate that government should establish ranches for herdsmen or whoever that is venturing into such a business.


Buhari Condemns Benue Attacks, Condoles With Residents

President Muhammadu Buhari has commiserated with Governor Samuel Ortom and people of Benue State over the reported killings, injury of several persons and wanton destruction of property in Guma and Logo Local Government Areas of the state in the New Year.

Describing the attack as “wicked and callous” particularly on innocent children, the President in a statement by his senior special assistant media, Garba Shehu assured the governor and people of the state that relevant security agencies have been directed to do everything possible to arrest those behind the regrettable incidents and avert further attacks.

“This is one attack too many, and everything must be done to provide security for the people in our rural communities,” he said. President Buhari also commiserated with families of the victims and wished the injured speedy healin

PDP Berates Benue Gov, Ortom On Alleged Plan To Sack Workers

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Benue State chapter, has warned the Governor Samuel Ortom, over his alleged plan to sack thousands of civil servants.

The party said it was a clear indication that the Ortom administration has turned full cycle against the very people that voted it into power.

This was disclosed by the publicity secretary of the PDP Benue State chapter, Bemgba Iortyom, in an interview with newsmen in Abuja, yesterday.

According to Iortyom, “To hide their unprecedented inadequacies, Governor Ortom and his lackeys have been going about heaping all blames for their failure to pay workers their entitlements, on the doorsteps of the revered former governor, Dr. Gabriel Suswam, but the people of Benue know better, as they will not forget the fact that the immediate past administration had taken it upon itself to increase workers salary even before the national minimum wage bill was signed into law by the federal government. These, he did when he increased it from N4,800 to N8,500.

“As anyone could easily find out, this salary increase by Suswam was not solicited or demanded by labour or from any quarters. The then governor did so owing to his trademark humane nature, to enhance the wellbeing of workers considering the economic realities of the time.”

“And why are other governors that earn far less than Benue State in statutory allocation, and who have more civil servants not sacking their workers? For us, the whole thing is down to the desperate need to corner as much resources as possible, to prepare for the forthcoming general election in 2019, and it is as unfortunate as it is thoroughly callous.”

Iortyom urged Governor Ortom to borrow a leaf from the Suswam administration, which, according to him, adopted standardised administrative practices to prudently manage the salaries and wages of workers in the employment of the state government.

“Anything short of this by the Ortom administration would amount to a gross violation of the oath of office it took. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the main opposition party in Benue State, stands with the impoverished workers of the state, and will strongly resist the planned move to sack the workers of the state,” the PDP scribe added.

Benue Anti-grazing Law: Herdsmen to Move 10 Million Cows to Nasarawa

Following the enactment of the anti-grazing bill by Samuel Ortom-led Benue State Government, about 10 million cows owned by members of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN )will have to be moved from Benue to the neighbouring Nasarrawa State, Awe Local Government.

According to the Chairman of the association, the association was collaborating with the Nigerian Army, the police and other relevant stakeholders in Nasarawa State to forestall any breakdown of law and order.

Chiding Governor Ortom for not finding alternative means of grazing for herdsmen before enacting the anti-grazing bill the MACBAN Chairman reportedly told journalist that, “Our major problem is fear of our cows, particularly since farmers have yet to harvest their crops from their farms.

“We are in difficult situation. We are trying our best to ensure that peace reigns between us and the host community in Awe.”

A farmer in Awe, Abigail Bitraus , said she had to quickly rush to her farm to harvest her rice when she heard about the cattle being moved in by the herdsmen; even though, it was not the appropriate time to do so.

She said, “The large number of Fulani herdsmen and their cows scare me. When I learnt that they were relocating from Benue State to Nasarawa State, I had to rush to my farm to harvest my rice.”

Whereas, Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State said he had already set up a committee in all the local government areas adjoining Benue State to monitor the movement and the migration of the Fulani herdsmen, warning that the destruction of farmlands and attacks on homes would not be tolerated.

JUST IN: Gov. Ortom Declares Prohibition Of Open Grazing In Benue

Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, has announced prohibition of open grazing in the state.

The governor made this declaration in a broadcast aired Wednesday morning in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, to mark the commencement of the implementation of the Anti-Open Grazing Law.

The governor called on everyone residing in Benue State, who is into cattle or livestock business to abide by the new law.

His speech reads in full:

Fellow Nigerians and Benue citizens.

Today, first November 2017, marks the beginning of the prohibition of open grazing in Benue State. I call on all citizens residing in Benue State who is into cattle or livestock business to abide by this law.

There is no more open grazing in Benue State. All those who are interested in doing livestock business must ranch their livestock, otherwise, the law will catch up with them. Let me appeal to all citizens to be law abiding.

No one should take laws into his hands. We have put in place adequate machinery to enforce the law.

Where there are trespasses or infringements of the law, report to the appropriate quarters and it will be duly handled by the team put in place. I want to appeal to all of us to be law abiding.

The law seeks to protect farmers and herdsmen alike. The law seeks to ensure peace for all citizens. The law is not targeted at any individual or group of people or any ethnic group.

All of us must team together and work to ensure the success of this law.

We have suffered hardship, we have suffered pains, we have suffered sorrow. We have lost so much from both sides and we cannot allow this to continue as leaders with the responsibility of providing security for lives and property.

I want all citizens to join hands with Government to ensure that we adopt this method of ranching which is the global best practice for all those in livestock business all over the world.



Source: My Nation

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.”

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……

Buhari On Benue Flood, Orders Immediate Support For Over 100,000 Victims

President Muhammadu Buhari has spoken on the flood in Benue State that has displaced about 100,000 people, according to official estimates.

In a statement on Friday, presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, said Mr. Buhari “has received with great concern reports of the flooding in Benue State, which, according to early estimates, has affected thousands of homes and displaced more than 100,000 persons in 12 local government areas.”

“Consequently, the president has directed the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to immediately mobilise personnel and resources to come to the aid of the victims of the flooding.

The president is closely monitoring the situation, and will be receiving regular updates on the scale of the disaster, as well as the federal government’s humanitarian response.

“The president extends his sympathies to the government and people of Benue State, and assures that the federal government will make available any assistance needed to enable the state government and the affected communities cope with and surmount the impact of the flooding,” Mr. Shehu said.

Speaking on the flood, Mr. Ortese told the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Makurdi that places affected included Achusa, Idye, Wurukum Market, Genabe, Industrial Layout, Demekpe, Wadata Market, Katungu, behind the Civil Service Commission, Agboughul-Wadata among others.

“In Achusa, 200 houses were affected with 5,125 persons displaced. In Idye 217 houses were affected while 5,200 persons were displaced.

“Also, behind the Civil Service Commission 200 houses were submerged in flood and 5,777 persons were displaced,” he said.

Benue is not among the states the fedearl government announced would receive N1.6 billion each to mitigate the impact of floods in their state. The directive to give the money to the 16 states was given by the then acting president, Yemi Osinbajo, in July.

Officials in beneficiary states such as Plateau, however, say they are yet to receive the money, which was supposed to be taken from the Ecological Fund and disbursed through the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, to the affected states.

Officials in Benue, however, say the state should be included among the beneficiaries due to is experience with flood this year.

Ortom Begs Labour Over Strike Ultimatum

Barely two days to the ultimatum given to the Benue State Government by the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress Benue State chapter, to clear the Backlogs of salaries owed workers or faced industrial action, governor Samuel Ortom yesterday appealed to Labour not to embark on strike but still give him little time.

Ortom who spoke with newsmen shortly after a meeting with labour leaders at the new banquet hall , government house, Makurdi explained that his administration is working hard towards addressing the problem of salary arrears.

The governor explained that since 2015, the state has been having short fall in federal allocation the situation, he said had affected the running of government.

He promised that his government will not rest on its oars to explore necessary avenues to raise money  to settle all the arrears of salaries and pension allowances.

“Since we came into office, we have been having short fall in monthly federal allocation and as a result of this, we declared state of emergency on salary payment, we are making moved to get funds to settle the salary arrears.”

“Part of the efforts is the on going modified table payment been headed by the deputy governor and we are sure that at the end of the screening exercise we will get it right, because already we have recover over N500million from the screening exercise”.

The state chairman  Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Godwin Anya also told newsmen that, the state governor enumerated  his challenges to labour leaders but we will first of all meet with the union state executives where decision would be taken whether to embark on strike or not.

it could be recalled that the state chapter of Nigeria Labor Congress, NLC, on August 4th, 2016  gave the state up to August ending to clear the backlogs of salary arrears owed state workers or face industrial action.

This was Part of the communique issued at the end of the meeting.

“SEC in session exhaustively deliberated on the issue regarding members welfare, most especially the non payment of salary arrears, pensions and gratuity, as well as the prompt payment of same by the Benue State Government.

The salary situation has brought untold hardship on our members, leading to inability of workers and pensioners, to meet their obligations like food, payment of children’s school fees, settlement of medical bills and even death of some members.”

the State Government should conclude all the ongoing screening exercise on or before 31st August, 2017, and clear all outstanding arrears of salaries, pensions and gratuity; “Pay salaries, pensions and gratuity as at when due”  adding that failure  to meet the demands, the Organized Labour will be forced to embark on an indefinite strike”