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.

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”.

Buhari Orders Investigation Of Benue Violence

The federal government of Nigeria has ordered an immediate investigation into the latest killings in Agatu, Benue State by suspected Fulani cattle rearers.

A statement on Sunday by Presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, said President Buhari expressed deep shock at the latest incidents during the past week, which had led to hundreds of deaths in four communities in Agatu, Benue State.

He ordered security agencies to get to the root causes of the problem.

“We will act immediately. We will conduct an investigation to know exactly what happened. The only way to bring an end to the violence once and for all is to look beyond one incident and ascertain exactly what factors are behind the conflicts,” he said.

President Buhari stressed that all Nigerians must learn to live together as one, in peace and unity.

He said, “We are all one nation and one people. There should not be any reason why Nigerians of any group or tongue cannot now reside with one another wherever they find themselves after decades of living together.”

The President further expressed condolences to the government and people of Benue State, particularly the people of the Agatu communities, assuring them that the government would do everything possible to ensure that no such incident ever occurred in their midst again.