Makurdi, April 16, 2019 Benue Acting Governor, Engr. Benson Abounu, has condemned the recent communal clashes between the Jukuns and Tivs in Benue and Taraba states.
Speaking to newsmen in Makurdi on the outcome of a fact-finding mission to Taraba, Abounu said that the clashes were sparked off by two individuals – one Tiv and the other Jukun.
He said the conflict was “uncalled for and unnecessary”.
The acting governor explained that although the conflict was criminal in nature and involved only the two individuals, the issue later assumed another dimension when several communities got involved resulting to the destruction of property.
“I was a very unfortunate incident; unfortunate in the sense that there was a fracas between two individuals – one Tiv, one Jukun and the Tiv guy was arrested by the police, detained, and later granted bailed.
“For whatever reasons, the Jukun people took offense and felt that the Tiv guy should not have been granted bail and that he should have been taken to Wukari (Taraba state) because he was detained in Gbeji (Ukum LG) somewhere in Benue State.
“So at the end of the day how a criminal issue between two individuals degenerated into a communal clash between the Jukun and Tiv is something we do not understand.
“The crisis took place around Gbeji but at the end it extended to Wukari and to five other areas. Many houses over a stretch of five kilometers were burnt down, properties were destroyed and many shops looted,” he said.
At least, 15 persons were killed on Saturday in a renewed crisis between Jukun and Tiv tribes in Wukari, Taraba State with many houses razed down in the affected communities.
No fewer than seven villages were set ablaze with scores of residents displaced.
The affected areas include Tar-Orshi, Ikyaan Gbaki, Orlumun Nege, Tor-Musa, Ioryina, Kashuan Shanu, and Chonku villages.
According to the acting governor, the Taraba and Benue governments have constituted a committee that will find lasting solutions to clashes between communities in the two states.
He said that the committee was mandated to consult youths from both states and recommend a youth-based solution to the crisis.
“All along leaders discuss, come to agreement and sign communiques and at the end of the day the trouble persists.
“So this time around, we decided that the committee will consult youths from both states; let them suggest to us how to solve this crisis.
“If there are underlying issues that are not known to the authorities the youths should feel free to let us know,” Abounu said.
Benue LG polls: PDP Chairman says party’s victory not a surprise
The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue, Mr John Ngbede, said the party’s overwhelming victory at the council polls on May 30 didn’t come to him as a surprise.
Ngbede disclosed this in an interview with newsmen on Monday in Makurdi.
The party won 23 Chairmanship positions out of 23. Also, it won 276 Councillorship positions out of 276.
The chairman noted that the party deserved the landslide victory because it worked assiduously for it, which manifested on Saturday.
“We campaigned seriously without relenting. No political party in the state campaigned apart from PDP.
“We followed all the processes of election beginning with the congresses.
“Some political parties did not buy forms. Even the ones that bought forms they did not campaign at all. So, what did they expect,” he queried.
He also said that Benue residents voted massively for the party 8because Gov. Samuel Ortom was performing wonders for the state.
“The milestones recorded by the governor went a long way in winning votes for the party.
“He has completed a lot of projects which were started by his predecessor.
“He also initiated new ones and some of them have been completed while others are on the verge of completion and others ongoing,” Ngbede said.
PDP sweeps Benue LG polls
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has won all the electoral positions contested in the Local Government Council polls held on May 30 in Benue.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the elections were conducted in 23 local government councils across 276 council wards of the state.
The elections, which were adjudged by a team of election observers led by Ibrahim Sheka from Kano, as having low turn out, featured five political parties.
The five parties were; Social Democratic Party (SDP), Accord Party (AP), Africa Action Congress (AAC), All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Labour Party (LP) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while the main opposition political party, the APC boycotted the exercise.
Loko commended the BSIEC officials for the smooth conduct of the polls and directed all elected chairmen and councilors to report to the commissions office in Makurdi on June 1, for their Certificates of Return.
Edited By: Philip Dzeremo and Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)
Benue LG polls: Observers attribute low turn out to COVID-19
Sheka told newsmen on Saturday in Makurdi after monitoring the elections in some parts of Makurdi town, that the conduct was smooth but blamed the poor turnout on the fear of COVID-19.
Sheka lauded officials of the electoral umpire and the electorate for observing COVID-19 rules.
Also speaking after the monitoring exercise, the Chairman, Benue State Independent Electoral Council (BSIEC), Mr Joseph Loko, commended the electorate for orderliness during the polls.
Loko also commended BISEC officials for the “smooth conduct of Local Government Election in the state”.
Loko said collation of results would soon begin and expressed optimism that there would be no commotion at the end.
“So far, there has been no incidence of violence anywhere,” he said.
He also attributed voters apathy to palpable fears of COVID-19.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the polls did not hold in most designated polling units within and outside Makurdi, the state capital.
NAN reports that markets, including business outlets, were opened within the voting hours and no restriction placed on vehicular movement.
Edited By: Philip Dzeremo/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)
Benue LG polls: Gov. Ortom votes, urges voters to leave after voting
Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue has advised people who turned out to vote in the state Local Government Council elections on Saturday to leave the polling units as soon as they voted to guard against the spread of Covid-19.
Ortom gave the advice on Saturday in Gbajimba, headquarters of Guma Local Government Area of the state after casting his vote at the LGEA Primary School polling unit, Gbajimba.
“Vote and leave in order to give room for other electorate to also exercise their franchise.
“The Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC) has directed that in order to guard against the spread of Covid-19 only 30 electorate will be allowed at the polling units at a time.
“So, if you vote, you have to leave to allow others too to come and vote.
“I have the confidence that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will win overwhelmingly because in most of the local government areas, the candidates are unopposed.
Meanwhile, correspondents of the News Agency of Nigeria who monitored the polls in Makurdi, Kwande, parts of Gboko and Gwer Local Government Councils report that the polls were marred by voter apathy.
NAN reports that the polls had not commenced in any of the polling units within Makurdi metropolis as at 12 noon.
At Kanshio Primary School polling unit, located in the suburb of Makurdi,electoral officials were seen conducting the polls.
An electoral officer, Ms Priscilla Ikyer, in charge of the unit, lamented the absence of voting materials especially, ink pad, ballot boxes and stamp.
An aide to Gov. Ortom, Mr Orngu Anngu, who also voted at the unit, commended the officials for ” the peaceful and professional manner the election is being conducted”.
He also commended security officials for securing the polling unit and assured that his party would win overwhelmingly.
Orngu, however, regretted that polling unit officials were not properly kitted against Covid-19.
” They are not wearing face masks and other protective kits,” he said.
At Ikpayongo market, an accredited PDP agent in Mbasombo ward, Mr Terfa Uleve, who was cited wearing the party’s tag while displaying his wares at the market, alleged that “since there is no election, I returned to the market to sell my wares.
Reacting to the non availability of electoral materials, the Public Relations Officer of the Benue Independent Electoral Commission (BISEC), Ms Mavis Toryem, said the commission would address its shortcomings.
Edited By: Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)
Police deploy 5,200 personnel for LG polls in Benue
Nigeria Police Command in Benue said it had deployed 5,200 personnel for Saturday, May 30 Local Government Elections in the state.
Anene said that in spite of the council polls, the 8p.m to 6a.m national curfew for COVID-19, still stands in the state.
She explained that voting would begin from 8a.m and end by 6p.m on Saturday.
She said that the State Commissioner of Police, Mr Mukaddas Garba, has assured the electorate of adequate security of lives and property during and after the polls.
Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Felix Ajide (NAN)
EFCC arrest Benue vigilante commandant over alleged N449.5m fraud
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested Mr George Mbessey, the Commandant, Benue State Vigilante Group (BSVG), following a petition over alleged conspiracy, abuse of office and diversion of N449.5 million public funds.
The EFCC Makurdi Zonal Office Head of Media and Publicity, Mr Dele Oyewale said in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeira on Friday in Makurdi.
According to Oyewale, Mbessey was arrested by operatives of the EFCC on Wednesday in Makurdi.
”The petitioners state that the BSVG receives its official funding of N20 million monthly directly from the Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs through official account.
“Between October 2018 and May 2020, the suspect allegedly collected funds meant for the group to the tune of N449.5 million, using personal account.
”An act they claim did not follow due process, hence, the petition to the EFCC,” the commission spokesperson said.
He further disclosed that the suspect has already volunteered useful information to the commission and would be arraigned in court as soon as investigation was concluded.
Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)
LGA polls in Benue, Police deploys 5,200 personnel
The Police Command in Benue has deployed 5,200 officers for the May 30 local government council polls in the state.
“As a result, we liaise with other security agencies and raised 5,200 personnel for the election.
“They will man the polling units and streets from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
“The restriction of movement from 8:00p.m. to 6:00a.m. as a result of COVID-19 still stands.
“The restriction of movement has not changed.
“The command will give Personal Protective Equipment to the personnel deployed for the election,” she said.
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
APC to boycott Benue councils poll
The All Progressive Congress (APC) says it will not participate in the May 30 local government councils election in Benue.
Mr James Orngunga the state acting APC Publicity Secretary said this in a statement in Makurdi on Friday.
“This is to inform the general public that the APC is not party to the kangaroo local government election which is already programmed to handpick and declare all PDP candidates winners.
“Our party was prepared for the election and submitted a list of validly nominated candidates but unfortunately, the Benue State Independent Electoral Commission(BSIEC) acting the script of the State Government declared all our candidates as not properly nominated hence, disqualified.
“The matter is still in court but we have been excluded and APC shall not feature on the ballot tomorrow for any position,” he said.
He further called on party supporters in the state not to waste their time going to vote because the process lacked credibility.
“We also urge all APC candidates who were illegally disqualified not to express any regret as those who won chairmanship and councillorship elections in the state since 2017 are still owed various shades of allowances till date.
“Our party is regrouping and strategising for victory in 2023 and shall not be deterred by every ill- treatment accorded us this moment,” he said.
The last council poll in the state was held in 2017 and the two year tenure of the elected officials expired in June 2019.
Edited By: Benson Iziama/ Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)
LG polls: Benue PDP chairman optimistic of victory
Mr John Ngbede, Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue, has expressed hope of overwhelming victory for the party during the forthcoming local council election in the state.
Ngbede expressed optimism on Thursday in Makurdi while speaking to newsmen after an expanded caucus meeting of the party.
He said the PDP in Benue was prepared to convincingly win the May 30 council election in all the council areas.
According to him, the party has positively touched the lives of Benue people and has strong hopes to earn their support.
“We are fully ready for the election, we are hopeful of winning overwhelmingly, we are sure of massive support from the electorate,” he said.
Ngbede urged Benue people to adhere strictly to all COVID-19 preventive measures during the election.
“Avoid overcrowding, respect all measures put in place by the election body,” he said.
Edited By: Azubuike Okeh/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)
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