Ortom, Governor of Benue, defects to PDP

THE NEWSGHOST, NIGERIA – Samuel Ortom, Governor of Benue has announced that he is dumping All Progressives Congress (APC) party for People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

The governor made this announcement today, Wednesday, July 25, 2018, in Makurdi, while speaking to elected local government chairmen and councillors at the government house, report indicates. It happened just some hours after protesting youths in the state barred him from leaving Benue to attend the APC reconciliation meeting.

Governor Ortom’s defection to People’s Democratic Party came after various speculations that he will abandon the All Progressives Congress due to his disagreements with the state and national leadership of the party.

There were major political decisions in Benue in the last few weeks which may have had an impact on the decision of the governor to defect from APC to PDP. One of these was the sacking of over 80 percent of his cabinet members. The most recent is the impeachment of Mr Terkimbi Ikyange, the Speaker of Benue House of Assembly.

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Buhari visits Benue first time since New Year killings

THE NEWSGHOST, NIGERIA – Today, Monday, March 12, 2018, President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari arrived in Benue to console the people of the middle-belt state over the New Year killings.

According to report, the president arrived Benue earlier today at about 10:43am. He was billed to visit Governor Samuel Ortom and the Tor-Tiv, Professor James Ayatse, as well as the victims and stakeholders of the killings which reportedly claimed 73 lives.

Buhari is also expected to visit Exercise Cat Race Camp where military troops on the mission to curb terrorist attack in the region were based and internally displaced persons (IDPs) at Gbajimba, Guma Local Government Area headquarters.

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Benue: Federal government accused of shielding killer-herdsmen

THE NEWSGHOST, NIGERIA – Several ethnic group leaders in Benue have accused the federal government (FG) of Nigeria of protecting the herdsmen behind the recent massacre of around 83 people in the state.

The ethnic group leaders made this known in a joint press briefing in Makurdi yesterday, Tuesday, January 23, 2017, according to report.

On behalf of their respective ethnic groups, Mdzough U Tiv, Idoma National Forum and Omi Ny’Igede, the ethnic group leaders emphasised that all government’s actions since the tragic killings in the state had been on how to appease the aggressors rather than find relief or consolation for the victims.

At the press briefing, Chief Edward Ujege, the President General Mdzough U Tiv said:

‘The most heinous of such appeasement is the Federal Government’s plan for cattle colonies. This approach clearly shows that the Federal Government places higher premium on cattle rather than on human lives.

We have in the past seven years watched with horror how the Federal Government treated the Miyetti Allah and the herdsmen invasion of our state and, indeed, the entire Middle Belt with kids gloves.

Despite the brazen nature of their acts of criminality throughout the Middle Belt, none of the herdsmen has ever been arrested or made to account for these crimes. Instead, they enjoy government protection from arrest or prosecution.

The silence from the federal authorities, after we made appeals to restrain the marauders, emboldened the Miyetti Allah and their gang of killers to invade and massacre over 73 of our people on January 1, 2018 and six in Odonto-Akpa in Otukpo as well as four in Ojapo in Okpokwu local government areas.

Despite public declarations by leadership of Miyetti Allah accepting culpability for the recent massacre as revenge or reprisal over alleged cattle rustling, no arrest has been made, three weeks after the incidents.

We, therefore, categorically reject the cattle colony idea and condemn the manner the Federal Government as well as some governors are trying to politicise the massacre in Benue State.

We detest the indifferent attitude of the northern governors who were expressing support for re-election of President Buhari on the day we were grieving and burying our dead. We take special exception that none of these governors had consoled Benue people, despite our socio-cultural and political affinity.’

The ethni groups rejected Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s committee on herdsmen killings, saying it was ‘diversionary, unnecessary and a waste of time and resources’.

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One nation bound in freedom, peace and unity…

Rather than the greetings of happy New Year, the people of Tomatar, Umenge, and Akor villages in Guma, Ayilamo, Turan Ngambe-Tiev in Logo local government area of Benue were greeted with cries of agony, pain and loss.

From Numan to Barkin-Ladi and Riyom, from southern Kaduna to Awe and Doma in Nasarawa and then to Agatu, Logo and Guma in Benue, all the way through to Odukpani and then to Arochukwu, this group of malicious and murderous herdsmen have been acting out a genocide with complete contempt for human lives.

So much loss! Children have become orphans, women have become widows, mothers and fathers have become childless.

We have watched as the journey from the sanctuary of our homes to our place of productivity, be it farms or shops, have become treacherous routes and our places of safety have become our graves.

The lethal act of these herdsmen goes as far back as 2012 in Yogbo, Guma local government area, where no fewer than 30 women and children were killed. We also saw the 2016 killing of almost 2000 people in Aguta.

The herdsmen related death toll in Benue has grown to almost 3000 and no group has been brought to justice.

During the campaign, yourself and your running mate at the time visited Benue, and even identified with its people by dressing up in their local attire as you all fought for votes. But, the fact that the president or vice president did not deem it fit to attend the mass burial of 73 of its citizens, or even send a representative remains a mystery to me. That the people you swore to serve and protect are now placed second to the commerce of cattle rearing. Now a 4 hour drive from the capital has suddenly become a 3 week journey.

We have watched in complete stupor as the team of doctors and specialists, including the Hon. Minister of Health who was appointed to administer the health of over 180 million Nigerians, the Chief Medical Director of National Hospital, Abuja, and his team, among other experts, dropped all to attend to the ‘sacred cow’ who was in a coma after a motor bike accident. The same government, however, was too busy to send a delegation to mourn with the wailing wailers when they buried their loved ones. Or in the least, send medical help to the injured and dying in Benue.

Genocide is playing before our very eyes. These people are creeping into our communities and taking over, they are settling in communities that once belonged to the people of Benue. Cows are now roaming freely in places where children used to play.

Hatred, rage, anger, bitterness, vengefulness and other dangerous emotions are been sown and carelessly thrown around. They are fanned by malicious elements in the society and the government has failed to pay attention. This government has allowed all this negative feelings take root in an already agitated populace. A wise man said, “you sow the wind, you reap a whirlwind.”

The last line in the second stanza of the National Anthem could not express my opinion better; it speaks of “One Nation, bound in FREEDOM, PEACE AND UNITY”.

We can only be considered as one nation if we are bound by the tents of freedom, when everyone from all parts of the nation know they are free, then we will have peace and that peace will guaranty unity.

The interesting thing about unity is that, unity is one of those things that can never be forced. Like the young man who tells his father, “I may be sitting physically, but I am standing in my mind.” You cannot enforce unity. The people must choose unity.

How can you expect unity in a nation where agitators are arrested and harassed but the perceived injustice that caused the agitation is not addressed?

How can you expect unity in a nation where internationally recognized terrorists and murderers are protected by the government that was voted in by the victims?

How can you, Mr. President, expect unity in a country where murderers roam free and the victims who raise lamentations about their victimization are harassed by those sworn to protect them?

Mr. President, this is unacceptable. You are the president today because the North, South, East and West chose you. At your inauguration, you said, “I BELONG TO NOBODY.” We believed you. Your actions however, do not align with those declarations. Starting with your lopsided appointments to the military actions of your generals in the South-East and other parts of the country.

As the nation stands at the precipice of great division, suspicion, fear and accusations and counter-accusations, you are the umpire of this technical march. Your action or inaction will set you apart as the president who brought unity and kept us together proving your accusers wrong or forever shove you down in history as the Nigerian president that caused the greatest division in our country.

Whatever your decision Sir, history will remember!

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