Court Stops EFCC Investigation Into Benue Govt’s Finances

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to stop further investigations into the finances of the Benue State Government pending the hearing and determination of the suit filed by the state.

Although all the parties were represented in court by their counsel, the vacation judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, insisted that he needs to study the case file, as it was coming to him for the first time.

Subsequently, he adjourned the hearing of the suit to August 29, 2018, after issuing a preservative order, warning all the parties to desist from taking further steps that would destroy the subject matter of the case before the court.

The EFCC had frozen the accounts of the state government domiciled in three banks on August 7, saying it was investigating alleged abuse of the state’s security votes.

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Soldiers Kill 21 Suspected Herdsmen In Benue

Troops of the Military Operation code-named Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) have killed 21 suspected herdsmen along the Gbajimba-Akor-Tomata axis of Guma Local Government Area of Benue State in the last three weeks.

The Force Commander of OPWS, Major General Adeyemo Yekini, confirmed this on Monday at a press briefing in the state.

According to him, the herdsmen were killed in two separate operations on August 4 and last Saturday, August 18.

He, however, noted that one soldier was killed in the process and two others injured.

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EFCC Persecution Becoming Ridiculous, Says Ortom

Benue Governor, Samuel Ortom, says the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has subjected State government officials to intense grilling, saying that the persecution was becoming “ridiculous”.

Ortom’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr Terver Akase, who raised the alarm on Wednesday in Makurdi, said “no day passes without the commission adding one more angle to their harassment of Benue officials.

“Their latest move is the demand for minutes of the Benue State Security Council meetings.”

Querying the legality of their request, Akase asked “does the statutory mandate of the commission include regulation of states’ security affairs?”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some of the State legislators were currently answering questions at the EFCC over their involvement in a car purchase deal since the beginning of the incumbent administration.

Ortom had also raised alarm that the anti-graft agency was probing his security spendings and demanded that it should cover all governors and the presidency.


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Ex NTA Newscaster Joins Benue Governorship Race

Dr. Sam Abah, a former newscaster with the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), on Friday joined the race for the Benue governorship seat in the 2019 general elections.

Abah, who also worked with the Adamawa State Radio Corporation, is seeking the seat on the platform of the United Progressives Party (UPP).

Speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) after declaring his ambition in Makurdi, Abah said that he was not happy about the worsening Benue economy and was keen on harnessing its resources to make it Nigeria’s economic capital.

He also promised to involve more youths in running the state, pointing out that the state needed their energy and ideas to move forward.

The veteran journalist and author regretted that the huge intellectual capital that abound in the state was wasting away, and promised to convene an economic summit where all Benue people would contribute ideas towards its growth.

Abah promised to turn the Benue Government House into a youth centre where people would be trained in various skills and equipped to explore the vast business opportunities in the state.

“Regrettably, today, the Benue youths are outside of the Government House, trying to go in.

For us to develop and free ourselves from the shackles of poverty, the youths should actually be in the Government House and running the economy,” he said.

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ADP Condemns Invasion Of Benue Assembly, Clamp Down On National Assembly

The Action Democratic Party (ADP) has condemned the invasion of the Benue State Assembly by some lawmakers who wanted to truncate a democratically elected government.
ADP described the action to illegally topple elected government in the state, alarmed in a statement issued in Lagos on Monday by the Lagos State Publicity Secretary of the Party, Prince Adelaja Adeoye, that Nigeria democracy is gradually sliding into anarchy.
Political tension heightened on Monday in Benue state as eight members out of the 30 lawmakers in the state assembly moved a motion for the impeachment of the state governor, Samuel Ortom.
The move came barely a week after the governor dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to join another party. ADP said it is clear that APC has failed and can no longer provide any meaningful leadership in the country, reason why many if it’s members are dumping it.
Describing the action of the lawmaker as a threat to democracy, ADP accused President Muhammadu Buhari-led government of clamping on the governor for leaving APC as Police force had allegedly earlier in the day allegedly laid siege on the legislative chamber.
The Party frowned at the development as politics taken too far and must be condemned by all Nigerians and stakeholders who practice democratic government across the world, fearing that Nigeria is gradually descending to what majority of Nigerians never wished for.
Accusing the Buhari-led government of gross abuse of power, ADP pointed out the deliberate attacks on the legislative arm of government in the country, saying that Senate President, speaker and others members of the National Assembly should be allowed to carry out their lestilative assignments without political distractions. The separation of powers must be obeyed because the constitution is clear on the roles of each of the arms of the government.
ADP emphasised the constitutional rights of every Nigerians to freely choose which political associations they want to belong to without forcefully coercing them, nothing that those who no longer want to stay in the same political party with the President should be left alone.
The Party observed that unhealthy political atmosphere created due to this “Grab It By Force” is having serious effects on the country’s economy, reminding the President that businesses are collapsing everyday because attention they required have been diverted to politicking while the economy, security and other sector of the nation are made to suffer.
ADP however, called on the President to devote same attention he is giving to his political opponents to security challenges in the country, most especially the brutal killings in Sokoto, Zamfara, Kaduna, Benue and other states that has turned to a killing field for herdsmen and armed bandits.
Adelaja called on all Nigerians to stay firm in defending Nigeria’s democracy, contending that the country cannot continue to go in this direction.
He charged the people to take advantage of the credible candidates the ADP will be fielding across boards in 2019 to return Nigeria to the path of progress and developments, urging them to take opportunity of the next general election to right the wrongs by electing credible leaders who can unite the country.
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Just In: Benue Lawmakers Serve Ortom Impeachment Notice

Eight lawmakers on Monday in Benue State House of Assembly served an impeachment notice on Governor Samuel Ortom.

The eight have also taken over the premises of the assembly while police maintained a huge presence outside.

The impeachment plot is reportedly being coordinated by Terkimbi Ikyange who was removed as speaker of the assembly last week.

22 members of the Benue State House of Assembly on Friday suspended the impeached Ikyange for six months over what they termed “unruly behaviour and insubordination.”

Details later.


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Benue Assembly: Impeached Speaker, Ikyange, Bags 6 Months Suspension

The impeached Speaker, Benue House of Assembly, Mr Terkimbi Ikyange, has been suspended by his colleagues for six months for what they called “unparliamentary behavior”.

The legislators took the decision on Friday in Makurdi during their sitting at the Old Banquet Hall of Government House, Makurdi.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the legislators could not hold their parliamentary session at the Assembly Complex because the police locked the main entrance to the building.

The action compelled some legislators to scale the Assembly high walls to enter the premises only to discover that the chambers were also securely locked.

Following their inability to hold their sitting at the assembly complex, they relocated to the Government House Banquet Hall to conduct their business.

The motion for Ikyange’s suspension was moved by the Majority Leader, Mr Avine Agbom, who cited the news conference granted journalists by the impeached speaker, insisting that he was still Speaker amounted to unparliamentary conduct which deserved suspension.

He explained that 21 out of 30 legislators legislators, at their emergency meeting on July 24, passed a vote of no confidence on Ikyange and other Principal Officers and eventually impeached them.

He said the action taken against the principal officers was legal and in compliance with the House Standing Rules.

According to him, such a behavior is against the parliamentary rules and because of that singular act and other sundry issues standing against him, he needs to be suspended.

He also accused the former Speaker of using official vehicles to block the main entrance of the Assembly Complex, thereby preventing them from entering the chambers.

Agbum regretted that in spite of the impeachment of the Speaker, the police were still supporting his actions.

He said the staff of the Assembly, who were civil servants, were also prevented from entering the complex.

The motion was seconded by the Deputy Speaker, Mr Egli Ahubi, who said that “the motion for suspension is apt and timely too”.

Ruling on the matter, the Speaker, Mr Titus Uba, said that Ikyange had violated the House Rules as such the motion calling for his suspension was in order.

Uba, therefore, handed down a six months suspension on his predecessor.

NAN reports that the House had adjourned from July 10 to Aug. 15 by the impeached Speaker but a section of the lawmakers, numbering 21 had on July 24, reconvened to impeach him and other principal officers.

Ikyange has described his impeachment as an “act of illegality” and insisted he was still Speaker.


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Two Sentenced To Death For Killing Reverend Father In Benue

A Makurdi High Court on Wednesday convicted and sentenced two persons to death by hanging for kidnapping and killing a former Vicar-General of Otukpo Catholic Diocese, Reverend Father John Alexander Adeyi.

The court says the convicts conspired and kidnapped Reverend Father Adeiyi, on April 26th, 2016 and took him to Okungaga forest in Okpokwu area of the state where they demanded N2 million and eventually killed him after collecting a ransom of N1.5 million.

The trial judge, Justice Andover Kakaan, said three guns including two pistols and a Dane-gun as well as charms were recovered from the convicts in the forest where they committed the crime.

Justice Kakaan disclosed that one of the two convicts in his extra-judicial statement which was tendered in court admitted that he bought the pistol for the purpose of committing armed robbery and kidnapping.

Justice Kakaan while delivering his judgement advised youths to desist from criminal act and engage in useful ventures instead of engaging in unlawful activities as those who engage in such acts will face the wrath of the law.

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PDP Welcomes Benue Gov Samuel Ortom

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has welcomed Benue State Governor, Dr Samuel Ortom back to its fold and urged all its members in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to return to the party.

In a statement, spokesman of the PDP Kola Ologbondiyan, the party commended Ortom for “showing patriotic courage and boldness” in the face of brazen dictatorship.

Tye statement said: “The return of the Governor to PDP confirms the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari’s led-administration and the APC do not have the welfare of Nigerians at heart.

“Painfully, Nigerians are being slaughtered in Benue, Taraba, Plateau,  kaduna, Zamfara, Sokoto, nearly on daily basis”.

It hailed the governor for standing firm by the people of Benue State and refusing to mortgage their welfare to a government that has consistently demonstrated cluelessness.

“We urge the governor to be rest assured that he will be accorded his dues and rights as a member of the PDP.

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Ortom Visits Oshiomhole, Aborts Plan To Dump APC

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has aborted his plan to dump the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

This is just after he held a meeting with the National Chairman of the party, Comrades Adams Oshiomhole, on Thursday in Abuja.

Recall that the Governor has been at loggerhead with some APC chieftains in the party.

Speaking with journalists at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja, Ortom said the party leadership has assured him that no individual in Benue state can pus him out of the party.

“I was given a red card by a Senator…but the leadership of the party told me that the decision of the party leadership at the national level is superior to any individual and I think that is good enough. We have spoken to him, he has spoken to me, stakeholders are going to be spoken to and that is where I belong. We have not concluded the matter, it is an ongoing process because I have always stood for peace and I always want peace to prevail. I appreciate the intervention and I hope that we would be able to resolve the matter of differences and this is the funny thing about politics. I am here in APC, a member of APC, am still flying the flag of APC and I only said I was given a red card but I have been corrected by the national chairman”, he said.

Speaking, Oshiomhole reacts said Ortom would not be allowed to return to his former party, the Peoples Democratic Party PDP. He said; “I have, as the National Chairman, assured him that the APC does not have a red card in its cupboard so we cannot give what we do not have and we recognize that in several states, there could be legitimate legal issues, there could be agreements, disagreements, some contestations and these we are familiar with.

“There are evidences of the fact that we are a free democratic party and when leaders have disagreements, our responsibility is to help them to find a common ground and the issues in Benue are not so fundamental that we cannot resolve. We have made it clear that we would resolve them; and Sen. Akume is a very respected leader of the party, a former governor- he will recognize the need for peace and we have what it takes to make peace.

“In Benue, we are going for a win-win solution. Gov. Ortom is not going anywhere; he is a very prominent member of our party. We appreciate his leadership in Benue and we will do everything possible to help those who have issues to have those issues resolved.

“Anything we would do, we would do, provided the only thing we will not accept is anybody leaving the house that we have built together, that we are committed to and I think the government statement is clear. For PDP that is deceiving people, they must know that only people without honour will vomit in the morning and in the afternoon they convert it to lunch. People like Ortom who have honour cannot leave PDP just three and a half years ago with his eyes open and then later there are some tensions in his master bedroom and is thinking of returning to deceiving people. That, cannot be an option. He is a man of honour and he knows that one should look for one step if you want to take the second step to consolidate the first step; that is the way to go. “Be assured that PDP can go and do whatever they d

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Benue APC Publicity Secretary Resigns

The Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue, Mr Agbo Terkula, has resigned both his membership of the party and the position he occupied.

In a letter of resignation, dated Wednesday 18th, July, 2018, addressed to the state chairman of the party, Terkula claimed the APC controlled federal government did not represent the interests and yearnings of the people of the state.

” The APC which controls the government at the centre does not represent the yearnings and aspirations of the people of Benue state.”

He regretted the unprovoked killings of rural farmers by herdsmen and the displacement of farmlands and the plight of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s) in the state.

He claimed overtures had been made to him not to resign his membership of the party.

The former Publicity Secretary, however, thanked the APC leader in the state, Sen. George Akume, for giving him the opportunity to serve the party.

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