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Armed Policemen Take Over Benue House Of Assembly Complex |RN

Benue-House-Of-Assembly

 

…As lawmakers reconvene at Govt. House, suspend former Speaker

Rose Ejembi, Makurdi

Another drama played out at the Benue State House of Assembly, on Friday, after armed policemen took over the Assembly complex and barred members of the Assembly from gaining access to the facility.

The heavily-armed policemen also ordered staff of the Assembly who had resumed for work to leave the premises even as all offices within the complex were put under lock and keys.

Saturday Sun gathered that trouble started when the recently sacked Speaker of the House, Terkimbi Ikyange, came and barricaded the main entrance to the Assembly complex with his official vehicle and insisted that he was still the Speaker.

Following the development, other members who are mostly from the faction of the new speaker, Titus Uba (Kyaan Constituency), who came thereafter, were subjected to screening and still were not allowed access into the premises.

Our correspondent gathered that many of the legislators who scaled through the fence to gain access into the premises were prevented from entering into the Chambers of the Assembly.

After exploring all possible means to sit in the chambers of the Assembly without success, the Uba-led faction, thereafter, reconvened at the old Banquet Hall of the Government House to hold a plenary.

In a motion, Majority leader of the House, Hon. Avine Gbom moved for Ikyange’s suspension for six months for insubordination and for tarnishing the image of the House.

The motion was seconded by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Egli Johnson Ahubi (Otukpo/Akpa State Constituency).

Earlier, Deputy Majority Leader of the Assembly, Hon. Audu Sule (Agatu State Constituency), had moved that the Commissioner of Police in the state should explain why his men besieged the Assembly complex.

The motion which was seconded by the Deputy Speaker also asked that the CP order his men to immediately vacate the Assembly premises.

In his contribution, the lawmaker representing Ukum State constituency, Hon. Paul Biam noted that he saw the former Speaker at the main gate of the Assembly complex with his official vehicle insisting that he was still the Speaker.

He stated further that the members had to sit at the Government House because they could not gain access to the chambers of the Assembly.

In his ruling, Speaker of the Assembly, Hon. Uba suspended Ikyange for six months and adjourned sitting till August 21, 2018.

Saturday Sun observed that 19 lawmakers were physically present while another legislator sent a letter stating why he could not attend the Friday sitting.

Efforts to get the police to react was unsuccessful as Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni was, on Thursday, transferred out of Benue while the new helmsman was yet to resume as at the time of filing this report.

Spokesman of the command, DSP Moses Yamu, could not also be reached as was not available at the time of filing this report.  (The Sun)

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Benue Assembly: Impeached House Speaker, Ikyange Gets 6 Months Suspension |RN

Terkimbi-IKYANGE

The Former Speaker of Benue State House of Assembly, Mr Terkimbi Ikyange

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

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 a suspension.

He explained that 21 out of 30 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 behaviour 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.   (The Sun)

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Benue Assembly Speaker, Deputy Impeached, New Speaker Elected |RN

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New Benue State House of Assembly Speaker, Mr Titus Uba

Titus Uba was elected the new Speaker of the 8th Assembly following his nomination by member representing Otukpo/Akpa, Hon. Egli Johnson Ahubi

Rose Ejembi, Makurdi

The Speaker of Benue State House of Assembly, Terkimbi Ikyange, has been impeached. The House has also elected member representing Kyaan State Constituency, Titus Uba, as its new Speaker.

Daily Sun gathered that Uba’s election, yesterday, followed the adoption of a motion for a vote of no confidence in the immediate past leadership of the House.

Twenty-two out of the 30 members of the assembly were said to have signed the motion for Ikyange’s impeachment, alongside his deputy, James Okeefe, and the Majority leader of the House, Benjamin Adanyi.

Their impeachment, according to the letter, was premised on alleged abuse of office, high handedness and other sundry offences.

The motion for their impeachment was moved by Hon. Richard Ujege, representing Konshisha State Constituency, and seconded by his counterpart from Ado, Hon. Anthony Ogbu.

Uba was elected the new Speaker of the 8th Assembly following his nomination by the member representing Otukpo/Akpa, Hon. Egli Johnson Ahubi, and seconded by Hon. Steven Tyochir representing Gwer East State Constituency.

Egli Johnson Ahubi was also elected as Deputy Speaker, following his nomination by Hon. Joseph Ojobo, representing Ogbadibo state constituency, and seconded by his counterpart from Makurdi North, Hon. Avine Agbom.

The new Speaker and his deputy were, thereafter, sworn-in by the clerk of the House, Dr Torese Agena.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Titus Uba thanked members for finding him worthy to serve in that capacity and promised exemplary leadership of the 8th Assembly.

Other principal officers elected are Hon. Avine Agbom as Majority Leader, while Hon. Sule Audu (Agatu), who was earlier elected as Speaker Pro-Tempo, after the dissolution of the old leadership of the House, is now Deputy Majority Leader. Hon. Kester Kyenge representing Logo State Constituency was also elected Majority Whip.

The House later adjourned sitting till August 15, 2018, following a motion moved by Rt. Honourable Paul Biam and seconded by Honourable Damian Cheme, representing Ukum and Gwer West state constituencies, respectively.

Meanwhile, during plenary Avine Agbom submitted his letter of defection from the ruling All Progressives Congress, (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP). (The Sun)

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Nwodo, Clark, Adebanjo, Others Stopped From Flying To Southern, Middlebelt Leaders Summit

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Aeroplanes using NAF facility must obtain permission: AVM Adesanya

Philip Nwosu, Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja and Rose Ejembi, Makudi

The Southern and Middle Belt Forum (southern flank) led by Chief Edwin Clark, said they were stopped from travelling to Makurdi yesterday, to attend the Middle Belt summit on restructuring.

They alleged that the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was gradually descending into a military dictatorship.

Speaking for the group, the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, John Nwodo, at a press conference in Abuja, after they were stopped from flying, said even though they had secured a charter aircraft, which was ready to fly to Makurdi, they were told that for security reasons, they needed clearance to land at the airport.

Nwodo said the elders spent about five hours at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, trying to obtain clearance to make the journey, but were refused by the Commandant of the Makurdi Airport, whose name was given as Lt. Commander A. Audu.

 

“We arrived in time for our flight today (yesterday) at 12:00 noon, but the airport commandant disallowed us from flying and said we needed to get permission to land in Makurdi.

“We consider this fundamental infringement on our democratic right of freedom of movement and freedom of association. There is nothing in our law precluding us from moving to wherever we like and holding an opinion, insofar as we do not breach any law in Nigeria.

“What has happened to us today expresses a lot of doom for fundamental human rights in our country, for the free exchange of ideas as unavoidable instruments of achieving growth and development of our polity.

“We deprecate the treatment that we were given today, which treatment prevented us from physically joining our brethren in the Middle Belt, in a common view which we all hold, a very patriotic view, which we think will be the only way to guarantee the future of our country.”

Nwodo, who joined other southern leaders to watch the live transmission of the conference in Chief Clark’s residence, said they wanted to show solidarity with the Middle Belt people, who, he said, had supported the forum.

He urged the media: “Please publicise this for many reasons. One, the teeming crowd that you saw on television in the Middle Belt are our brethren, who showed us solidarity in other zonal summits. The fact that we were barred from showing them solidarity is bound to hurt them. Through this press conference, we want to express our solidarity with them. We want them to know we are one and the same in our views of the restructuring of the federation

“Secondly, to deprecate this new tendency. Not too long ago, the president signed into law an Executive order, which gives him the right to seize people’s assets. This is almost like a military government. And, we think this is an intrusion into the principles of separation of powers in our country.

“It is the responsibility of the legislature to make law, of the executive to implement the law and the judiciary to interpret the law. I do not think Section 5 of the Constitution gives the President such Executive authority to make laws.

“The right to property is a fundamental right in a democracy. It cannot be expropriated here without the decision of the court. What has happened to us today shows a continuing tendency to slide into a dictatorship in a democratic government. That is condemnable.”

On whether they saw it as an attempt to sabotage their participation at the summit, a member of the forum, Yinka Odumakin, said: “The first jet that was to take us started this funny game of saying that there was a bad weather to Makurdi and that they could not fly until we got to other airlines, and I asked what’s bad about the weather. They said they were ready to take us.

“As we were about to make payments, they now said there were landing permit issues. They called the commandant in Makurdi, who said they should send the application.

“The Chief of Staff to the Benue State Governor said we should fax the application to him and to the commandant.

“We waited at the airport for hours. Eventually, the Chief of Staff had to contact the commandant in Makurdi and was told that the landing permit requested by the first airline was still on their table. At that stage, General C. Ariyo Niege, a veteran ex-soldier, who was head of Nigerian military forces in Sudan, went to the commandant in Abuja.”

Narrating what happened Ariyo, who was present at the press briefing said: “I pleaded with him (Commandant) that we were having issues with flying to Makurdi for the summit, and he told me for security reasons civilian aircraft are no longer allowed to fly into Makurdi airport.”

Others at the briefing hosted by Chief Clark, were Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Dr Chukwueka Ezeife, and Col. Tony Nyam.

Clark, Adebanjo and Ezeife later gave goodwill messages to the Makurdi summit through the telephone that was broadcast on live television.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Air Force said it was not aware of any move to prevent any commercial or charter aircraft from landing in its airfield in Makurdi Benue State.

The Spokesman for the Nigerian Air Force, Air Vice Marshal Olatokunbo Adesanya, who denied allegations that the force prevented a commercial charter airplane from landing at its airfield, said the standard procedure was for the airplane to apply for permission in writing and obtain same in writing from the NAF Headquarters, before it could be allowed to take off from its destination to Makurdi.

He told Daily Sun on a telephone that the only airport in Makurdi is the airfield, which belongs to the Nigerian Air Force, and there is the need for any aircraft which wants to use the facility to obtain permission in writing.

He said: “If it is our own base that is being referred to, you know it is only NAF aircraft that is allowed to land there. Any other aircraft, either of another military or another registration that will land there would have to obtain permission from the Nigerian Air Force and when the NAF discovers that the aircraft will not constitute a security risk, they will give authority to the base in Makurdi to allow the aircraft land.”

He said that what is obtainable worldwide in the aviation industry is that, if the Nigerian Air Force plane wants to travel to Sierra Leone, for instance, it would first obtain landing rights from the Airport in Freetown before taking off from Nigeria.

AVM Adesanya explained that the practice is the standard worldwide.  (The Sun)

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Fulani Herdsmen Kill 2 Soldiers, Injure 2 Others In Benue |RN

Fulani-Herdsmen3

Rose Ejembi, Makurdi

At least, two Nigerian soldiers were, on Tuesday, killed and two others injured after they were an ambush by Fulani herdsmen in Benue State.

Daily Sun gathered from sources in the area that the attack occurred on Tuesday while the soldiers were travelling between Branch Umenger and Bakin-Korta, Mbadwem Council Ward of Benue State.

Chairman of Guma Local Government Area, Hon. Anthony Shawon who confirmed the report stated that the attackers had on Monday, dug trenches around a bridge in the area to prevent easy access of the Military in case of an attack.

“The Fulanis came yesterday and dug trenches around a new bridge the Governor Samuel Ortom administration built at Bakin-Korta linking Keana in Nasarawa state.

“They came in their thousand and dug the trenches on both sides of the bridge so that the army would not have easy access to the area in the event of an attack.

“When the soldiers got wind of the development, they mobilized the community to fill up the trenches and the people in my local government went and filled it up.

At about 5am today(Tuesday), they (the soldiers) also moved to Keana to find out those who carried out the act and why. On their way to Ruga, a Fulani camp, somehow the people (Fulani) heard of their coming and laid an ambush for the soldiers

“Two of the soldiers were killed on the spot, a Captain who is the Unit Commander was also shot. But he is currently in the hospital in Makurdi.

“All the houses in that area have all been burnt down by the marauders. They have been coming from that place to attack my people. It is good that the soldiers took the proactive action,” Shawon said.

Efforts to get confirmation from the Theatre Commander, Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS), Major Gen. Adeyemi Yekini failed as several calls to mobile phone line were not picked or returned at the time of filing this report.  (The Sun)

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Benue Mass Killings: We’ll Never Give Up Our Land To Fulani Herdsmen – Shuluwa

Fulani-Herdsmen-Attack-Benue

 

Says attackers sponsored to take over, occupy Benue land

Rose Ejembi, Makurdi

A first class traditional ruler in Benue State, Chief Abu King Shuluwa, has vowed that the Tiv will never cede any part of their land to the Fulani herdsmen, no matter the intimidation.

Shuluwa, who said this in a chat with Daily Sun, at his Makurdi residence, alleged that the herdsmen who are attacking Benue people have an agenda to take over and occupy Benue land.

While noting that the Tiv man, as a farmer, doesn’t joke with his land, the Tor Sankera said it is the vast fertile land and water in the Benue valley that the attackers and their sponsors are after.

“Every piece of land in Tiv land belongs to a family. So, the Fulani who are now killing us are sponsored, and the idea is to conquer. Nigerians should know that these Fulani are here to conquer. It has nothing to do with the grazing law which has been in existence for ages. The Fulani have an agenda and the agenda is to conquer.

“Tiv people are largely farmers and the struggle for fertile land is the reason for the scattered settlement patterns. A Tiv man doesn’t mind migrating to a far distance in search of a fertile land. A Tiv man knows which land is rich for his kind of farming.

“Fulani were not attacking us before. In the past, when they come, they would go to the chief and register their presence. They were also only coming during dry seasons, and as soon as the rains set in, they would return to where they came from.

“What is happening this time around is surprising, and they have taken us unawares.
The normal Fulani we knew before would never kill anyone. These new crops of Fulani have come to conquer and settle. Nigerians should know we don’t have Fulani settlement in Tiv land or in Idoma land,” Shuluwa said.

The traditional ruler, who regretted that the pogrom would not end because of the agenda to take over the Benue land, however, maintained that his people would no longer watch and see their people killed mercilessly by the invaders.

“We know that the Fulani man doesn’t forget and this fight will still continue, but one thing is that we are also ready for them whenever they come. We will not leave our land for them. They have an agenda to conquer Benue and then move down south.”  (The Sun)

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Benue Has Lost N40bn To Fulani Herdsmen Attacks – Ortom |RN

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Says no regret over the ranching law

Rose Ejembi, Makurdi

Benue State Government said it has lost over N400 billion worth of property to renewed militia herdsmen attacks on communities in between 2015 and 2018.

Governor Samuel Ortom, who disclosed this when he briefed newsmen on the achievements and challenges of his administration in three years, at Government House, in Makurdi, said the estimate was arrived at following the preliminary report of the assessment of damages caused by the crisis.

He said the continued herdsmen attacks on the state has caused untold hardship on every resident either directly or indirectly adding that the loss is much and difficult to recover from.

He insisted that the Benue State Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017 is the peoples’ legislation.

“I have no regret. Why should I have any regret doing the will of my people? They trusted me and gave me their votes and I will not betray what they want. I’m doing what they want and I’ve no regret,” the governor stated.
He commended his colleagues from Ekiti, Taraba and Abia States for keying into the ranching law, saying it is the right way to go even as he called on Nigerians with a better alternative to bring it on the table to find a lasting solution to farmers and herdsmen crisis in the country.

Ortom challenged the Defence Minister, Dan-Masur Ali, to come out and tell Nigerians why there are killings in Zamfara, his home State and other states in the country, like Kaduna, Adamawa, Plateau, Enugu and Kogi, among others, where there is no anti-open grazing law. He also wants the minister to apologise to Nigerians over his comments. (The Sun)

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