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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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Offa Bank Robbery: Saraki Must Face Panel – Police |The Republican News

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Senate President, Bukola Saraki

Molly Kilete, Abuja

The Police Force Headquarters in Abuja has said that the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, is still under investigation in connection with the Offa bank robbery. The police said this after a recent disclosure and confessional statement by some of the suspects arrested for the robbery, who are presently in police custody.

The police also said that two more suspects have been arrested in connection with the robbery, while another was still on the run. This is even as the police have vowed that it would do everything possible within its power to ensure that justice is done.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, made this known while parading five of the major suspects. Jimoh said: “The Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, is still under investigation in connection to the Offa bank robbery and the Nigeria police will do everything possible within the ambit of the law to ensure that justice is done in this case.

“The Nigeria Police Force will not be cowed or succumb to intimidation from any quarter in carrying out a thorough and discreet investigation into the Offa bank robbery, where significant successes have been recorded.”

The police spokesman, who maintained that the Senate President has a case to answer, as far as the Offa bank robbery is concerned, noted that some of the gang leaders accompanied Saraki to the palace of the Olofa of Offa two days after the robbery. He said that details from investigations carried out so far revealed that the five robbery suspects have direct connections with the Senate President.

“New pictures of one of the five gang leaders, when paraded by the police early in the week was in aso ebi trouser used during the Senate President’s daughter’s wedding. The five gang leaders further admitted that they attended the Senate President’s daughter’s wedding held recently,” he said.  (The Sun)

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Fresh Attack: Fulani Herdsmen Kill 9 In Benue |The Republican News

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Rose Ejembi, Makurdi

In the early hours of yesterday, suspected Fulani herdsmen launched a deadly attack on Guma and Logo local government areas of Benue State, killing nine persons. Daily Sun gathered that eight persons were killed in Tse Shan in Saghev, Guma LGA, while one person was killed in Tse Igbur village in Logo.

Sources from Guma said that the armed militiamen, at about 3am yesterday, attacked Tse Shan village, shooting in all directions, and the villagers, who were just returning home after months in IDP camps, ran for safety. Our sources said eight villagers were killed and the corpses have been recovered, while several residents are said to be missing and many more injured.

The chairman of Guma LGA, Mr Anthony Shawon, lamented that the victims included two students who came to write the National Examination Council (NECO) exams in the community. Shawon told our correspondent that he has already submitted the report of the attack to the special adviser on security, Col. Paul Hemba (rtd), adding that both the dead and the injured have been conveyed to Gbajimba General Hospital.

Shawon stated that he also received information that, while retreating, the militia attacked several people along their routes, with one body discovered along the road in Logo.

A community leader in Logo, Chief Joseph Anawah, who confirmed the attack on Tse Igbur, said the herdsmen attacked the area at 9:30pm on Tuesday, killed one person and injured many. Anawah, who had earlier raised the alarm over the withdrawal of security agents posted to the area on Sunday, alleged that the sudden withdrawal of the security operatives was to give the killers the opportunity to strike.

“We earlier suspected sinister motives by the sudden withdrawal of security posted to this area. It appears like a collaboration with the killer herdsmen by the military,” he said.
Our correspondent gathered that the commander of the 72 Special Forces Battalion has dispatched soldiers to the scene of the attack. According to Hemba, the attackers possibly came from a base in Logo LGA.

The police could not confirm the incident at the time of filing this report.  (The Sun)

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Nasarawa: Fulani Herdsmen Brutally Murder 3 SARS Officers, 8 Farmers |RN

Police-officer-brutally-murdered-by-Fualni-herdsmen

Linus Oota, Lafia

No fewer than three police officers of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) and eight farmers were reportedly killed in the Mararaba Udege, Aisa and Aguma communities of Agatu chiefdom, Nasarawa by suspected Fulani herders.

In addition to the killings, houses and food supplies were reportedly burned, with entire communities deserted.

The investigation by Daily Sun revealed that the murdered security operatives, who were on a mission to control the escalating conflict between Agatu and Fulani herders, were ambushed by the Fulani herders.

Police Public Relation Officer ASP Ismaila Usman of the Nasarawa State Command, who confirmed the incident to Daily Sun in Lafia, said: “There was a conflict between the Agatus and Fulani herdsmen, where an Agatu man shot a Fulani man on foot and went away with his motorcycle.”

According to him: “The Fulanis also went on reprisal attack. The attention of the police was drawn and the police quickly swung into action to ensure normalcy returned to the area. But, unfortunately, three of our men were ambushed and killed.”

The police spokesman said that the Command has deployed a team of officers headed by the Assistant Commissioner of Police to the area to maintain law and order.

The corpse of the deceased officers have been recovered and deposited in the morgue, he added.

Also speaking to Daily Sun, the paramount ruler of Agatu chiefdom, Alhaji Ahmed Kwanaki, said that about eight of his people were killed by the same Fulani herdsmen.

He gave the names of those killed as: Sale Ozala, Oyigoso Sale, Danladi Joko, Abdulahi Musa, Adamu Haruna, Musa Adamu, Yakubu Sale, and Shehu Sabo (a Bassa man).

The traditional chief, who was visibly angry, said the killings in his chiefdom continues unabated, and appealed to the state and federal governments to, as a matter of urgency, deploy the military to the area.

He confirmed that the security operatives earlier detailed to the troubled area were overpowered by the Fulani herdsmen, preventing them from accessing the interior where killings are rife.

State chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria Hussain Mohammed said that the Agatu people first killed some Fulani people before the Fulani retaliated.

He, however, condemned the killings of the three police officers, promising to help in identifying the perpetrators of the murders.    (The Sun)

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Fulani Herdsmen Kill Six Children, 19 Others In Benue |The Republican News

By Cephas Iorhemen

Fulani-Herdsmen3

  …kidnap pregnant woman

  • Six murdered in cult war
  • 50 houses razed, scores injured

 

It was another black Sunday in Benue State yesterday as at least 31 people were killed in separate attacks in different communities. First, herdsmen, believed to be of Fulani extraction, armed with sophisticated weapons invaded Tse-Adough, a village at Mbachom in Yaav ward of Kwande Local Government Area of Benue State and killed six children and 13 others.

The children were mostly of school age who were burnt inside their house. Also, a pregnant woman and a man were reportedly taken into captivity. The herders, who invaded the now deserted communities in the early hours of Sunday, also burnt down over 50 houses and injured scores of others. Similarly, six persons were also killed when rival cult groups clashed in Otukpo, headquarters of Otukpo Local Government Area.

But witnesses from Kwande said at the time of filing the report that people within the area were still searching the bush to recover more bodies, while those who sustained varying degrees of injury, including the deceased, were taken to the hospital in Jato- Aka, the traditional homestead of second Republic Minister of Steel, Chief Paul Unongo.

The Chairman of Kwande Local Government Area, Mr Terdoo Nyor Kenti, who confirmed the gruesome attack, said the armed men stormed the village about midnight while the people were asleep and were shooting sporadically in all directions. According to him, seven people were murdered on the spot, many others injured, six children burnt while a pregnant woman was taken into captivity.

He said: “We gathered that the attack, which occurred early hours of Sunday, has left several villagers moving out of the area and surrounding villages in droves for fear of another invasion by the attackers.

“There was no prior problem between the villagers and the Fulani herdsmen, but I wondered why the attackers would just come and swoop on the people without any provocation.”

Efforts to get the reaction of the state Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, failed as he did not pick his calls at the time of filing this report. It was learnt that two of the cult victims were killed at a popular drug (marijuana) joint known as “Banana Island” while another victim who owned a barbershop at Akpa Street was shot outside his shop.

The fourth victim was killed along Uloko lane and others at several other locations as the killers went on their killing spree. The development, it was learnt, sent jitters down the spines of Otukpo residents who were running helter-skelter.

The local government Chairman, Mr George Alli, who confirmed the development on the phone, said efforts were on to apprehend the perpetrators of the heinous crime.

He said: “We have confirmed the death of six persons this afternoon (yesterday). I’m still expecting a clearer picture about this because they are going to come with a special squad to go after them.”

Alli said the killers immediately went into hiding after the dastardly act. He, however, declined to comment further on the matter as he said it bordered on the security of the local government area.  (New Telegraph)

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Bank Robbery, Kwara Killings: Saraki, Gov. Ahmed Gave Us Firearms, Money Vehicles – Suspects

By Emmanuel Onani

 

Kwara killings, bank robbery: Saraki, gov gave us firearms, money, vehicles – Suspects
  • Senate President, Ahmed: Allegations baseless
  • Police summon Saraki
  • DSS withdraws 11 operatives attached to Senate President
  • Ahmed’s Chief of Staff, Personal Assistant arrested
  • Revolver pistol, pump action gun recovered from gov’s aide

 

Five suspects arrested in connection with the April 5th bank robbery in Offa, Kwara State and killing of 30 persons in the state have confessed to their alleged links with Senate President Bukola Saraki and Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed.

During the investigation, the police stated that the five gang leaders allegedly admitted and confessed that they “have been sponsored with firearms, money and operational vehicles” by Saraki and Ahmed.

The suspects, who were arrested in the wake of the robbery incident, had made confessional statements alleging that they were political thugs of the Senate President. Parading the five suspects and eight others yesterday in Abuja, Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), ACP Jimoh Moshood, said the suspects operated under the name of Youth Liberation Movement (a.k.a Good Boys).

To buttress their case against the Kwara State Governor, the Police noted the separate apprehension of Messrs Alabi Olalekan and Yusuf Abdulwahab, Personal Assistant (Political), Chief of Staff to the Governor, respectively.

Consequently, Saraki has been invited to report at the Force Intelligence Response Team’s Office in Abuja, “to answer to the allegations levelled against him from the confessions of the five gang leaders.”

The police gave the names of the suspected political thugs, who were said to be the gang leaders of the bank robbery, as follows: Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibukunle Ogunleye, Adeola Abraham, Salawudeen Azeez, and Niyi Ogundiran.

The quintet was among eight other suspects paraded at the Force Headquarters, yesterday, over the robbery incident, which claimed 33 lives, including pregnant women and nine police officers. According to Moshood, “The five gang leaders confessed and volunteered statements to the Police investigators, giving a clear account of how they planned and carried out the bank’s robbery operation in Offa, the attack on the Police Division in Offa and how they killed the 33 innocent persons during the robbery.

“The five gang leaders further confessed during the investigation that they are political thugs under the name Youth Liberation Movement, a.k.a “Good Boys”.

They admitted and confessed to having been sponsored with firearms, money and operational vehicles by the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and the Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed.”

He further alleged that a Lexus Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) with a sticker bearing “Saraki” was used for the robbery incident. “In the course of discreet investigation into the confessions of these five gang leaders and the other 17 principal suspects, a Lexus jeep GX-300 (Ash Colour) with a sticker plate number with inscription “SARAKI” “Kwara, State of Harmony” used by the gang leader (Ayoade Akinnibosun ‘M’ 37Yrs) during the bank robbery and the killing of the 33 innocent persons was taken to Government House, Ilorin on 16th May, 2018 where the sticker plate number with inscription “SARAKI” “Kwara, the State of Harmony” was removed before another plate number (Reg. No. Kwara, KMA 143 RM) registered in the name of Ayoade Akinnibosun, the overall commander of the Offa bank robbery was then attached to the vehicle to cover up the identity of the said vehicle.

“The exhibit vehicle was subsequently recovered from the premises of the Ministry of Environmental and Forestry in Ilorin, Kwara State. While the sticker plate number with inscription “SARAKI” “Kwara, State of Harmony” removed from the vehicle was recovered from one Adeola Omiyale who drove the said Lexus Jeep to Government House, Ilorin immediately after the bank robbery,” the police said. This was as the Police said two guns were recovered from one of Governor Ahmed’s aides in custody.

The police: “The Personal Assistant (Political) to the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Mr. Alabi Olalekan, who is privy to information that the Police are looking for the Lexus Jeep as an exhibit used in the Offa bank robbery and the killings of 33 innocent persons directed one Adeola Omiyale to relocate the Lexus Jeep to Government House, Ilorin.

“The PA (Political) is currently in Police custody and has made useful statement assisting the Police in further investigation into the case. A revolver pistol and pump action gun were recovered by the Police Investigation Team from the Personal Assistant (Political) to the Governor of Kwara State, Mr Alabi Olalekan’s farm where he directed his brother to hide them after his arrest by the Police.

“In order to conceal evidence, the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Kwara State, Mr. Yusuf Abdulwa-hab, who has been arrested and taken into Police custody, arranged the removal of the sticker plate number with inscription “SARAKI” “Kwara, State of Harmony” from the exhibit vehicle and also registered the exhibit Lexus Jeep used in the Offa bank robbery and the killings of 33 innocent persons in the name of Ayoade Akinnibosun, the overall Gang Commander of the Offa bank robbery while the Ayoade Akinnibosun was already in Police custody for more than six days before the registration of the vehicle.” While noting that efforts to arrest other suspects were ongoing, the police said they will continue to carry out their constitutionally- guaranteed duties, with a view to enthroning a peaceful and orderly society.

“The investigation into the Offa bank robbery and gruesome killings of more than 33 innocent persons in Offa, Kwara State on the 5th April 2018 directed by the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris, has made significant progress, successes and more revelations have been recorded.

“The gang leaders and some of the principal suspects arrested for their active participation in the robbery and the killing of innocent persons have made confessional statements admitting to the various criminal roles they and their sponsors played in this dastard and heinous crime.

“The five gang leaders and some of the other 17 suspects arrested for direct involvement and active participation in the Offa bank robbery and the gruesome killing of 33 innocent persons which includes (some pregnant women and nine Police personnel) admitted, confessed and volunteered statements that they were political thugs of the Senate President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Bukola Saraki and the Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed,” the Police said.

The Force further noted that the arrest of the “political thugs”, and others, was facilitated by the earlier confessions made by two principal suspects – Kunle Ogunleye and Michael Adikwu.

“The arrests of the above mentioned five gang leaders and 17 others were made possible after the arrest of two principal suspects (Kunle Ogunleye, aka Arrow, 35yrs and Michael Adikwu an ex-convict) whose pictures captured by CCTV in one of the banks during the banks’ robbery were circulated to the media and the public.

“The two principal suspects confessed to being among the suspects led by the five gang leaders listed above to carry out the Offa banks robbery, the attack on the Divisional Police Headquarters, Offa and the killings of 33 innocent persons on the 5th of April, 2018,” the police said.

Meanwhile, the police disclosed that a total of 21 AK-47 rifles, which were carted from the Armoury of Offa Police Divisional Headquarters, had yet to be recovered.

The following exhibits, according to the police, were recovered from the suspects: Two AK-47 rifles, two barrette pistols, one pump action rifle and one revolver pistol.

Vehicles in Police custody in Ilorin are Lexus RX300 Jeep with Reg. No. Kwara, KMA 143 RM belonging to Ayoade Akinnibosun (gang leader) – used for the bank robbery; Mercedes Benz – Compressor with Reg. No. Lagos LT496 KJA belonging to Ayoade Akinnibosun (gang leader) – used for the bank robbery, and one Toyota Prado Jeep with Reg. No. 19KWGH belonging to the PA (Political) to the Governor, Kwara State. Other exhibits recovered were: One Toyota Camry Saloon Car with Reg. No. LRN 481 FE in Police custody in Ilorin; N600,000 in Police custody in Ilorin; four phones of victims recovered and one sticker plate number with inscription “SARAKI” “Kwara, State of Harmony.  (New Telegraph)

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Herdsmen Killings: 80,450 Children, 2,442 Pregnant Women Languish In Benue IDP Camps – SEMA

By Cephas Iorhemen, MAKURDI

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No fewer than 80, 450 children including those of school age and about 2, 442 pregnant women are now languishing in seven Internally Displaced Person camps in Benue State, the Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mr Emmanuel Shior has said.

Mr Shior disclosed this while speaking at the Abagena IDP camp located along Makurdi-Lafia road to intimate Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo on the state of the camps in the state.

The SEMA helmsman also announced that a total of 2, 766 nursing mothers and over 1, 247 disabled persons were also going through severe hardships and appealed to the federal government to come to their aid through the provision of assorted relief materials to cushion the effect of their suffering IDPs.

He said a total of 175, 070 IDPs including the aged people as well as male and female children have not been spared and live in the squalid environment, urging the government to expedite action for immediate return of the displaced back home to start farming activities.

Mr Shior lamented that the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has not given the state the required support through the supply of relief items to help address the plight of the victims.

“NEMA came briefly but has not given us the support that we hope would come from them, other individuals have also supported the state government but looking at the huge humanitarian problem, the efforts of government and other individual and organisations are not enough”.

Governor Samuel Ortom said the IDPs were really traumatised since the last four months that the camps were opened, adding that most of them have died while in camp due to hardship.

He also bemoaned the level of support given the state government by NEMA, adding that 69 IDPs have delivered babies while in the camp.

“You can really see from the faces of the IDPs here (at Abagena camp) that they are really traumatised for four months, you know, been in this kind of environment is not easy for any human being. We have lost some IDPs here but thank God we have about 69 of them that have delivered in this camp under this condition”.

Governor Ortom thanked the federal government for the deployment of additional security agencies to flash points to fight the mercenaries and expressed optimism that the state will not witness killings again.  (New Telegraph)

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