From David Torough, Makurdi
A Socio-cultural organization, Ede-ma Development Association (EDE-MA), has backed Edumoga Youth Movement (EYM) and Edumoga Youth Association in its efforts to abolish cultism in Edumoga District of Okpokwu local government area of Benue State.
EYM had recently embarked on a land cleansing ritual, which involved oath-taking by especially youths living in Edumoga District to denounce cultism following a bloodbath arising from cult killings among rival groups.
The cult killings had shutdown the Polytechnic town of Ugbokolo, Ichakwu and Efoyo as well as Amejo Council Ward in the local government area for over two weeks as rival cult groups went on rampage and killed members of rival groups..
In a statement signed by EDE-MA’s National President and Secretary, Okoh Michael Agbam and Matthew Oboyi, on Friday, the organisation declared total support to the EYM in their battle but cautioned the group to carry out the initiative in accordance with the culture and tradition of the Idoma nation.
EDA questioned alleged inaction by the police in Okpokwu local government when rival cult groups reportedly killed about 10 persons including an innocent youth, which led to a protest.
The police hastily arrested the youth leader of EYM in charge of Ugbokolo, John Agboji Audu, following a petition with unproven allegations by a suspected cult leader in Benue South, John Okwori.
EDE-MA urged the police to do a background check on the petitioner and release the youth leader unconditionally.
It also called on the Benue State Government to set up a panel to investigate increasing cult activities in Benue South, in particular and the state in general.
The socio- cultural organization said, it had kept mute since the commencement of the cult killings because it had thought that security agencies, especially the police, were on ground in the crisis areas to restore public order and confidence.
“Our calm resolve not to immediately speak out was informed by the logic that doing so might be too pre-emptive without proper understanding of the underlying issues surrounding the violence, and of course, it could also be mistaken for outright bias.
“Secondly, we had also expected that the security agencies, especially the Nigerian Police Force, are fully on ground and therefore ought to have quickly responded to such open criminality to restore public order and confidence. This was however not the case in view of the litany of violence in which cult groups openly chase and hack perceived rivals to death in broad day light,” Agbam and Oboyi said in the statement.
“We believe that the vacuum created by police inaction may have inspired protests that ultimately degenerated to mob actions by angry residents following the cult killings, which the Edumoga Youth Association (EYA) and Edumoga Youth Movement (EYM) eventually had to intercede and moderate to restore order,” it also said.
EDE-MA commended EYA and EYM for what it described as strategic initiative to end the malaise of cultism in Edumoga land by enjoining the youth, community and traditional leaders in Amejo, Okonobo and Ugbokolo wards to take oath not to belong to any cult group.
“We had restrained ourselves from making any public comment on the recent unfortunate cult violence that had rocked and literally grounded Ugbokolo Town and surrounding communities of Amejo and Okonobo wards in Edumoga District of Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State.
“Secondly, we had also expected that the security agencies, especially the Nigerian Police Force, are fully on ground and therefore ought to have quickly responded to such open criminality to restore public order and confidence. This was however not the case in view of the litany of violence in which cult groups openly chase and hack perceived rivals to death in broad day light.
“We believe that the vacuum created by police inaction may have inspired protests that ultimately degenerated to mob actions by angry residents following the cult killings, which the Edumoga Youth Association (EYA) and Edumoga Youth Movement (EYM) eventually had to intercede and moderate to restore order.
“We wish to use this opportunity to commend the resolve of both EYA and EYM for their intervention that ended the daily cult killings. We equally commend them for the strategic initiative to end the malaise of cultism in Edumoga land by enjoining the youth, community and traditional leaders in Amejo, Okonobo and Ugbokolo wards to take oath not to belong to any cult group.
“While the initiative or strategy of oath-taking to renounce cultism may not be fool proof, it is however a traditional method with proven capacity to eliminate or appreciably reduce the menace of cultism and other forms of criminality from Edumoga. In this regard, we enjoin especially the traditional rulers in Edumoga District to give their support and ensure that the exercise is conducted with utmost decorum and civility in line with our culture and tradition.
“As a law-abiding and development-conscious organisation, Ede-ma Development Association (EDE-MA) is worried that the police who are on ground in Ugbokolo and Okpokwu LGA, and who were helpless in the face of the rampant cult killings in Ugbokolo for over two weeks without making a single arrest suddenly leapt to action on the basis of a mere petition by no other person but an alleged cult leader, John Okwori, against Agboji John Audu and some EYA and EYM leaders.
“While we do not, and will never, support a resort to self-help, jungle justice or any form of criminality, we are surprised that the police responded to Mr Okwori’s petition in the manner they did when they failed to undertake any preliminary investigation of the matter, including background checks on the character of the petitioner.
“We are appalled that the police seem to have ignored about 10 homicide incidents and prioritised and prosperity everywhere,” the statement concluded.
Tiv Residents in America Seek Justice for Late Joshua Terngu Gwebe
The Mutual Union of the Tiv in America (MUTA), a non-profit and non-partisan charitable organization representing the Tiv community in the Americas, has condemned in strong terms, what it described as “the horrific and violent mob attack on Joshua Terngu Gwebe, a young Tiv man, on November 20, 2023”
“This attack, stemming from unfounded allegations of car theft, is unacceptable and regrettable,” the association said in a statement released by its President, Dr Akaa D.
“We are deeply concerned about the unprofessional conduct of the Nigerian Police Force, particularly the reported involvement of a Superintendent of Police, Mr Haliru, in this assault.Instead of performing his duties as a peace officer, he was alleged to have participated in the attack on Mr. Gwebe and Tersoo, a passerby who merely communicated with the victim in our native Tiv language. This incident culminated in the tragic death of Mr. Gwebe in police custody. The grievous loss of Mr Gwebe due to such conduct cannot be overlooked or excused.
“The actions of the mob, fueled by a baseless accusation from Mr Barka Ibrahim, a taxi driver, and the complicity of police officers, including, SP Haliru, are reprehensible and unacceptable. This case is a stark example of the mob mentality plaguing Nigeria, which has no place in a democratic society. Furthermore, the ethnic profiling of Tiv people is a serious issue that demands immediate attention and action. Such discriminatory practices undermine the principles of equality and justice, and must be eradicated from our society. Those responsible must be held accountable to prevent further tragedies” the statement said.
MUTA urged the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Kayode Egbetokun, to heed his warnings against human rights violations by the police just as it demanded immediate action to apprehend and prosecute all individuals involved the “brutal assault, including the dismissal of SP Haliru from the Nigeria Police Force for his unconscionable actions”.
“We further urge a comprehensive reorientation of officers of the Nigeria Police Force to embrace their role as community peace officers, not violators of human rights. The reckless and brutal treatment of innocent civilians must cease if Nigeria is to progress as a democratic nation.
“Furthermore, we strongly urge lawmakers of Tiv and Benue extraction to rise to the occasion and fulfill their duties in defending the rights and lives of the Tiv people. It is their responsibility to ensure that their constituents are treated fairly and justly under the law.
“Justice must be served not only for Joshua Terngu Gwebe but for every citizen whose rights have been trampled upon. We call on the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of Nigeria to investigate this incident thoroughly and ensure that all perpetrators, including erring security personnel, are held accountable” the association further stated.
It however, commended the the bravery of a passer by, Mr. Tersoo, who suffered alongside Gwebe and extended its sympathies to the family of th deceased.
“We demand an official apology from the Nigeria Police Force to the Gwebe family, along with adequate compensation for their irreplaceable loss.
“Finally, we commend the frontline actors, especially Pastor Dave Ogbole and his team, for their relentless pursuit of justice for Mr Joshua Gwebe. Their work and commitment are invaluable, and they inspire hope in these difficult times.
“MUTA remains steadfast in its commitment to advocating for justice, accountability, and reform on behalf of the Tiv community and all Nigerians who seek a fairer and more equitable society,” the statement also said.
Gunmen Kill 27, Rob Road Users for Hours Within Two Days in Benue
From Attah Ede, Makurdi
Gunmen suspected to be cult groups, have reportedly killed 27 people within two days after invading Tse- Anule, Chito and Tse- Akosu communities in Ukum local government area of Benue State.
DDAILY ASSET gathered that the gang groups carried out acts on Saturday and early hours of Sunday.
At Tse- Anule, it was learned that the cult boys stormed the area with motorcycles and after killing people, went and mounted roadblocks along Sankara and Ayati, robbed people for several hours.
Eye witness from the axis told DAILY ASSET that the armed group came with different guns and ammunition and ordered all the villagers who were relaxing under the mango tree to lie facedown.
The source further said immediately the victims obliged and lied facedown, they opened fire on them, killing five of the defenceless people.
According to the source, who didn’t want his name mentioned in print, the armed men thereafter proceeded to mount roadblocks along Sankara and Ayati road and robbed many people of their belongings for several hours.
Recall that not more than 22 persons were also reportedly killed in Chito and Tyo Akosu communities of same Ukum Local Government Area of the state as a result of a rival gang fight and attack on a drinking spot, bringing the total number of causalities to 27.
The fight was said to be between the notorious criminals armed groups known as “Chain Gang” and “Full Fire” which left about 15 able men dead, while several others sustained various degrees of gun injuries.
One of the sources stated that the killings at Tyo Akosu settlement was perpetrated by unknown armed men who also stormed a drinking spot in the village and opened fire on unsuspecting customers at the bar.
He said he could not readily confirm if the attack at Tyo Akosu was an extension of the Chito fight but noted that the suspicion among the locals was that the supremacy fight was fast spreading in the communities of the LGA.
Another source explained that, “it all started Friday afternoon during a fight for supremacy between kingpins of crime in Ukum LGA. They are known as Chain and Full Fire gangs with their operational base located in the LGA.
“Both of them are looking for each others necks. Full FIre employed the services of another banditry group to help kill the Chain gang who got wind of the plan and laid ambush for them.
“They opened fire and killed all of them. Some persons claimed that 10 persons were killed in the bloody fight while others said they counted 15 bodies.
“But it was an internal fight for supremacy among gangs and not a communal crisis. In fact the locals ran away because they feared for their lives. They feared that in the course of the reprisal, they might be affected despite being innocent.”
“Ukum has become hotbed of killings, we are all living in fear as we speak because we cannot tell who is who among our local boys,” he said.
When contacted, the Benue State Command Police Public Relations Officer, Catherine Anene said she was yet to receive information on the incidents
Governorship Election: IGP Orders Redeployment of Imo CP
R The Inspector-General of Police (I-G), Mr Kayode Egbetokun has ordered the redeployment of the Commissioner of Police (CP) in charge of Imo, Mr Mohammed Barde to the Force Headquarters.
This is contained in a statement issued by the Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, on Monday in Abuja.
He said the redeployment of the CP ahead of the Nov.11 governoship election in the state was in line with his commitment to ensure neutrality in the election.
Adejobi said the decision to reshuffle the CP underscores the Police Force’s unwavering dedication to upholding the rule of law throughout the electoral proceedings.
“This redeployment is not an indictment on the affected officer but a broader strategy aimed at bolstering security measures, promoting transparency and upholding the integrity of the electoral security management.
“The I-G is resolute in ensuring a secured environment for all stakeholders, political parties, candidates and citizens to participate in the electoral process,” he said.
Adejobi called urged the electorate to cooperate with the police and other security agencies by adhering to the law to ensure a smooth and successful election. (NAN)
Read Our ePaper
Tiv Residents in America Seek Justice for Late Joshua Terngu Gwebe
ShareThe Mutual Union of the Tiv in America (MUTA), a non-profit and non-partisan charitable organization representing the Tiv community in...
Kogi Governorship Tribunal Adjourns Indefinitely Pending Completion of Election Materials Inspection
ShareFrom Joseph Amedu, Lokoja The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Kogi State has adjourned pending the completion of inspection...
2024 Budget: Delta Govt. Earmarks N150bn for Works Sector
ShareThe Delta Government says it is earmarking the sum of N150 billion for its Works sector in the 2024 fiscal...
Tinubu’s 2024 Budget Speech: Budget of Renewed Hope
Share1. In furtherance of my sacred duties and obligations as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it is my honour...
Enugu Governor Orders Biometric Verification of LG Staff Members
Share Gov Peter Mbah of Enugu has ordered a verification and biometric capturing of all local government workers in the...
Civil Defence Officers Shoot Secondary School Students In Abuja
ShareThe Nigeria Police, on Wednesday, arrested and detained three personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps for shooting...
Diri Presents N480.9bn 2024 Budget to Bayelsa Assembly
ShareFrom Mike Tayese, Yenagoa Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, on Wednesday, presented the 2024 budget of N480.99 billion to...
Police Nab Suspected ‘Yahoo Yahoo’ Ritualist, Pregnant Wife, 19 Robbers in Benue
ShareFrom Attah Ede, Makurdi The Benue State Police Command, on Wednesday, said it has arrested a suspected ‘yahoo-yahoo’ ritualist identified...
Climate Change: YMCA Plants 13,500 Oil Palm Seedlings Across 9 Communities in Nasarawa
ShareBy Joseph Hans Apuu, Lafia The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) an NGO, has planted 13,500 oil palm seedlings in...
Abia Govt to Partner Multilateral Agencies to Build 248.46km Roads – Otti
ShareFrom Joe Akwarandu, Umuahia Abia state governor, Alex Otti has disclosed that his administration is ready to partner multilateral Organizations...