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Stakeholders Seek Implementation of Criminal Laws in Benue

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Benue State Governor Ortom
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From Chris Gaga, Makurdi 

In continued efforts to ensure that permanent peace is achieved within the state, Stakeholders in Benue have advocated full implementation of State gazzetted laws against Cultisms, drug abuse, hostage taking, and other varying crimes to avoid breach of peace in some quarters of the state.

 

The stakeholders, comprising of representatives of Benue state government, the police, DSS, Immigration,Civil defence.

traditional rulers, civil society organizations and human right groups, farmers, herders as well as People With Disabilities, made this recommendation at a Peace Architecture Dialogue meeting called by Search for Common Ground, an international NGO working for peace in Benue.

They emphasized the need for institutions to be more stronger than individuals as well as elimination of undue influence by higher authorities on the operation of security agencies in their quest to curb crimes. 

The stakeholders also observed that a deeper collaboration between government, Security agencies and Civil Society Organizations among other institutions will reduce the incidences of herder/farmer crisis to the barest minimum.

They noted that incidences of herder/farmer crisis and other vices heightening insecurity in the state have continued to linger due to lack of honesty, transparency and cooperation among various institutions and higher authorities within the state.

The stakehokders who commended security agents for hard work, however condemned the unhealthy role played by some “authorities” especially when culprits are arrested and handed over to the police.

It was learned at the meeting that when culprits are arrested, some “big men” will use their Privilleged positions to bail the boys back into the society even before the case is established, a situation they observed was encouraging crimes in the state.

They noted that as a way out, government, security agencies, professional bodies, CSOs and all stakeholders must synergize with the aim of dealing wholesomely with the tide. 

The stakeholders who noted that every traditional ruler or community leader knows his subjects and what they were capable of doing, sugggested that government should make a pronouncement of dethronement on any traditional leader found to be shielding criminals.

They also urged authorities to recruit both farmers and herders into vigilantee groups for easy identification of strangers and criminals in their various communities just as they also called for attitudinal change and the will to accept change to enable peace return to the state.

The State Project Coordinator for Search, Mr. Joshua Chorbe said Search for Common ground has continued to  create understanding, social integration and pathway to sustainable peace among farmers and herders in Benue.

He said the aim of the meeting is to seek ways to engender peace through collaborative and cooperative approaches that will stop the crisis,  usher in enduring changes and peace in the state.

Mr Chorbe urged PAD members to use their organization to carryout advocacies in their domain participant called on the federal government, security agencies and other stake holders to give it the seriousness it deserves  to usher in peace and unity in the country.

Our Correspondent reports that ‘Search for Common Ground’ according to the stakeholders has contributed immensely to the current peace experienced in the State especially in the LGs that were the worst hit of herdsmen attacks.

CRIME

Three Dead  in Kubwa Violent Clash

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By Laide Akinboade, Abuja

Three persons, including two women and a young boy, have reportedly been killed in a clash between local scavengers, otherwise referred to as Baban Bola, and residents of the Byazhin community, in Kubwa, Bwari Area Council of the FCT.

An eyewitness, who identified herself as Jessica Adam, said a Baban Bola element attempted to steal a woman’s pot of soup, but was overpowered and beaten up after the woman alerted neighbours and passers-by.

The embittered baban bola then went away and mobilised hoodlums who returned at about 8:00 pm wielding weapons including machetes, clubs, and stones and began attacking residents at random, eventually killing the woman whose pot of soup was earlier stolen.

In the continuing attack, two others, a woman and a young boy, reported to be passers-by who unfortunately ran into the middle of the crisis, were also killed, they however, have yet yet to be identified.

“They killed two people yesterday. The Community has been in chaos since yesterday. The crisis continued till this morning when they killed somebody again. So far, three persons have been killed and many injured. The Police intervened and restored normalcy, but no arrest was made. The Police have intensified their patrol in the Byazhin area of Kubwa to prevent them from regrouping”, Ms Adams narrated.

A resident in the community, who spoke with Daily Asset, on the condition of anonymity, also confirmed the death of the three persons but said he had no clue as to what may have started the clash.

“Yes, the riot started yesterday. And by this morning, we learnt that three persons have been killed. It happened in Byazhin around that Millionaire’s Quarters, behind that Living Faith Church. That place is usually dangerous, because it is quite lonely, and you cannot pass through there alone, especially in the evening”, he said.

As of the time of filing this report, PUNCH Metro gathered that schools and shops in the area have been closed down, as parents scampered to pick up kids from their classrooms, and shops refused to open as of Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, efforts to reach the Police Public Relations Officer of the FCT Police Command, SP Josephine Adeh, proved abortive, as her number was repeatedly unreachable.

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CRIME

Okuama Crisis: Reps Assures Justice as Committee Commences Probe

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From Mike Tayese, Yenagoa

The House of Representatives has said it will ensure the crisis in Okuama Community, Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State is brought to a logical conclusion.

Chairman, House Committee on Defence, Rep. Babajimi Benson, gave the assurance while addressing newsmen on Thursday, at the Governor’s Office Annexe in Warri.

Benson led other members of the committee to a public hearing on the carnage that occurred in Okuama Community in Delta resulting to the death of 17 soldiers and consequent destruction of properties.

The committee convened on Thursday at the Governor’s Office Annexe in Warri without the presence of the locals in attendance.

It would be recalled that the investigative hearing was in line with the 10th Assembly House of Representatives’ resolution of March 19, 2024.

The resolution was prompted by the March 14 massacre of 17 soldiers in the Okuama Community.

The lawmaker said that the committee had so far received about 23 memorandum from stakeholders.

“We came to see members of the community in camera and by way of memorandum. We have received a lot of memorandum from them but they have not turn up physically.

“We have gotten enough memorandum and we intend to work with the memorandum. Though, the window is opened till Friday next week, so we are still expecting more from them.

“We have assured everyone including the Delta State that the House of Representatives will ensure the matter is looked into from both sides and come to a logical conclusion.

“That is why we are asking them to send memoranda and they are complying. We gave them a week and the period will elapse on Friday.

“If you do not want to show up, please send us your documents so that we will be able to act on them, and get to a logical conclusion,” Benson appealed.

The legislator said that the committee was fully ready to ensure that justice was done on the matter.

On why the committee could not visit the troubled Okuama Community, the lawmaker said that the activities of the committee regarding the crisis had not ended.

According to him, the committee will visit the locals and also invite the military to give account of what happened at the community.

“We are definitely going to meet the locals but we are going to arm ourselves with information,” he said.

Among the 10-man committee was Rep. Francis Waive, member representing Ughelli North/Ughelli South and Udu Federal Constituency.

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CRIME

Gunmen Attack Ortom’s Ex-Chief-of-Staff, Abduct Wife

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Suspected armed Fulani herdsmen on Friday, attacked former Chief of Staff to Benue State Governor, Honorable Terwase Orbunde, and abducted his wife and house help.

Orbunde, a former governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic (PDP) in Benue state served under the administration of the immediate past Governor of the state, Dr Samuel Ortom.

The attack, it was learnt took place close to the “Genocide Cemetery” along Mobile Barracks-Welfare Quarters Road in Makurdi, the state capital at about 6.

00 PM.

The former Chief of Staff escaped with a gunshot on his right arm, while the attackers whisked away his wife, Mrs Abigail Kashimana Orbunde and her house help, Patience Ogute.

Eyewitnesses told DAILY ASSET that Orbunde, his wife and the house help, had gone to inspect the their farm when the incident happened.

The eyewitnesses said after the inspection of the work and payment of the workers five gunmen suddenly attacked their victims as they walked back to their car.

The attackers were said to have opened fire and Orbunde received a bullet on the right arm, while they ordered him and the women to follow them to an unknown destination.

The shooting was said to have caused villagers and passersby to scamper for safety in different directions.

As they marched along, the former Chief of Staff was said to be bleeding profusely, witnesses further said.

The witnesses who watched from a distance said the leader of the group ordered him to walk away while the gunmen took the women to an unknown destination.

An unidentified ‘good Samaritan’ was said to have conveyed the former Chief of Staff to an undisclosed hospital for medical attention.

The State Police Commnad could not be reached for comments at the time of this report.

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