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Governor weeps as herdsmen invade Benue, kill 50

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Farmlands destroyed, residents flee

Ortom condemns attacks, calls for FG’s assistance

Fulani herdsmen on New Year day launched fierce attacks on Guma and Logo local government areas of Benue State, homes of Governor Samuel Ortom and his predecessor, Dr. Gabriel Suswam. The attackers killed more than 50 people in five communities. Ortom, who wept profusely on sighting the victims’ bodies at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, said over 20 people were killed. The assailants burnt down many houses in the affected local governments, displaced scores of residents, destroyed farm crops, food barns and property.

Hundreds of those who sustained varying degrees of injuries are receiving treatment in hospitals across the state. It was learnt that in Logo Local Government Area, which was worse hit, the attackers made the incursion about 10a.m. on Monday with sophisticated weapons and started shooting sporadically when the inhabitants were in the church for the New Year service. The attack, which took the people unawares, continued till the early hours of yesterday where, in Saghev and Branch Umenger villages all in Guma Local Government Area as well as at Jootar in Gaambe-Tiev in Logo Local Government Area, the invaders slaughtered many people, among them women and children.

Dozens of inhabitants have evacuated their household items, including clothing, foodstuff, electronics, furniture and vehicles among others and are taking refuge in areas considered to be safe as no refuges’ camp has been created by the state government.

It was learnt that among those killed in Guma included nine members of Livestock Security Guards deployed in the area to help protect the lives and property of the people, while a security Hilux van belonging to them was also burnt. Some of the Livestock Guards men reportedly killed were Mr. Shiaondo of Turan council ward and Mr. Iorpuu Ger of Mbashav, Mbagber council ward, all of Gaambe- Tiev Logo Local Government Area.

It was learnt at press time that more bodies which littered the bush were still being picked and deposited in the morgue at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital as well as the General Hospital in Ugba, headquarters of Logo Local Government Area where some of the injured victims were also receiving treatment. A fleeing victim, Anande Ikyumen, regretted that as the attacks continued, security operatives were alerted but did not respond.

He said: “The worst part of it is that with all the pressure and calls, the security operatives kept telling the affected communities that they were very close to the scenes of the attack while the militias intensified the attack and killing.”

The Chief Medical Director of the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Terlumun Swende, told journalists that 11 victims were so far received in the hospital while six died. He also said efforts were on to revive the remaining five.

Swende described the injuries inflicted on the victims as “heinous and gruesome”. This is one of the deadly attacks on communities in the state which is coming barely two months after the Anti- Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017 which was signed into law by Ortom became fully operational.

The objectives of the law are, among other things, to prevent clashes between nomadic livestock herders and crop farmers; prevent the destruction of crop farms, community ponds, settlements and property by open rearing and grazing of livestock. It provides further that any person(s) found moving livestock on foot within or across urban centres, rural settlements or any part of the state commits an offence and is liable to N500,000 fine for first offender or N1 million fine or three years imprisonment or both.

The law also lucidly spells out that any person or group of persons who contravenes its sub-section (1) shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to five years imprisonment or N1 million fine or both. In a swift reaction, Governor Ortom condemned the gruesome murder of the innocent people, describing it as unacceptable. The governor, who said more than 20 people were killed, called on the Federal Government to urgently step into the matter by deploying more security personnel to stop the carnage.

He said: “I think this is where the Federal Government must come in immediately to stop this because these people are known. We heard that they met in one state and mobilised to come and attack our people and they have sophisticated weapons. “This is not acceptable; we are not going to accept it.

There is no going back on the implementation of the Anti- Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law. This is our land and the law was duly passed by our people. Those who have been killed, their blood will cry to the Federal Government and if the Federal Government does not do something, their blood will cry to God and I am sure God will deal with the situation Himself.” Ortom said he had made official report to the Federal Government about the intension of the armed Fulani herdsmen to invade the state over claims that they were against the Anti- Open Grazing Law.

The governor, however, maintained that the law was enacted as a deliberate way of ending years of conflict between herdsmen and farmers. He said: “I have never seen where people will come out with this level of impunity.

The law was legitimately passed, nobody has faulted it, it is our right to make laws for the good governance of our state and as a government, it is the constitutional responsibility of our government to provide security for lives and property.”

Also, one person was reportedly killed at Gbudu Talaka village along Benue-Nasarawa states’ borders when suspected AK47-wielding Fulani herdsmen invaded the area. Several houses were reportedly set on fire while hundreds of people were rendered homeless.

Witnesses said residents of communities at Baking Korta along Nasarawa State border had fled their homes and were now taking refuge at Keana, headquarters of Keana Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, for fear of being attacked.

Former Chairman of Tiv Consultative Forum, Chief Augustine Kuza, told journalists on the telephone that thousands of people, including women and children, along Bakin Korta and environs had deserted their homes and were now taking refuge at Keana town. He explained that a large number of suspected herdsmen armed with weapons were sighted moving towards Benue State.

The former Tiv Consultative Forum chairman appealed to the Nasarawa State government to as a matter of urgency deploy security personnel in the border area to prevent escalation of the crisis. Kuza therefore called on Nasarawa State government to create camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) moving along border areas between Benue and Nasarawa states to take refuge, just as he called on governments of the two states and the Federal Government to restore peace in the affected communities.

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Metro and Crime

Remarkable achievement! Nigerian-American girl born without hands wins handwriting competition

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An inspirational story of a 9-year-old Nigerian-American girl, Anaya Ellick, is trending after she emerged winner of two national awards for exceptional handwriting skills in America. The feat, as outstanding as it is, is made even more remarkable considering that she was born without hands.

A third-grader in the Chesapeake area of Virginia in the United States, Ellick beat hundreds of others who competed with her to the award in competition in spite of her physical challenges.

She was named winner of the 2018 Nicholas Maxim Award, which is part of the 2018 Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest on April 26. Ellick’s tale of extraordinary proportions shows she previously won the Nicholas Maxim Award for Excellence in Manuscript Penmanship when she was a first grader two years ago.

Her story, one of the most profound depictions of the popular maxim – there is ability is disability, indicates that people should never limit the extent of their dreams and aspirations no matter the circumstance. With her feat, the amazing young girl has brought glory not just to her family but as well to Nigeria through academic brilliance.

The accomplishment by the girl, who found a way to be the best at writing despite the fact that she was born without hands, has left many observers wondering how she was able to pull it off. According to the organisers, the award recognises students with special-needs who have developed an exceptional skill in handwriting and even they are astonished that the 9-year-old who was also named winner of the contest’s print category, could do it again on a larger scale.

Being so close to home, Saturday Telegraph gathered that the little girl who doesn’t use prosthetic hands, took an unconventional approach to it all. She took time to learn how to hold a pencil between her arms both for the purposes of drawing and writing.

On account of the feat, her school has taken the lead in celebrating the Nigerian-American on social media. “Greenbrier Christian Academy is proud to announce third grader Anaya Ellick has won the Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellence in Cursive!,” a post by the school began.Anaya previously won the Nicholas Maxim Award for Excellence in Manuscript Penmanship as a first grader in 2016 and has claimed the title again with her outstanding cursive writing. “What makes Anaya’s achievement as a National Handwriting Champion so special is Anaya was born without hands and does not use prosthetic.

In order to write, she is able to hold a pencil between her two arms and stand at her desk to get the proper angle needed for writing. “Anaya is an extraordinary young lady. Her tenacity continues to inspire all of us at GCA. She has well-earned first place finish reminds us all what determination and hard work can achieve.

We are so proud of Anaya and her accomplishments. “During our Foundations Academy Chapel, Anaya’s teacher, Mrs. Becky Cannaday, shared a message on our character trait of the month, boldness, and on the importance of letting your light shine for God’s glory.

“Cannaday encouraged students to be bold and reminded our Gators that boldness does not always mean being front and center, but can also be shown by humbly standing alone in doing the right thing, even when everyone else is not. Mrs. Cannaday went on challenge students to respectfully love others and to not be fooled by the world into acting in ways that do not glorify God. “As at the time of going to the press, after Cannaday’s message, representatives from Zaner-Bloser presented Anaya with a monetary award and trophy.

The National Handwriting Contest is an annual event sponsored by Zaner-Bloser to promote legible handwriting,” the message concludes. In a statement, GCA Principal, Tracy Cox, also spoke about the remarkable 9-year-old. “Anaya is a remarkable young lady.

She does not let anything get in the way of doing what she has set out to do,” said. “She is a hard worker and has some of the best handwriting in her class. Her determination is an inspiration to all of us at GCA,” she said.

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Metro and Crime

LCDA creation: Oke Ogun community hails Ajimobi on grassroots devt

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Residents of Wewe, one of the 35 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) created from the 33 Local Government Areas of Oyo State on January 16, 2018, have given kudos to the administration of Governor Abiola Ajimobi for affording them at the grassroots level the opportunity of directly participating in the governance of the 42-year-old Pace setter state.

The commendation is sequel to the election and swearing in of the Council Chairman, Mr Olaniyi Olusegun Olawuwo, who was the first Caretaker Chairman of the area, created from the Saki West Local Government, and had within a very short period of time touched many of the sectors of the area.

Wewe community is known for its heavy reliance on agriculture, as well as some economic activities like iron pots, shear butter, bakery, table water factories and modern day businesses including tourist centre. Bordered in the East by Saki East Local Government; in the North by ATISBO Local Government; in the West by Saki West Local Government, and in the South by Asabari LCDA, Wewe LCDA covers about 60 kilometres terrain around a waterlogged area with many rivers adjoining Wewe River, which the LCDA was named after. According to Olawuwo, while speaking with Saturday Telegraph, his administration had been able to embark on and completed over 31 various projects including agricultural and natural resources, environment health, education and social services, primary health care, road construction among others.

Olawuwo while recounting his experience as the pioneer caretaker chairman and his mission to transform the LCDA said the creation of the council had in no small measure justified the reason Governor Abiola Ajimobi established the LCDA.

The level of development since the creation of LCDA has really gone deeper into the grassroots in the old local government areas. By the time we are privileged to execute our mission for this LCDA, without mincing words, it would be clear to everyone, even the critics of Governor Ajimobi, that the creation of LCDAs is primarily for the good of our people at the grassroots as promised by our Governor. “When I came on board, it was evident to me that we have a lot to do to key into the vision of our governor in ensuring development across the length and breadth of Oyo State.

You will recall vividly that his administration is championing rural and urban development. The urban cities have been enjoying massive development, so creation of LCDAs will match deep rural development.

“At Wewe LCDA, we came on board with a lot of hopes on our shoulder, hence our resolve to set the area on the road of development. In conjunction with the staff, we have been able to prove that the LCDA will in truth serve as a spring board for eventual development and as a platform to get our people’s view and come up with their actual needs”, Olawuwo said.

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Metro and Crime

Court declares teacher’s sacking ‘unlawful’

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The National Industrial Court, on Friday declared as `unlawful’ the dismissal of one Akpomovine Ojo-Gabriel for embarking on maternity leave by the Hillside School, Abuja. Justice Rakiya Haastrup in delivering the judgement ordered payment of her salary and cost of suit.

The judge said the defendant’s failure to recognise the claimant’s maternity leave and refusal to allow the claimant resume after her leave was unjustifiable.

Haastrup said the stopping of her salaries is in breach of the terms of contract of the parties as contained in the staff handbook. The judge said the defendant breached the agreement in the section of the handbook that dealt with maternity leave which the claimant was entitled to as a staff.

“The handbook stipulates one month notice or salary in lieu of notice is required where the employment relationship is to be terminated by either party,’’ she said. Haastrup said the act of the defendant in mandating the claimant to re-apply for her position was null and void.

She ordered the payment of the claimant one month basic salary and any other entitlements that may be due and accrued. The claimant was also awarded the sum of N50, 000 as cost of prosecuting the suit.

The court, however, said the claimant was not entitled to the claim for an order of reinstatement. The claimant’s counsel, Kingsley Osuji, said his client before her dismissal was a teacher at Hillside School, Abuja, until she left for a two months maternity leave which was duly sought for and approved.

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