Following call for the declaration of state of emergency in Benue State as a result of insecurity in the state by the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), the Benue Socio-cultural groups yesterday condemned such call, describing it as unnecessary.
The groups, made up of Mdzough U Tiv, Omny’Igede and Idoma National Forum, yesterday condemned the call during an interactive session with newsmen in Makurdi, the state capital.
This was even as Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka yesterday urged Governor Samuel Ortom to remain firm in opposing the invasion and killing of innocent Benue people.
Leader of the groups, Chief Edward Ujege, who queried the credibility and existence of CNG, led by Mallam Abdulazeez Suleiman, however, described the coalition as a ‘tribal and lawless organisation’ that was not democratically formed, but which was set out to cause confusion and disaffection so that the people of the state would not get justice.
Ujege noted that such coalition could not exist without the inclusion of Benue, which is also considered a state from the north, stressing that ‘the group is a lawless one.’
He vowed that the state would leave no stone unturned to oppose any state of emergency set to impose on it, adding that they will resort to all legal means to achieve their purpose.
“It will be an illegality to declare any state of emergency in Benue State. The constitution does not provide for declaration of state of emergency. The crisis in Benue State is an invasion by herdsmen on farmers. Therefore, the call is a deliberate move, which is meant to subdue the anti-open grazing law which followed due process. We will protect the law with our last blood,” Ujege stressed.
He regretted that the Presidency, the Inspector General of Police and the Minister of Defence have failed in the discharge of their responsibilities of securing lives and property of the people, even as the group stressed the need for state police as being practiced in advanced democracies such as U.S.A and Europe, which Nigeria is emulating.
He added: “If Federal Government had enforced the law, these killings would not have happened. What is happening is an annihilation of the Benue people. So, there is need for state police. Creation of grazing reserves and cattle routes is not the solution because all these areas have been taken over by population and development.
“Already, the Federal Government has reserved over 2 million hectares of land for ranching and the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has asked all Fulani herdsmen to come to the state to graze their cows. They do not need Benue any more to graze.”
According to Prof. Soyinka, in a telephone interview with journalists in Makurdi yesterday, Ortom’s struggle for justice is in the interest of all Nigerians who are suffering various forms of injustice.
While urging Governor Ortom to remain firm in opposing the invasion and killing of innocent Benue people, he stressed that the menace of herdsmen in Benue State could have adverse effect on the country.
The Nobel Laureate urged other Nigerians to support the governor to succeed in his bid to end frequent herdsmen attacks on his people.
Soyinka, however, said he had been following the situation in Benue and was particularly impressed by the governor’s composure and steadfastness.
2019: Isiaka resigns from PDP, says party’s crisis intractable
The Ogun State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in 2015, Prince Gboyega Isiaka, has resigned his membership of the party.
Isiaka, who said the decision was not an easy one for him, noted that the crisis rocking the party in the state had proved intractable ahead of another general election.
A copy of his resignation letter dated May 24 and addressed to the state PDP chairman, was obtained yesterday by Saturday Telegraph.
The Ogun PDP had been factionalised between loyalists of Senator Buruji Kashamu representing Ogun East Senatorial District and a House of Representatives member, Oladipupo Adebutu, from Remo Federal Constituency.
Isiaka, who had contested the governorship on two previous occasions, said he was leaving the PDP to continue his partisan political career “by charting a new course.”
He lamented that genuine steps taken by few patriots within the opposition party to close up the fault lines and return it to glory days have been to no avail.
The letter partly read, “I am using this medium to convey the decision to resign my membership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), effective from today 24th May, 2018.
“This has not been an easy one for me as I recall with nostalgia, the opportunities and privileges which the membership of this party conferred on my political career; the peak of which was the kind consideration given me to be the flag bearer of the PDP in the last gubernatorial election in Ogun State.
“You will recall that the PDP, especially in our state, has been through a rough patch in the last couple of years, and after two successive electoral losses, the search for lasting peace is still elusive. Despite the genuine steps taken by few patriots within the party to close up the fault lines and return the party to glory days, all have been to no avail.
“With another election on the horizon and the perennial challenges of the party festering and proving to be intractable, I am left with no other choice but to continue my partisan political career by charting a new course where my philosophies and beliefs are aligned with good democratic ethos for the ultimate aim of promoting a better society.”
When contacted yesterday on Isiaka’s next political move, one of his media aides, Wale Junaid, said his principal is committed to contesting and winning the 2019 governorship in the state.
Junaid stated that the issue of whether the two-time gubernatorial candidate would join another political party or not would be addressed at the appropriate time.
He restated Isiaka’s commitment to running a welfarist and people-centred administration when he emerges as governor next yea
Imo APC crisis: Okorocha meets Buhari again
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday met behind closed doors with Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha and former Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Okorocha’s meeting with the president, which lasted for about an hour, came few days after he met the president in his country home, Daura, Katsina State. The governor had complaint about the conduct of the ward congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in his state. Okorocha, who was again accompanied by Oshiomhole, declined comment on the outcome of his meeting with the president.
NAN, however, gathered that Okorocha might have again lodged a fresh complaint about the way and manner the ward and local government APC congresses were conducted in Imo. It will be recalled that Okorocha had on May 7 in Daura, told newsmen after a closed-door meeting with Buhari that there was no ward congress in Imo. He said: “We expect internal democracy and internal democracy is the way to go.
Those kinds of funny politics that were played must stop, where people went to carry ballot boxes, steal results, looks so primitive. “I intimated Mr. President and we will make sure that such things must stop.’’
Court grants Jang bail with N100m surety
- I hold no grudge against my oppressors, says ex-gov
A High Court sitting in Jos, the Plateau State capital, yesterday granted bail to the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Jonah Jang and a former cashier in the Office of the Secretary to Plateau State Government, Mr. Yusuf Pam, with two sureties each in the sum of N100 million and N50 million respectively. Jang is facing a 12-count charge bordering on alleged corruption and misappropriation.
The former governor is alleged to have misappropriated over N6 billion, two months to the end of his tenure as governor of Plateau in 2015. According to the charges, the former governor also embezzled over N4 billion from the state coffers through Pam Yusuf, who was a cashier in the office of the Secretary to the State Government.
Yusuf, who is a co-defendant in the suit against Jang, is also facing another case of allegedly enriching himself to the tune of N11 million. Counsel to the accused persons, Robert Clarke (SAN) had, on May 16, in a written application during their arraignment, prayed the court to grant his clients bail based on self-recognition, after both accused persons, Jang and Pam, pleaded not guilty to the crime. This was as the former governor yesterday said he was not holding any grudge against his oppressors.
While responding to the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), prayed the court not to grant the accused persons bail, stating that section 341 (2) of the 1999 Constitution said an offence which attracts an imprisonment of more than three years, was not bailable. Presiding judge, Justice Daniel Longji, while ruling on the bail application by the lead accused counsel, Clarke, said the first accused and former governor was to provide two sureties with the sum of N100 million only, among which one must be a first class traditional ruler within the jurisdiction of the court.
On the second accused, Mr. Yusuf Pam, a former cashier in the Office of the Secretary to the State Government, Justice Longji also granted him bail to provide two sureties in which one must be a permanent secretary in the civil service or anybody of that rank.
Justice Longji also directed the first and the second accused to submit their international passports to the chief registrar of the court. The judge had, however, adjourned the case to 17th, 18th and 19th of July, 2018 for definite hearing. Meanwhile, Jang yesterday said in a statement that the burden he was carrying in his heart was not of grudges against those against him. He said: “The burden I carry in my heart is not of grudges against those against me, but of gratitude for those who have endured difficult conditions to stand with me through this ordeal.
“I am convinced beyond doubts that your labour of love shall not be in vain. May God bless you for remembering me in my hour of distress.” Jang, who was the former governor of Plateau State from 2007 to 2015, said: “For over a week, I was kept in detention by the EFCC, deprived of the inalienable right to personal freedom and association.
” The senator said his lawyers had instituted a case at the FCT High Court and that he would pursue the matter to its logical conclusion. According to him, “If the laws of our country are still potent under the current circumstances, my detention constitutes a gross abuse of the fundamental rights guaranteed me as a law-abiding citizen as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
“Where the constitution provides for an accused person to be charged to court within one day, I was held by the EFCC for over a week in flagrant disregard to the letters and spirit of the supreme document which legitimises the very existence of our country.”
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