President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday expressed grief over the incessant attacks and killing of innocent people in Benue State by armed Fulani herdsmen saying he was deeply pained over the killings.
Besides, the President acknowledged the contributions of people of the state towards nation building and the deserved to be actively involved in the national scheme of things of the country and vowed to do everything possible to put an end to the ongoing Killings in the state.
President Buhari, represented by his Vice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, disclosed this while addressing key stakeholders at the new banquet hall of the government house in Makurdi, the state capital.
“I am a Christian, a born-again Christian and a Professor of Law, Law of Evidence, I must fight for justice. I am pained about this killings. Though I don’t believe that there is ethnic cleansing, we must put an end to this. I am prepared to leave my position at any time, no one owes the destiny of another, the word of God cannot be killed. We shall do all we can to bring a permanent solution to this crisis. We shall make sure peace returns to Benue State”.
“It is undoubtedly true that Benue people have made significant contributions for the progress of the country and we need no reminding of that”.
He condoled people of the state over the brutal murder of two Catholic Priests and 17 parishioners by armed herdsmen and restated the resolve of the federal government to ensure the peaceful return of hundreds of the displaced persons back to their ancestral homes.
I saw the displaced persons at IDPs where I went and I want to assure you that they still have hope as far as they are still living. Mr. President has given me some responsibilities and I shall carry them out. We have beefed security already, we shall work towards the return of the IDPs back to their homes, places destroyed will be rebuilt, those out of schools will return back to their schools, farmers will be given loan to start farming, there shall be microfinance to release funds to traders to aide their trading”.
Governor Ortom who also spoke at the meeting, lauded the support given the state through massive deployment of security operatives to quell the crisis like.
The governor regretted the killing of the Priests and other parishioners saying it would have brought a religious crisis in the country, and appreciated the swift intervention of security apparatuses and the release of funds to the state to accord them a befitting burial.
Former Military Administrator of Katsina State, Gen. Lawrence Onoja told the President that Benue State value three things, Education, Agriculture and Military but most of these things have been greatly affected due to the lingering Fulani crisis in Benue state.
General Onoja who advocated for the establishment of a reconstruction commission charged with the responsibility of address issues of devastated communities, noted that the N10 billion earmarked by the federal government for the rebuilding of devastated villages in Benue and other states of the federation is grossly inadequate.
“I thought the N10 billion that was released was for Benue State alone, I never knew other States are part of it, however, we humbly request that Benue should get much of its utilization”.
In a remark, the Catholic Bishop of Gboko Diocese, Bishop Williams Avenya, urged the President to do his best to stop these killings and save his name.
Other speakers including former Minister of State for Education, Prof. Jerry Agada and member of the House of Representative for Jechira constituency, Hon. Magdalene Dura among others lamented the absence of federal presence including roads, education and other infrastructure.
EFCC grills former Kaduna governor for 4 hours over N700m campaign fund
The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on Friday interrogated Ramalan Yero, former governor of Kaduna state, for four hours at the commission’s office in Kaduna.
Yero was at the EFCC Kaduna office from around 9 am till around 1:30 pm, when he walked out smiling.
The former governor thanked his supporters who were outside the EFCC office, for their solidarity and asked them to go to the mosques for Juma’at prayer.
He, however, declined to make comment to the press.
His spokesman, Yakubu Lere, told NAN that the ex-governor was invited in connection with the N700 million campaign funds released to the state by the People Democratic Party headquarters in 2015.
Lere recalled that the former governor was at the EFCC office in Kano two years ago over the matter and was granted administrative bail.
“At that time, he explained during the interrogation that the N700 million was PDP money sent to him as the then governor of Kaduna state to finance 2015 general election with instructions, which he judiciously followed,” he said.
“What they are holding against him was that he kept the money in the office of the secretary to the state government instead of in a bank.
“Even last week he was here on the same issue, but as you can see, he came out smiling, meaning the commission has found nothing to hold against him for now.”
The spokesman urged Yero supporters to remain calm and be law abiding, adding that the struggle to “rescue the state from collapse” has started.
Speaker seizes mace to avoid impeachment
The Speaker of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Legislative Council, Mr Daniel Michael, on Friday, seized the mace, the symbol of authority, to prevent his impeachment.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that his action followed the move by his colleagues to impeach him over allegation of misconduct and abuse of privilege.
Mr Yusuf Kadir, the majority leader of the house, while moving a motion to pass a vote of no confidence on the speaker for alleged gross misconduct, called for his impeachment.
Mr Haruna Saidu, the deputy speaker, who presided over the house, directed the clerk to serve the speaker with the no confidence vote notice moved against him.
Saidu explained that the speaker had been given notice and the ultimatum to respond to the petition on or before May 30, but had to step down as the speaker in the meantime.
He further said that the impeachment would depend on his response to the notice served him.
Mr Aminu Barde, representing Kabusa ward, called on the house to strike out article B in the motion, which according to him, was strictly a party affair and should not be brought to the house.
Mr Isah Baushe, the Councillor representing Gwarinpa ward, said that the speaker should be given time to respond to the petition in writing before his the formal impeachment.
Baushe added that the petitioners should also provide evidence to back up their claims.
The petition reads: “abuse of office by taking unilateral decision without consulting this honorable chamber, which is tantamount to act of impunity and gross abuse of privilege.
“There was also an abuse of privilege by misinforming and misleading the honourable members to subconsciously disobey the party decision on state exco affirmation.
“This singular action has brought this honourable house to disrepute and ridicule.
“There was subversion of the legislative authority by unilaterally withdrawing an official communication from this chamber to the executive arm of the council without our collective consent.
“Desecrating the symbol of authority by removing and ordering mace to be deposited in an unconstitutional and unauthorised location,” it stated.
In his reaction, the speaker told NAN that he had not done anything wrong and would answer any question brought to him.
“I know myself, I have not done anything wrong, I’ll answer them,” he said.
NAN also reports that the glass door to the chamber was completely broken during the fracas that ensued at the chamber, following the event.
The lawmakers resorted to the use of the old broken mace to conduct the business of the day.
Some of the lawmakers, however, expressed happiness to the happening at the chamber, saying the crisis would allow members to sit up for serious legislative business.
Police recover Gombe assembly’s Mace
The Police in Gombe state on Friday, said they had recovered the Mace of the state’s House of Assembly, forcefully taken away a scuffle by some members during plenary on Thursday.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Shina Olukolu, told newsmen in Gombe that the mace was found around National Industrial Court in the state capital in the early hours of Friday.
The mace, the symbol of authority of the legislature, was said to have been whisked away by some aggrieved members of the assembly after a failed attempt to change their leadership.
“You will recall that yesterday, May 24, at about 1.30 p.m. the mace, the symbol of authority of Gombe state House of Assembly, was taken away by an honourable member of the house in the company of others.
“The incident was allegedly occasioned by the dispute over leadership change of minority principal officers of the house.
“On receipt of the information, the Commissioner of Police visited the scene and heightened the security architecture already in place in the command based on the directives of the Inspector-General of Police.
“The pressure made them consequently to abandon the mace by the National Industrial Court in the state and it was recovered early on Friday.
“The mace is therefore today being handed over to the Speaker for his retention and use,’’ he said.
Receiving the mace from the police, the speaker, Alhaji Nasiru Nono, commended the police and other security agencies in the state for the proactive steps they took, which led to the recovery of the mace.
Nono said the mace was taken by one of the APC members during plenary on Thursday. (NAN)
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