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Benue govt not involved in Nasarawa killings – Gov Ortom



By Titus Atondu, Makurdi

Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom has described as mischievous, allegations linking his government to recent killings from an air raid on a settlement in Nasarawa State.

The governor further  dismissed that neither him nor his government had a hand in the unfortunate incident.

He maintained that he did not order anyone to carry out such act, insisting that he has no such powers to order such an air raid operation which resulted in the killings.

Ortom debunked this on Sunday, during a Thanksgiving Mass for the official commissioning of a Parish House built by him at Holy Cross Parish, Ogbolokuta, Ulayi, in Ado Local Government Area.

He explained that contrary to the wrong narrative being peddled, it may have been as a result of intelligence gathered by the Military High Command.

The governor wondered why he would be linked to the incident, saying it was pure mischief for anyone to attempt to rope him into what he had no knowledge about.

Speaking on the hostilities between the people of Ezza community of Ado Local Government and their neighbouring Ebonyi State, the governor said he was working in collaboration with the Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi to end the incessant conflicts between the two brothers.

He disclosed that the peace meeting between the two state governments will be held in the area as a show of commitment to bring the crises to a stop so that the people will return to their homes.

Ortom is the first governor of the State to have visited Ezza community since the creation of the state in 1976, where he told the  people that boundaries were meant for administrative convenience and not to divide people.

According to him, the Ezza people, though Igbo speaking, were bonafide indigenes of Benue State and must be protected by the government.

He also assured them that there was an ongoing process for the amendment of the chieftaincy law of the state, saying, “Ezza community must also be given the opportunity to lead their people” through the appointment of traditional rulers.

He directed the Chairman of Ado Local Government Council, Hon James Oche to ensure presentation on the matter during public hearing for review of the chieftaincy law.

Governor Ortom urged the people who deserted their homes as a result of the hostilities to return to their places and be vigilant in reporting any security breach, assuring that able bodied young men from Ezza community will be drafted into the next batch of the State Community Volunteer Guards to help curb insecurity.

He particularly commended the Parish Priest of Holy Cross Catholic Church, Ogbolokuta, Rev. Fr Solomon Ujah and the Diocese of Otukpo for their resilience in helping to keep the Ezza community despite the several security challenges in the area.

Earlier in a homily, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Otukpo, Most Rev. Michael Ekwoyi Apochi encouraged the faithful to imbibe doing works of charity to fellow human beings, stating that doing so was to God Himself on which account entry into heaven will be determined.

Bishop Apochi whose message was focused on the beatitudes as taken from the gospel of Matthew 5:1-12 stated that the beatitudes offer the comfort to rise from our sense of inhumanity, injustice, oppression of the poor, bad leadership as well as bad followership, admonishing that Christians should use the beatitudes to rise against personal failures and sinfulness.

In his welcome remarks, the Parish Priest of Holy Cross Catholic Church, Ogbolokuta, Rev. Fr. Solomon Alexander Ujah expressed profound appreciation to Governor Ortom for building a Parish House for the Church and prayed to God to reward his sacrifice.

He also appealed to the governor to further look into the challenges of the Ezza community, which he pointed out was ravaged by insecurity, lack of access road, as well as non-existence of a health facility to serve the community.

The Vicar General, Administration of the Catholic Diocese of Otukpo, Very Rev. Fr. Kenneth Odeh presented the Diocesan Centenary Award to Governor Ortom in recognition of his sustained support for the growth of the Church.


Eight injured in ilorin gas cylinder explosion



Eight persons were injured in a gas cylinder explosion in Ilorin, Kwara State capital on Saturday.

They included a gas attendant and seven students of the Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin.

Spokesman of the State Fire Service, Hassan Adekunle, disclosed that the incident occurred at approximately 21:32 hours, at Destiny Villa, Dola Abimbola Street, Elekoyangan area, of Ilorin East Local Government, in the State.

“The firemen promptly departed from the station and upon arrival at the scene, they encountered a building with about 17 self-contained rooms fully ablaze.

“Four rooms were affected, and eight individuals sustained injuries. Despite the intense fire, the firefighters effectively contained and extinguished it through their skilled firefighting techniques.

“Upon investigation, it was revealed that a gas attendant at a nearby gas shop was refilling a gas cylinder positioned several meters above ground level.

“The cylinder fell and exploded, concurrently releasing gas from the charged hose used for refilling. This exacerbated the fire, resulting in injuries to seven Kwara State Polytechnic students and the gas attendant.”

The spokesman added that the fire incident destroyed property worth N14.6m.

In his reaction to the incident, Director of Kwara State Fire Service, Prince Falade John, dispatched his team to check on the affected students on Sunday.

The Director also urged the public to prioritize safety measures to prevent fire disasters.

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9 bodies recovered from Niger boat mishap – NSEMA



 The Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA) has said that nine bodies were recovered from a boat mishap that occurred in Shiroro Local Government Area of the state.

The Head of Relief and Rehabilitation in NSEMA, Alhaji Salihu Garba, disclosed this in an interview with the Newsmen in Minna on Sunday.

Newsmen recalls that ten persons were confirmed dead in a boat mishap that occurred on Thursday, November 16.

The victims, mostly traders, were reportedly conveying goods from Zongoru Community of Bassa Ward to Gijiwa, ahead of Friday market in Kuta, headquarters of Shiroro LGA, when the tragic incident happened.

At least 34 persons were said to be on board of which 10 allegedly lost their lives, while 22 were reportedly rescued by local divers.

Garba gave the names of the deceased to include Farida Muntari, Sharhabila Sagir, Bubakar Sadiq, Na’ima Ibrahim, Amina, Safaratu Ibrahim, Sadiq Ibrahim and Rafiya Yakubu.

He said that the agency had yet to identify two of the deceased persons, adding that all the deceased were from Zangoro.

He further said that there were 24 males and female adults and 10 male and female children in the boat when it capized.

Garba also said that a search operation was ongoing to recover the remaining bodies.

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Eight die in boat mishap in Benue



A boat conveying Ibi local government council of Taraba State residents capsized on Sunday.

The incident occurred in Anyeshi village near Benue State.

The mishap comes barely two weeks after a similar incident in the Karim-Lamido Local Government Area of the state, where over 50 passengers lost their lives

It would be recalled that a locally made boat conveying traders from Mayoranewo market in Ardo-Kola local government council of Taraba to Karim-Lamido council recently capsized in Binneri village in the state.

Confirming the accident, the Head of Local Government Administration, HOLGA, in Ibi council, Isa Mohammed, said over eight persons lost their lives.

Isa, who argued that the accident did not happen in Taraba but in neighbouring Benue, admitted that all the passengers on board were from the Ibi council.

The HOLGA, who could not ascertain the number of passengers on board at the time of the accident, warned the people of the council to desist from embarking on night voyages on waterways.

The passengers were said to have been heading to a nearby market in Anyeshi village around 4:30 p.m.

Some Ibi residents who spoke to NIGERIAN NEWSDIRECT admitted that most of the victims are from the council. “Though the incident took place in the nearby Benue State, I must confess to you that almost all the passengers are indigenes of Ibi local government council,” one of them said.

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