The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Benue State has arraigned a businesswoman before the state’s High Court for issuing a faulty cheque to her business partner. Concise News reports that the accused, Anna Ogbole and her company, Henot Global Business Limited are standing trial on a two-count charge for alleged issuance of the faulty cheque before Justice S. O. Itodo of the Benue State High Court, sitting in Makurdi. However, the accused, pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to her. Upon an application by her counsel, she was granted bail in the sum of N500,000 with two sureties in like sum. The case was adjourned to June 10 and 11 2019 for trial.
A community leader and Rector, School of Management Technology, Delta State, Prof Boniface Odeh on Tuesday said that the Igede people in Benue State have confidence in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Concise News reports that Odeh spoke Monday in Abuja during a courtesy visit by leaders of Oju/Obi Local Government Areas of Benue State to the Special Adviser to the President, Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, at Presidential Villa.
He said the leaders support Buhari because of the administration’s commitment to improving security and economic development, degrading Boko Haram and confronting corruption headlong.
‘‘We align with President Buhari in all efforts to make Nigeria great again, especially in his Next Level mantra that will take us and place us on the path of greatness,’’ Prof Odeh said.
He called on the President to keep his promise of running an inclusive government in the new administration.
‘‘We have confidence and great convictions in our hearts that it is only this administration that can address the imbalances and marginalization in the areas of Federal appointments, other federal presence and absence of good road networks in the thickly populated Oju/Obi Local Government Areas of Benue State,’’ he said.
Also speaking, Hon. Austine Okwoche, Chairman Oju Local Government Council, lauded the Buhari administration’s Social Investment Programme (SIP), noting that Igede people have been proud beneficiaries of the N-Power programme and the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP).
He also thanked the Federal Government for the ongoing dualization of Keffi-Akwanga-Lafia-Makurdi expressway.
Responding, Adesina promised to pass their demands to the President and asked them to convey the President’s appreciation to the people of Benue State for their unflinching support.
‘‘A lot of people thought Benue was a no-go-area for the President during the presidential election but the President had a good outing in the State. I know the President will remember Benue when it comes to rewarding,’’ Adesina said.
Chairman of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) in Benue State, Esther Akpai, on Monday, said the lives of nurses in the state were under threat from abductors, Concise News reports. According to Punch, Akpai said four members of the association in the state had been abducted, with one killed. The NANNM chief lamented that neither the state government nor security agencies had come to their aid. According to her, kidnappers are monitoring nurses in the state. Akpai said the state-owned General Hospital in Katsina Alla was shut down on the union’s advice following the security situation in the troubled town. The union leader said, “Last year two nurses working at the Federal Medical Centre Makurdi and Katsina Alla were abducted. One health worker was killed during the crisis in Katsina Alla. “Due to the crisis in Katsina Alla, we advised the Health Management Board to close down the General Hospital. “Yet they (criminals) are still running after nurses in Katsina Alla.”
The approval followed a proposal to the House of Representatives by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the boundaries of Guma State Constituency be altered by creating two state Constituencies.
The new State constituencies created from Guma are Guma State Constituency and Agasha State Constituency.
Attempts by other lawmakers to compel INEC to include their States in the alterations of constituencies considered failed to sail through.
Speaker Yakubu Dogara, while ruling on the motion Tuesday said the approval of Guma and Agasha constituencies was strictly based on Supreme Court judgment and cannot be altered.
In his lead debate, sponsor of the motion, Edward Pwajok (PDP, Plateau), Chairman Rules and Business Committee noted that Section 91 of the 1999 constitution (as amended) provides that subject to the provisions of this “Constitution, a House of Assembly of a State shall consist of three or four times the number of seats that State has in the House of Representatives divided in a way to reflect, as far as possible, nearly equal population”
According to him, the same Section provides that a House of Assembly of a State shall consist of not less than 24 and not more than 40 members.
He backed his argument with constitutional provisions, saying, “Section 112 of the 1999 Constitution provides that “Subject to the provisions of Sections 91 and 113 of the 1999 Constitution, INEC shall divide every State in the Federation into such number of State Constituencies as is equal to three or four times the number of Federal Constituencies within that State”.
“Section 113 of the 1999 Constitution provides that “The boundaries of each State Constituency shall be such that the number of inhabitants thereof is as nearly equal to the population quota as is reasonably practicable”.
The lawmaker also referred to Section 114 of the 1999 Constitution which provides that “The Independent Electoral Commission shall review the division of every State into Constituencies at intervals of not less than ten years. and may alter such Constituencies in accordance with the provisions of this Section to such extent as it may consider desirable in the light of the review”
He said: “Cognizance should be taken that Benue State has 11 Federal Constituencies and 29 State Constituencies and by the constitutionally prescribed threshold of a minimum number of State constituencies per state, Benue State should have a minimum of 33 State Constituencies.
“It should be noted that the Supreme Court of Nigeria, in the case of INEC V GUMA Local Government Council, Suit No. (SC/195/2016) ordered the INEC to create additional Agasha State Constituency from GUMA State constituency of Benue State.
“Also, it’s acknowledged that INEC has taken steps to comply with the Supreme Court judgment by consulting all stakeholders and undertaking a trotting exercise to map the boundaries of the area concerned.
“It is also acknowledged the receipt of a proposal from INEC dated 18 April 2019 requesting the National Assembly to approve the establishment of two State Constituencies from Guma State Constituency of Benue State”.
The motion was unanimously adopted after a voice vote.
Meanwhile, the Police Command in the state says no life was lost in the crisis, insisting that normalcy has been restored to the two communities.
Clashes between the two communities have been age-long, with no end in sight; despite several efforts by Idoma leaders to resolve the issue.
It was gathered that the crisis started following a misunderstanding between some youths of the two communities which resulted in the abduction of two Okpudu youths by some members of the Ollo youths on Sunday evening.
According to Daily Sun, a source from the community who does not want to be named disclosed that some Ollo youths who dressed in military uniforms and armed with guns had stormed Okpudu community on motorcycles and ordered two youths of the community to follow them.
The source further states that when the abducted Okpudu youths were not seen 24 hours after, Okpudu youths mobilised and stormed Ollo community to demand their release.
However, in the ensuing fracas, four persons were reportedly killed with some others injured as sounds of gunshots resonated all around the community.
The development made members of the community scamper for safety.
Thereafter, the Okpudu youths were said to have stormed Ollo community in their attempts at avoiding a repeat of a similar incident a few years back.
Two youths of the community who were then abducted by Ollo youths were later killed and buried in a shallow grave.
However, a few hours after Okpudu youths stormed Ollo, it was gathered that the Okpudu youths who were earlier abducted on Sunday were released after they were thoroughly beaten leaving wounds all over their bodies.
At the time of filing this report, members of the two warring communities were said to be fleeing the area even as local vigilante have taken over major roads leading into the two communities to forestall any form of reprisal.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Catherine Anene debunked claims of any killing in the fracas.
She explains that the problems actually started when the family of a woman from one of the communities insists that she must not marry from the other community but she went ahead and married there.
This, she says, infuriated her family who went to the other community and forcefully abducted some persons, a development which angered the other community.
“This other community from where those people were abducted also went and abducted people from the other community too. The police wade into the matter and all abducted persons were released while normalcy has since restored to the two communities,” Anene says.