Connect with us

Featured

Black Tuesday In Benue: Herdsmen Kill Catholic Priests, 52 Others; Burn Down Villages …Mass Protest Rocks Markurdi …Attacks Satanic, Despicable -Buhari …President Confused, Incompetent -PDP

Published

on

It was a black Tuesday morning for residents and the Christian community at Ayar Mbalom in Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue State as armed Fulani herdsmen desecrated the church killing two priests and 17 worshipers.
Also, no fewer than 35 persons were killed and several others still missing after suspected herdsmen attacked Tse Umenger in Mbadwem Council Ward of Guma LGA, Benue State.
Our correspondent gathered that the heavily armed men, numbering over 50, stormed the village yesterday around 7pm and set the entire village on fire.
Our reporter gathered that no single house was standing in Mbadwen village at the time of this report.
Among the victims of the Gwer East attack were two Rev Fathers whose names were given as Rev Fathers Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha, two primary school headmasters; Peter Dick and Ape Chia, also a secondary school principal whose name was given as Michael Tor and fourteen other worshipers.
The victims had gone to morning mass at St Ignatius Quasi Parish when their attackers who had laid ambush on the community swopped on them around 5.30 am and snuffed the life out of them.
Not satisfied, the herdsmen militia extended their terror to other villagers, burnt their houses numbering about 100.
It was gathered that the whole community was sacked by invading marauders who had a field day to unleash terror on the sleepy community.
According to locals who spoke to our correspondent, the herdsmen might have laid ambush on the community since the wee hours only for them to strike the early hour of the day when some of the villagers went to appreciate God for making it to a new day.
Angered by the ugly development, the director of communication, Catholic Diocese of Makurdi, Rev. Father Moses Lorapuu described it as ‘attack by herdsmen/Jihadists.
While confirming the attack on the church, Iorapuu said, ‘this is to confirm that Rev. Fathers Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha have been killed in the deadly attack by herdsmen/Jihadists early today(Tuesday) on Mbalom village and St. Ignatius Quasi Parish Ukpor-Mbalom.’
The Rev Father disclosed that the herdsmen attacked in their true and classic style, burnt down homes, destroyed food items and killed at will, adding, “to go for the Priests means total destruction of everything we stand for and believe in, as a people.”
“The police seem to know nothing of the attacks which have been going on in other villages within Benue State since the Anti Open Grazing Law came into effect last year”.
“Many people are asking why the International community has remained silent over the massacre of Benue citizens”
“The answer is simple: It has been the goal of the Jihadists to conquer Benue and Tiv people who resisted their advance into the middle belt and the Eastern part of Nigeria since 1804, the people who rejected Islam and fought for the unification of Nigeria in the civil war of 1967 – 1970”, Iorapuu fumed.
He lamented that the people of the state have found themselves in a terrible situation having sacrificed their lives to fight the people of Eastern Nigeria which may have little sympathy for Benue people because they (Benue) fought on the side of Nigeria, stressing that the Muslim North is enjoying a sweet revenge overshadowed by an insensitive regime.
The Reverend Father explained that there were over 170,000 internally displaced persons before the Naka invasion and surely with the current situation in Mbalom, Benue will be flooded with thousands more.
“What cannot be said at this point is the consequences of the death of Missionaries in the silent killings that have been ignored by the government for over a year.
“The Catholic Diocese of Makurdi, which is one of the largest Dioceses in Nigeria, has been active in providing relief materials including education and skills acquisition lessons”, he said
The State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni who confirmed the incident said that some armed bandits suspected to be Fulani Herdsmen numbering about 30 attacked a church killing two priests and 16 others.
“Immediately we got this information, We quickly moved in there to do a wider aerial surveillance in pursuit of these attackers to see if we can see them.
“After doing a wider coverage of the general area, we also went to the church where this incident happened. That was where we were told on the spot that these attackers came by 5 am, went into the church and to the venue of a burial that was going on where the priest was supposed to officiate.
“These attackers came about thirty in numbers and the target was the priest and of course the venue of the burial.As at the time l left the place, we were able to see 16 dead bodies including the two priests that were killed.
“The police have taken over the corpses and we have deployed and with the wider aerial coverage and surveillance we did, with the help of the people in the village, we were able to get into the bush to see if we can still lay hands on these people.
“We will intensify our search to go after these people wherever they may hide. We will also work on the information from the members of public there because we believe that they must have been hanging around the place to have committed the act at 5 am. So, we still believe that they would be somewhere around there.
“These are armed marauders who are going about killing people and we will go after them with all the resources.
Also reacting, the state acting governor Benson Abounu expressed concern about the constant attacks.
Abounu described it as an attack well planned, coordinated and executed.
According to him, “let me say categorically that this is another black day in Benue. I am saddened, the governor who is on leave is saddened, Benue people are very sad because I can put it now that Benue is under is under siege.
“We have been attacked from all corners and this is unacceptable.
“What happened today is a calculated attack, well planned, and well executed. They must have taken their time and they hit their target and they got what they desired to.
The acting governor said police have been able to recover 16 corpses, saying that one had earlier been brought to Makurdi.
“As I talk to you now,all the corpses have been brought to Makurdi including the two Reverend Fathers killed right inside the church.
“That is a new dimension of attacks because it has never happened before and therefore is very worrying.I also understand that 17 there people lost their lives”, Abounu said
Meanwhile, the protest has got to the capital city, Makurdi due to the killings of two Catholic Priests and 17 worshippers during morning mass at Ayar Mom community of Gwer East LGA of Benue State.
There is an apprehension all over the capital city as the major market like Wadatta and Wurukum were hurriedly shot in the afternoon.
Our correspondent which went round the town gathered that both government offices and business premises were hurriedly closed.
The tension was triggered when the victims were brought into the town and deposited at the Bishop Murray Memorial Hospital Mortuary, Makurdi.
While the Corpses were being driven to town, the irrate youth took over the major raids and streets including the ever busy Makurdi/Gboko, Makurdi/Kafia road and the Wurukum Roundabout.
The irrate youths also set bonfires in and across the major streets in Makurdi metropolis.
As at the time of filing this report, all the major markets including Makurdi Modern Market, Wurukum market, Wadata market and High Level market as well as commercial banks and schools were all shut down.
For schools, most parents panick as they were called to rush to their schools to pick up their children and wards for safety.
Though adequate security has been beefed up in and around the state capital, residents are still entertaining fears and panicking from fear of further attacks and have called on security agencies and state government to rise up to their responsibility to protect lives and property of the people.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has described as despicable and satanic the gruesome murder of Catholic Priests and worshippers at St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Ukpor -Mbalom community in Gwer East Local Government of Benue State.
President Buhari who also said the action of the murderers was sacrilegious in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina in Abuja on Tuesday, said that those behind the act would be fished out to face the consequences of their wicked act.
He said, “I extend my sincere condolences to the government and people of Benue State, the Mbalom community, and especially the Bishop, priests and members of the St Ignatius’ Catholic Church, whose premises was the unfortunate venue of the heinous killings by gunmen.
“This latest assault on innocent persons is particularly despicable. Violating a place of worship, killing priests and worshippers is not only vile, evil and satanic, it is clearly calculated to stoke up religious conflict and plunge our communities into endless bloodletting.”
Stressing that the country will not bow to the machinations of evildoers, President Buhari vowed that the assailants would be hunted down and made to pay for the sacrilege committed
Reacting, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has described President Muhammadu Buhari’s government as completely confused, incompetent.
It said the government lacked the capacity to secure our nation.
PDP stated this while lambasting the current administration for alleging that the opposition was responsible for the killings in the North-Central.
This was contained in a statement signed by PDP’s spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan.
The statement reads, “It is totally atrocious that instead of waking up to its responsibility or accepting failure and seeking help, President Muhammadu Buhari and his officials have been resorting to blame game in the face of daily bloodletting and mass killings in our country.
“Only recently, President Buhari ran to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby to blame deserters from late Muammah Gaddafi’s Libya as being responsible for the killings.
“In the last three years, the Buhari Presidency had placed blames on past administration, demographic changes, climate change, conflict over cattle routes, decreased farmland space against increased number of cattle and human population. Today, it is the opposition that is responsible for their failure to secure the people.
“It is unfortunate that instead of defining and facing the challenges confronting our nation, the Presidency is busy chasing straws thereby failing to nip in the bud a dangerous dimension in our national history.
“President Buhari and his dysfunctional All Progressives Congress (APC) must be held responsible for the escalation of the killings across country in the last three years; a direct consequence of their incompetence, harsh policies, nepotic proclivities and general failure in governance.
“We know that the latest allegation against the opposition is in furtherance of the plot by the failed APC to set up innocent Nigerians as a face saving stunt to divert attention from their failures.
“The fact remains that President Buhari has failed after winning power on the basis of false promises but more heartrending is this attempt by the Presidency to play politics with human lives.
“As a party, we stand with all Nigerians, especially the victims of the killings under the APC. We invite all Nigerians to join hands with the repositioned PDP as we work towards a national rebirth and the enthronement of a government that truly cares for the people come 2019.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Featured

UBA Appoints Bawuah As First Female CEO For Africa Operations …Announces Six Other Executive Appointments …As Oni Retires From Group Board

Published

on

The Board of Directors of the United Bank for Africa Plc, Africa’s Global Bank, has today, announced the appointment of Mrs. Abiola Bawuah, as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UBA Africa.

Bawuah will also join the Group Board as an Executive Director, overseeing the Group’s operations across the African continent, outside Nigeria.

UBA operates in 19 African countries beyond Nigeria, in addition to global operations in New York, London, Paris and the UAE.

Bawuah, a Ghanaian national, is the first female CEO of UBA Africa.

Her appointment further demonstrates UBA’s commitment to diversity.

The UBA Group Board now includes eight female Directors.

Prior to her appointment, Bawuah was Regional CEO, West Africa, supervising the Group’s operations in nine subsidiaries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.

She previously held the role of CEO, UBA Ghana.

Speaking on the new appointment, the Group Board Chairman Mr Tony O. Elumelu said, “Abiola has contributed significantly to the growth of UBA Africa for close to a decade.

She brings a wealth of experience in commercial banking, and stakeholder engagement.

It also gives me great pleasure that with her appointment, the UBA Group Board has now become a majority female board.”

The UBA Group also announced the following executive roles:

Chris Ofikulu becomes the Regional CEO, UBA West Africa.

Ofikulu, who has over two decades of banking experience spanning corporate, commercial, and retail banking.

Uzoechina Molokwu will take on the role as Deputy Managing Director (DMD) of UBA Ghana, subject to local regulatory approvals.

He was previously the Executive Director, Business Development – UBA Côte d’Ivoire and has over 23 years banking experience.

Ayokunle Olajubu will be the Managing Director/CEO UBA Liberia, subject to local regulatory approvals.

He currently drives compliance across Africa subsidiaries andcomes with 30 years banking experience in Nigeria and other African countries,including Sierra Leone, Cote D’Ivoire and the Gambia.

Theresa Henshaw has been appointed as CEO of UBA UK, subject to local regulatoryapprovals.

She was previously the DMD, Business Development, UBA America and joined the Group as ED, Business Development at UBA UK.

Usman Isiaka, currently CEO, UBA Sierra Leone, will be the Deputy CEO in UBA America, subject to local regulatory approvals.

Adeyemi Adeleke, the former CEO of UBA, UK is now the Group Treasurer.

Adeleke will be working to unlock the immense value in the Group’s multi-jurisdictional balance sheet, leveraging on its presence in 24 countries within and beyond Africa.

In addition to the executive appointments, UBA has announced the retirement of High Chief Samuel Oni, an independent non-executive Director, from the Board following the expiration of his tenure.

He joined the UBA Group in January 2015 and served on the Board of the Group for eight years.

The Group Chairman, Mr Tony Elumelu expressed his appreciation to High Chief Oni, for his commitment, leadership and extensive contributions to the UBA Group and on behalf of the Board, wishes him the very best in all his future endeavours.

Operating in 20 African countries and in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France and the United Arab Emirates, United Bank for Africa provides retail, commercial and institutional banking services, leading financial inclusion and implementing cutting edge technology.

UBA is one of the largest employers in the financial sector on the African continent, with 25,000 employees group wide and serving over 37million customers globally.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Featured

Naira Swap: Reps Reject Extension, Threaten Emefiele’s Arrest

Published

on

The House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on New Naira Re-design and Naira Swap Policy has added a new twist to the controversy surrounding the deadline for the validity of old notes by rejecting the 10-day extension granted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the exchange.
The committee described the extension as a mere political gimmick to further deceive Nigerians and worsen their economic and social livelihood.
Recall that the CBN had earlier fixed January 31 as the deadline for the exchange of N200, N500 and N1000 old naira notes.
The CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, however, yesterday, said President Muhammadu Buhari gave permission for the deadline to be extended till February 10.
But the Ad hoc Committee, chaired by the Majority Leader, House of Reps, Alhassan Doguwa, in a statement in Abuja, yesterday, rejected the extension, insisting that the CBN must comply with sections 20 sub 3, 4, and 5 of the CBN Act.
The Lower House, had during its sitting on Tuesday, last week, following the outcry by Nigerians, constituted the Ad hoc committee to look into the issue.
Doguwa said, “The 10-day extension for the exchange of the old naira notes is not the solution. We as a legislative committee with a constitutional mandate of the House, would only accept clear compliance with Section 20 Sub-section 3, 4, and 5 of the CBN Act and nothing more.
Nigeria as a developing economy and a nascent democracy must respect the principle of the rule of law. And the House would go ahead to sign arrest warrant to compel the CBN Governor to appear before the Ad hoc committee.”
According to him, under his chairmanship, the committee would continue its work until it gets the demands of Nigerians addressed in accordance with the laws of the land.
While describing the extension as a mere political gimmick to further deceive Nigerians and worsen their economic and social livelihood, Doguwa insisted that the CBN governor must appear before the House or stand the risk of being arrested on the strength of legislative writs to be signed by the Speaker on Monday (today).
He also said the policy was capable of frustrating the forthcoming general election.
“Security agencies and their operations especially at the state level are generally funded through cash advances and direct table payments of allowances to operatives during elections,” he said.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Featured

2023 Election Failure’ll Polarise The Polity, Set Democracy Backwards -Wike

Published

on

Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, has urged Nigerians not to allow the 2023 general elections to fail.
He said the failure of the 2023 elections would increase political polarisation, exacerbate social fault lines and set Nigeria’s democracy backwards.
Governor Wike gave the charge at the 2023 Port Harcourt International Conference, sponsored by Rivers State Government, with the theme: Deepening Democratic Culture and Institutions for Sustainable Development and Security in Nigeria”, held at Obi Wali International Conference in Port Harcourt, last Thursday.
The governor, in a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, noted that barely one month away, Nigerians are hoping and praying for the 2023 general elections to herald the deepening of democratic culture, the rule of law and good governance in the country.
Governor Wike, however, insisted that the opportunity to elect a new President of the federation and 30 State Governors should be a success because it will consolidate and strengthen the roots of democracy in the national life of Nigeria.
“In a democracy, periodic elections are the only legitimate means for the peaceful transfer of power from one party to another. Since 1999, Nigeria has had six general election circles, but none was considered substantially clean and fair.
“The outcome of the 2003 general elections was rejected at different levels by the opposition and the losers, and litigated up to the Supreme Court. The outcome of the 2007 elections led to protests, riots, the loss of several lives, and the destruction of property in particular sections of the country”, he noted.
Governor Wike also recalled that even President Musa Ya’ardua had promised necessary electoral reforms when he publicly denounced the process that brought him to power because it was severely flawed.
According to him, the 2011 general election also suffered a similar experience and was litigated by the opposition to the Supreme Court.
“None of the defeated contestants believed they lost fairly and blamed the umpire, the security agencies and politicians for undermining our democracy with brazen electoral fraud”.
Governor Wike noted further that the 2015 general election, though considered rigged, recorded some improvements with the use of the smart card reader and the emergence of opposition candidates as the winners of the presidential.
The governor said the 2019 general election was equally problematic and rejected as highly compromised by the opposition and litigated up to the Supreme Court.
“In Rivers State, we battled the military in the 2015 and 2019 re-run and general elections with pure courage and determination to secure our victory and retain our mandate with the sweat and blood of innocent citizens”, he said.
Governor Wike pointed out that when the government compromises the integrity of elections through election management agencies, it denies citizens their constitutional right to elect the leaders they want and can hold accountable.
Conversely, he emphasised, when elections lack integrity, the leaders who emerged from outside the people’s will are illegitimate.
According to him, “Such leaders without trust are likely to be authoritarian, divisive and incapable of effective governance. Serial election rigging threatens our democracy and constitutes an existential challenge to the nation’s future stability.
“Therefore, deepening democratic culture and institutions for sustainable development and security is important to us as a nation, and free and fair elections with integrity remain the only path to achieving this objective”.
Speaking further, Governor Wike said the new electoral law, especially with the provisions of the use of technology, holds the prospect for a brighter democratic experience for Nigeria if implemented effectively.
However, he stressed, that beyond the legal regime, political parties’ internal practices and external electioneering behaviour must conform to democratic norms and standards.
“The efficiency of the judiciary in interpreting and enforcing the existing regulatory regime, including the laws, regulations and guidelines beyond reproach and the capacity and consistency of INEC and the security agencies to be firm, impartial and independent in the discharge of their functions are most crucial.
“Safeguarding and deepening our democracy lies with every citizen. We must have the courage to stand up for justice, the rule of law, an independent and courageous judiciary, and our rights and freedoms to vote and be voted in a transparent election”, he stated.
Presenting his keynote address, former president of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who titled his paper: “Respecting the Principles of Democracy”, noted that Nigeria’s democracy has gone through twists, dives and turns since political independence.
He said the best of the country’s history has been the sustenance of democracy since the military transfer of power to an elected government in 1999.
He however, observed that there may be reasons to doubt how much lessons the leaders and followers have drawn from the country’s past and how far they are willing to go to deepen, widen and strengthen democracy and democratic practice.
The former president declared that the ways in which the political class have practised democracy have deepened contradictions, negative coalitions, distrust, disloyalty and unpatriotic tendencies within and between communities and constituencies all over the country.
He stated that this means that there is a deep structural and philosophical problems that must be deal with.
Chief Obasanjo informed that if the practice of democracy is superficial and opportunistic and it is designed to pursue a struggle of limited objectives, it would precipitate variants of fractured engagements that cannot address structural and philosophical contradictions and challenges.
“In fact, the order of the day would be community against community, religion against religion, leader against leader. Ordinary citizens are then dragged into the directionless, meaningless and opportunistic personal or narrow ambitions of leaders. The end result will be confusion, diffusion, distraction and possibly leading to separation and disintegration”, he said.
The former president stressed that democracy is possible in Nigeria and the people have the capacity to build a culture of democratization. However, he insisted that Nigerians must recognise and accept the fact that it is an evolutionary process with principles.
“Without retracing our political steps to the right direction, the current process will either not produce the right leaders or it will leave so many broken blocks on the path to governance and attract resources and energy away from the task of rebuilding Nigeria and consolidating our democratic practice.
“The result will be democratic quagmire, increased corruption, insecurity and survival of the fittest, richest and better connected with little or no recognition of merits. The implications and cost of such a scenario to our present and future can best be imagined. I pray that God will grant us the wisdom to do what is right for our country and people at all times and more so now”, he said.
In his opening remarks, former Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who was the chairman of the occasion, said the theme of the conference addresses itself to the imperative of enhancing democratic governance to the benefit of Nigerians and the country.
Fayemi pointed to the scholarly assertions of late Claude Ake, on feasibility and possibility of democracy wherein there has to be enduring democratic culture and democracy being structured to be developmental in nature.
He observed that Nigeria’s democracy is bedevilled by lack of party based politics, issued based politicking, untamed political violence, winner take all mentality, growing influence of money in politics, exploitation of loophole to subvert the will of the people and social media and spread of fake news.
“Though, there are some political milestones achieved since 1999, there is no doubt that we still have a longway to go in building a robust culture of power and politics that is both democratic and sustaining”, he said.
As part of the event, there was the unveiling of the book, “Bridging Rivers”, under the chairmanship of former governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Trending