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Buhari to Ortom: You’re people know I tried! How gov frustrated my efforts to stop Benue killings

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President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, dumped the blame for the continued killings in Beneue State on the doorstep of the state governor, Samuel Ortom, for thwarting all efforts the Federal Government made to end the carnage, which had seen thousands of people killed at various times in different communities.

The latest was the carnage two weeks ago, in which over 30 persons including a pregnant woman were killed by some gunmen, who attacked an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in Guma LGA of the state, just a few days after an unconfirmed number of persons were killed in Umogidi village of Entekpa-Adoka district, Otukpo Local Government Area (LGA), in a similar invasion.

In March last year, Ortom himself had to flee on foot through the bush to escape invading gunmen, he said were Fulani herdsmen, when they reportedly opened fire on his convoy during a visit to Tyo-Mu community in the outskirts of Makurdin town, only for more than 50 persons to be killed in March this year by the same herdsmen who invaded communities in Kwande LGA of the state.

Against the backdrop of protests rocking parts of the state, leading to some angry youths mounting roadblocks and demanding an end to the carnage, the President, washed his hands of the situation, saying the people should hold the governor responsible for shunning all the measures the government had proposed to end the bloodletting.

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Garba Shehu, presidential spokesperson, who conveyed Buhari’s position, blamed the failure to contain the situation on Ortom’s incompetence, accusing him of rather playing politics at a time when he should work together with the Federal Government’s options, which had whittled down a similar situation elsewhere.

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He said: “Fortunately, the people of Benue State know the truth. After all, it is they who have suffered under Ortom’s “leadership” – if one can call it such. It is they who have experienced first-hand the mass killings, the torture, the litany of atrocities as Benue’s security situation plummeted ever further. It is they who buried their loved ones while watching their careless, irresponsible and incompetent governor politicise on those freshly dug graves.

“And it is they who turned to the last privilege they had left: their democratic privilege, to resoundingly kick out Ortom and his so-called People’s Democratic Party in favour of a new governor, Reverend Father Hyacinth Iornem Alia from Buhari’s party, the APC.”

The statement, stressed ho Buhari had taken steps to address the deteriorating situation in Benue but his efforts were blatantly obstructed by Ortom, adding that the FG, as part of the solution, established and funded a joint security operation, code-named Operation Whirl Stroke (OWS), which the governor snubbed and refused “to engage with,” in preference to endangering the security operatives with “fake news and disinformation campaigns.”

He cited an example also of a “deployment of special security forces to flash-points in the state” including the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Police Force, Department of State Services and other security agencies, adding: “The deployment of an array of NAF fighter aircraft, Mi-35 helicopter gunships as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms. The Deployment of ten (10) Units of the Police Mobile Force, Ten (10) Units of Police Special Forces (Tactical Operation Units) and Aerial Surveillance Teams (Police Helicopters).

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“The acquisition and deployment of modern military armaments. The provision of timely and actionable intelligence to Ortom (which were routinely ignored). The prompt provision of humanitarian support to victims via the ministry of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development.

“Despite these efforts, we know that the new Governor, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, has his work cut out. In his own words, he is inheriting a state that is in the Intensive Care Unit. Perhaps if disgraced Governor Ortom had been more concerned with doing his job than politisicing the tragedies so frequently taking place under his watch, the situation in Benue might be very different, like in any of its neighbours – Taraba, Nasarawa, the FCT – which all enjoy peace.

“Instead, Ortom stubbornly refused to engage with the detailed, holistic approach clearly spelt out by the Federal Government. He arrogantly chose his own, destructive path. He blamed the Fulani for every problem that arose. He ignored numerous intelligence reports passed to him for action. He rejected police findings into investigations that didn’t meet his egotistical worldview. He politicised every life lost on his watch.

“So, thank God the people of Benue rejected him so roundly at elections. His contract was not renewed. He failed a Senate election. Even the person he endorsed for Governorship was rejected. If anyone is looking for someone to blame, just ask the people of Benue.”

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Tough economy: Trouble in APC, as staff plan strike

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A loud grumbling has enveloped the 40 Blantyre Crescent, Wuse, Zone 2, Abuja, headquarters of the All Progressives Congress (APC), where staff across different departments are threatening to down tools in protest of poor welfare and biting economic hardship.

Daily Trust, is reporting that the staff are specifically asking the party’s top echelon to make provision for their housing and other allowances, stressing that the economic situation of the country had become quite unfavourable to them.

The paper quoted one of the staff, who spoke on condition of anonymity, as saying that the party’s executive members had left them to suffer, while taking home humongous amounts of money as salaries and allowances.

Though Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, National Chairman of the party, is said to have commenced payment of N35,000 provisional wage award to them in January 2024, they argued that the largesse would in June, and they would be back to square one and therefore, they needed more stable welfare packages.

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In a swift riposte, Felix Morka, spokesman of the party, was quoted as dismissing the agitation, saying: “Those matters I don’t really discuss them. As you can see, there are many important things to discuss; at the national level, in Edo State. We are battling with all that. So, any in-house matters are not my focus right now.”

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BREAKING: Davido ups the ante, doles out N300million to orphanages

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David Adeleke Nigerian music sensation, otherwise known as Davido is stamping his giant feet with which he has mesmerised his audience across the world in the arena of philanthropy, with an announcement of a fresh donation of a whopping N300million to some orphanages across the country.

The latest is an increase of N63million up from the N237million the popular singer, who disclosed the largesse in a statement on his social media accounts on Tuesday, dolled out last year as part of the gesture in what is now turning out a yearly programme since it started a few years ago.

The gesture is coming at a time Nigeria is under an intense weather of deprivation and poverty, with the prices of food and other commodities hitting the roof and citizens, unable to afford basic items mostly going to bed on empty stomachs as a result.

In recent weeks, demonstrations had erupted in many parts of the country, including Niger, Kano, Ogun and Oyo States, where residents trooped into the streets to demand an end to the parlous situation, which they blamed on the insensitive policies of the government of Bola Tinubu, the Nigerian President.

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The singer, who first gave out N250m to 292 orphanages in October 2022, said the this year’s donation would be done through The David Adeleke Foundation (DAF), adding: “I and my foundation pledge the sum of 300 million Naira to orphanages around Nigeria … as my yearly contribution to the nation. Details of disbursement tomorrow.”

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BREAKING: Tinubu set to probe Buhari’s N23trillion Ways and Means debt

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At last, President Bola Tinubu, may be going through the N23trillion Ways and Means debt obtained by his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, with a fine comb to determine what the funds, which is attributed to a major part of the current debt overhang in the country, went into.

The Nation, quoted Wale Edun, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy as revealing this much to participants at the ongoing Public Wealth Management Conference organised by the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MoFI).

Besides, the Minister reportedly said the Federal Government would also present a bill to the National Assembly, soon to authorise the removal of “all taxes and levies that constitute nuisance from the country’s tax system, as a measure to wean itself from future Ways and Means indebtedness.

The government, Edun added, will vigorously pursue policies that will allow it harvest revenue in real time from Government Owned Enterprises (GOEs) and Corporate entities.

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It was also on the same day that the Minister explained that Tinubu’s administration inherited a surge in food and general commodity prices from the previous government, but emphasised the government’s commitment to reducing food prices and tackling the nation’s high inflation rate.

Outlining the measures government was taking in tackling the situation, he revealed that, the government had released 42,000 metric tons of grains, with an additional 60,000 metric tons scheduled for release soon.

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