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Herdsmen, terrorists collaborate to execute common agenda – Ortom



Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom says the Fulani herdsmen militia have been operating in collaboration with other terrorist groups to sustain their attacks on the state and other parts of the country.

Governor Ortom made the revelation in an interview with Epoc Times TV in Washington, DC, United States of America with Douglas Burton as host.

The Governor pointed out that from the information available to him, Boko Haram, ISIS, ISWAP and armed Fulani herdsmen are working for one agenda, emphasising that they were the same group of people operating under different names.

“They collaborate by providing arms to them and doing the same thing by killing. Just like the Bible says, a thief cometh not only to steal but to kill and to destroy. So I have seen this collaboration in all these groups, they are doing the same thing,” he said.

Governor Ortom maintained that the enactment of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of the State was his administration’s way of finding a solution to the lingering issue which he noted has now exposed the agenda of the Fulani herdsmen to be beyond grazing of cattle.

The Governor further dispelled the twisted narrative that it was a farmer/herder crisis ongoing in Benue State, insisting that the attacks were unprovoked and coordinated killings by the armed invaders.

“Most of the people who are killed and whose homes are destroyed are farmers. The insurgents coming for this Jihadists go to attack villagers, not really in the urban areas. So farmers live in the rural areas to engage in their farming activities.

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“I must say that whatever you hear in America here about what is happening in Nigeria, some people have the narrative that it is farmer-herder crisis. It is not so. It is a dummy that has been sold to shield people away from knowing the truth.

“The truth is that you know in America here, in Europe, in Asia and other parts of the world, people go into animal husbandry through ranching.

“I did a study and I confirmed this in several countries with the statistics where more countries have more livestock than Nigeria, yet there are no crises.

He maintained that in Brazil for instance, “it is on record that they have over 250 million herds of cattle, while in India, it is the same thing with over 200 million herds of cattle. The whole cattle in Nigeria that you hear so much about the farmer-herder crisis are not up to 30 million herds of cattle,” Governor Ortom stated.

He maintained that the security agencies were doing their best to curb the attacks but regretted that such efforts were not enough, saying that such outfits don’t have the manpower to be stationed in the flashpoints to wade off the attackers.

The Governor insisted that, if the Federal Government has no hidden agenda, they should convoke a national security summit where all stakeholders would be given the opportunity to proffer solutions to the security problems.

The Governor also expressed worry that his request to the President to grant approval to procure automatic weapons for the newly established Community Volunteer Guards to enable the security outfit match the strength of Fulani herdsmen terrorizing the state is yet to get a response from the presidency.

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PDP demands probe of Supreme Court fire disaster



The Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) has demanded a thorough investigation into the fire incident that gutted a section of the Supreme Court in the early hours of Monday.

The party raised the alarm over the incident which it described as suspicious giving the fact that a verdict on a sensitive issue of national importance is being expected.

National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba made the position of the opposition party on the fire incident known in a statement on Monday.

He said, “The PDP is worried over the fire outbreak especially given heightened public apprehension of possible arsonist attack with the intent to cripple and frustrate the Supreme Court from effectively discharging its constitutional duties especially with regard to high profile electoral cases including the Presidential Election Appeals pending before it.

“Our Party demands for an immediate full-scale investigation into the fire outbreak with the view to unraveling the circumstances or possible sabotage in the incident.

“The PDP insists that the outcome of the investigation should be made public unlike those of previous fire incidents in various government Ministries, Departments and Agencies which were characteristically swept under the carpet by the All Progressives Congress (APC) administrations.

“While calling on the Federal Government to beef up security around the Supreme Court, the PDP also demands that Nigerians must be assured of the safety of sensitive documents and equipment at the Court especially at this critical time.”

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Gov. Mbah tasks FG on New Road Maintenance Model as bridge collapses along Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway



Gov Peter Mbah (centre) and some government officials during inspection of the collapsed bridge in Enugu on Monday

…urges FG to concession roads to states

Governor of Enugu State, Dr. Peter Mbah, has called for a new road maintenance model to guarantee a better condition and longevity of Nigerians roads, regretting that the current model had failed woefully.

Dr. Mbah made the call when he visited the site of the collapsed bridge between the New Artisan flyover and the NNPC Mega Station along the Enugu – Port Harcourt Expressway.

The collapsed bridge

Fielding questions from newsmen after the first-hand inspection of the scene of the disaster, Mbah who thanked God that no life was lost despite the magnitude of the incident, urged the federal government to consider a concession of all the federal roads in each state to the state governments for proper maintenance in conjunction with the private sector.

“I think the question should be whether the current model of federal road maintenance is working or not; and I think that is the bigger question that we must ask.

“Today, we are here witnessing a tragedy that has just occurred. We are fortunate enough that no life was lost, but this could have been prevented entirely. So, the people can no longer ply this route because of this tragedy. This shows clearly that we do not have a sound federal road maintenance model.

“The bridge collapse didn’t just happen. These threats could have been identified if we had routine or regular maintenance.

“Perhaps the way to go is to find a way to concession these roads to the states. The states need to take charge of the roads within their domains and there has to be a conversation around the funding models”.

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Gov Mbah (R) inspecting the collapsed New Artisan Enugu bridge that collapsed on Monday

The said bridge collapsed on Monday, leaving commuters stranded.

Meanwhile, in a statement signed by the Enugu State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Gerald Otiji, government has advised commuters to use Nza Street through New Haven or ply Ogui Road and Abakaliki Road to their various destinations, while the authorities come up with measures for immediate repair on the failed section of the bridge.

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Flyover bridge collapses in Enugu, no casualty



The collapsed flyover bridge in Enugu
The flyover bridge across the Enugu – Port Harcourt Expressway at the Enugu New Artisan market in Enugu state capital has collapsed.

The bridge collapsed Monday morning but an eyewitness said there was no casualty as artisans and residents were yet to come out from their homes for the day’s activity.

The eyewitness, an Auto Mechanic who identified himself as Nnamdi, told The Advocate that two lorries conveying goods which were on the bridge when the incident occurred were affected.

According to him, drivers and conductors of the two lorries, however, escaped unhurt.

The Advocate observed that one lane of the Enugu – Port Harcourt dual-carriage way had been blocked by the debris of the collapsed bridge forcing motorists playing the expressway to divert through alternative routes to continue their journey.

Security operatives, officials of the Federal and Enugu State Ministries of Works, Federal Road Maintenance Agency, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) were sighted within the area to access the situation as well as to assist the road users plying the alternative routes.

Residents of Goshen Estate, Premier Layout, worshippers at the Dunamis Church and traders at the New Artisan market who are regular users of the bridge are likely to encounter serious traffic gridlock on account of the collapsed bridge, if an alternative route is not created as a matter of urgency.

The state government has yet to speak on the development by press time.

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