Gunmen kill former lawmaker, two others in Benue

Gunmen• Tiv task gov, Taraba on attacks, kidnappings
• SSG alleges diversion of N48b by previous govt
• Non-payment of science varsity workers for five years
• Ortom decries poor state of justice ministry 

In what now seems to be a weekly occurrence in Benue State, three persons, which include a former lawmaker, Douglas Begha have been feared killed while several others have been injured in Zaki-Biam, Ukum Local Government Area after some gunmen attacked the community Monday night.

Confirming the incident, Deputy Police Public Relations Officer (DPPRO), ASP Matthew Oku said at about 8p.m. police received information that three armed men operating on a motorcycle invaded the house of Honorable Begha at Kendev Village, shot and killed him on the spot.

Oku said that the gunmen also wounded Begha’s 12 years old son, Aondowase; adding that the gunmen while escaping shot and killed a cyclist, wounded the passenger he was carrying, snatched his motorcycle and escaped. “Police went into action and recovered the corpses and deposited same at St. Anthony’s hospital Zaki Biam while the two injured persons are responding to treatment,” Oku added.

The DPPRO also said the Commissioner of Police in the state, Dibal Yakadi had already stepped into the matter, explained that investigation was in progress as plainclothes detectives have already been dispatched to the area.

He however, noted that no arrest had been made at the time of filing this report but assured that the police would not rest on its oars until the culprits are brought to book.

Recall that in the last few months, the Benue North-East had been under severe attack by yet to be identified gunmen who had killed several persons including the political godfather of former Governor Gabriel Suswam, Chief Atoza Ihindan.

The Guardian also recalls that last week, eight persons were killed, with others injured in Zaki Biam by unknown gunmen riding on a motorcycle to perpetrate their night attack.

Meanwhile, the Tiv community in Taraba State has appealed to both the Governors Samuel Ortom and Darius Dickson Ishaku to find a permanent solution to the incessant killings and kidnappings along the border towns of the two states.

Speaking through the President of the Tiv Cultural and Social Association, James Nungwa, yesterday in Jalingo, the state capital, the group expressed dismay at the recent killings and abductions of people in Takum Local Government Area of the state.

Reports recently made available to The Guardian, showed that series of silent killings as well as abduction of persons have being going in the southern parts of the state.

In another development, Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Targema Takema yesterday alleged that over N48 billion of local government funds accruing to the state in the past eight (8) years tenure of former governor Gabriel Suswam were diverted to private accounts.

Tarkema, who made the allegation at a reception organized in his honour by the Mbaiwoo Development Association in Buruku Local Government area of Benue State, explained that the 29,000 staff strength of council workers portrayed by the past Governor Suswam’s administration was a far cry from the actual number of about 14,000 in the 23 local government areas of the state.

Succour meanwhile, came the way of the workers of Benue State University of Science and Technical College as state Governor Samuel Ortom ordered the state finance commissioner to pay them three months’ salary.

Governor Ortom, who gave the directive when the staff, led by the principal of the school, Athanasius Awangeh, paid him a courtesy call, wondered how the staff could be owed salaries since July 2010.

He then ordered that the May, June, and July 2015, salaries of the affected staff be paid with immediate effect. Also, Governor Ortom during an assessment tour of ministries and departments of government has expressed disappointment over the poor state of the Ministry of Justice offices in Makurdi, which have been taken over by termites.

He however, promised to rehabilitate the obsolete structures with immediate effect. The SSG intimated that the above scenario gulped between N600 million-N700 million of local government funds monthly, which went to wrong hands in the name of payment of local government staff.

The SSG explained that as a member of the transition committee, he was privy to the fact that the indebtedness of the state as established by the committee now stands at N130 billion as against the N90 billion earlier mentioned; adding that arrangements have been concluded to ensure that all those who stole from the pubic treasury are made to return it to the last kobo after the committee briefs the people of the state next week.

He further SSG praised Governor Samuel Ortom as a man who is filled with the fear of God and encouraged other leaders to also live by example by not touching anything that belongs to the people of the state but rather commit to ameliorating the pains and anguish of the people. “It’s not fair that you’ve not be paid for all these years because the worker deserves his wages.

I thank God for sustaining you in spite of non payment of salaries,” Ortom said in disgust. The Governor while directing that a minute’s silence be observed for those who lost their lives as a result of the development, further promised to clear the backlog of salaries when the financial fortunes of the state improved.

Governor Ortom commended the justice ministry staff for their commitment to work despite the filthy environment and directed the commissioner for works to immediately assess the level of dilapidation at the ministry so that immediate commencement of rehabilitation would go on.



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