Connect with us

Latest

GROUP CHARGES FG OVER MILITARY INVASION OF BENUE VILLAGES

Published

on

Following the Friday’s military invasion of some villages in Shangeiv-Tiev area of Konshisha Local Government of Benue State where over 100 lives were reportedly lost, resulting from a militia attack on the army convoy in which some soldiers were killed and others missing within the area, a group, Shangev-Tiev Assembly (STA) has charged the Federal Government of Nigeria and other concerned bodies to intervene in the situation, withdraw military presence, bring offenders to book and bring a lasting solution to the communal crisis that led to the upheaval.

In a press statement titled PRESS RELEASE ON THE ON-GOING MILITARY INVASION AND GRUESOME KILLING OF THE UNARMED PEOPLE OF SHANGEV-TIEV, KONSHISHA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, HELD ON THE 9th APRIL, 2021 IN MAKURDI, BENUE STATE, the group writes:

It is common knowledge that the communal crisis between the people of Mbator in ShangevTiev of Konshisha Local government and the Okpute of Oju local government of Benue state has endured several decades. Several attempts by stakeholders from both sides to bring it to an end have not yielded the desired results. When the crisis resurfaced, a peace meeting was initiated and a committee inaugurated by the Benue State government on the 22nd June 2020. Certain positive recommendations were made by committee to the government of Benue but unfortunately, the state government did not show any serious commitment towards its implementation.

Unfortunately also, the Okpute, people under the financier of one Major General, continued to use the Nigerian army and the Igede militia to carry out series of unprovoked attacks on our people. Following these wanton destruction and continued attacks, raping of our wives and daughters on our soil, the Shangev Tiev Assembly utterly condemn the unprofessional conduct of men of the Nigerian Armed Forces in a crisis situation like ours. It is rather disheartening to note that the trained senior officers are allegedly responsible for some of these security challenges in the area.

A Wounded Youth From The Invasion

In as much as we wail our dead, we unequivocally condemn in strongest terms, the alleged killing of the military officers. We also express our deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Nigeria, and equally express our heartfelt condolences to the families of our beloved unarmed and defenceless people who have been killed by the Nigerian Army.

Related: ZAKI BIAM: The Untold Story of Military Killings in Benue

As a peace loving people of Shangev-Tiev, Konshisha Local Government Area of Benue State- Nigeria, we wish to draw the attention of the general public and request the timely intervention to the on-going senseless killings of unarmed and peaceful people of Shangev-Tiev.

Property Demolished During the Invasion

The general public may wish to know that the Nigerian Army has consistently deployed fighter-helicopters that operate on daily basis and scores of armoured vehicles that continually shelled sophisticated firepower to kill and destroy property of our people. The army has so far razed and demolished farms, schools, hospitals and residences of Bonta, Tse-Jembe, Tse-Anyom, Gbinde, Mbaakpur, Aku, Agidi, Gungul, Adoka, Guleya, Awajir, Shiliki, Achoho and Ullam in Gwer Local Government Area, and are still planning to do same to other neighbouring towns within Konshisha Local Government Areas of Benue state.

According to Section 33 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution, ‘Persons living in Nigeria, shall have a right to life and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life unless in execution of the sentence of a court of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty’. We are confused on what the Right to Life mean in this context. Our unarmed people are being killed intentionally in large numbers by armed personnel of the Nigerian Army. Presently, over 70 persons are reported dead and more than 100 people are missing, mostly women, children and the elderly and hundreds of thousands displaced with its attendant humanitarian consequences.

The members of the Shangev-Tiev Assembly reaffirm that insecurity in all its forms and manifestations constitute one of the most serious threats to national unity and peace. We reiterate that any act of banditry is criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of any aclaimed motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever. We reaffirm the need for government at all levels to combat criminality within the provisions of the extant laws of the land. We wish to further state here that the Nigerian military is recruited, trained and remunerated by tax-payers money and is vested with the constitutional duty to defend the territorial integrity of the country against internal insurrection and external aggression. We make bold to question the the rules of miliatry engagement in quelling communal crises. Does the communal conflict between (Mbator) Shangev-Tiev of Konshisha LGA and the (Okpute) Igede of Oju LGA constitute an insurrection or external aggression? THE ANSWER IS A CAPITAL NO! Suffice to add that there are always rules of engagement in any internal security operations by the military. For what reason, whatsoever, would a military turn its arms and ammunition on a defenseless, pauperized, neglected and already traumatized civilian population? Who ordered the operation? Was the conflict beyond the capacity of the Mobile Police Force?. Nigeria has an avalanche of violent criminality, including terrorism, insurrectionism, banditry, kidnapping etc, none these is found in our community. Yet, the military is hugely found wanting in contending the various forms of violence that threaten the corporate existence of the Nigerian State. This level of lawlessness and impunity in Nigeria is at variance with democratic principles and conflict management styles. Curiously, the Defence Headquarters claimed that the Operation Whirl Stroke was ambushed while on a routine patrol. Granted that they were; however, the questions begging for answers are: Has the area ever being under siege by bandits at any point in time? Why are the government officers inconsistent in their statements on who invited the army officers where no single police officer was on ground? These and many more questions need to be answered. It should be noted that upon the inauguration of the President and Commander in-Chief of The Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the President swore to defend the lives and property of all Nigerians. Can we be right to state that the on-going military pogrom on our people is at variance with the oath he took? We therefore, pray that authorities concerned should save us from the on-going military invasion and onslaught on unarmed people of Shangev-Tiev. Actions sought:  The on-going killing of our unarmed and defenceless people and destructions of property by Nigeria Army should henceforth be stopped.

 The government should order the withdrawal of armed personnel from a Major General’s home town (Okpute) to show fairness to all parties

 The Benue State government should ensure that the land under dispute is amicably demarcated.

 A panel of enquiry to include civil society organizations should be setup to investigate the remote and immediate causes of the crises and the roles of the military. Anyone found wanting should be punished in accordance with the laws of them land.

 Compensations should be given to all victims in Shangev Tiev community.

Oche Onu Reports

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Foreign

How Colin Powell, America’s First Black Secretary of State, Died

Published

on

Colin Powell, the first Black secretary of state in United States of America died on Monday. According to reports, the former statesman and military commander died of COVID-19-related complications at the age of 84.

The report says he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer that makes it difficult to fight infections.

Born April 5, 1937 to Jamaican immigrants in Harlem, Powell’s “American Journey” started in New York, where he grew up and earned a degree in geology. Powell served four U.S. presidents and rose to become the first African American and the youngest chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest-ranking military officer in the US. He died Monday at Walter Reed National Medical Center. His family said he was fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

General Powell

“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” the family said in a statement on Facebook

Powell became very popular after engineering military victory in the 1991 Gulf War. He was so respected that he was considered a strong candidate to become the first ever Black US president. But he turned down such ambition of running for the White House and endorsed Barack Obama for the office.

Powell was also America’s first Black national security advisor under president Ronald Reagan.

Powell and George Bush

George W. Bush described Powell “an American hero, an American example, and a great American story” as he nominated the military man as his secretary of state in 2000.

“He was such a favorite of presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom — twice,” Bush said on Monday.

“He was highly respected at home and abroad. And, most important, Colin was a family man and a friend. Laura and I send Alma and their children our sincere condolences as they remember the life of a great man.”

Powell had a reputation for bipartisanship, straight-talking and integrity, and was praised for his officer’s instincts of duty and honor.

US Defense Secretary Austin Powell told reporters Powell was among the “greatest leaders that we have ever witnessed,” lamenting the loss of “a tremendous personal friend and mentor.”

Powell and family

“It’s a blot… and will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It’s painful now,” Powell said in a 2005 interview with ABC News.

Tributes nevertheless poured in from Congress, where Democratic Senator Mark Warner praised Powell as “a patriot and a public servant,” while House Republican Peter Meijer described him as a rarity in the modern age: “a true soldier statesman.”

“Today, the nation lost a man of undaunted courage and a champion of character,” added centrist Republican Senator Mitt Romney.

Former British prime minister Tony Blair, who stood firmly behind US actions in Iraq and gave military backing to the war effort, described Powell as a “towering figure in American military and political leadership.”

“He was wonderful to work with, he inspired loyalty and respect and was one of those leaders who always treated those under them with kindness and concern,” Blair said.

Powell and wife Alma in 1962

Powell earned a number of civilian honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom — twice from Bush Senior and Clinton.

He married his wife Alma in 1962. They had three children: Michael, Linda and Annemarie

Oche Onu writes with agency report

Continue Reading

Latest

Deontay Wilder Suspended from Boxing for Six-Months (see why)

Published

on

Following his recent fight with Tyson Fury and brutal defeat by same, Deontay Wilder will not be allowed to return to the ring until next April.

Wilder was stopped in the penultimate round of the trilogy fight having hit the canvas on three occasions as he lost to the Brit for the second successive time.

He was taken to hospital to be checked over before being discharged later on Saturday night with a broken finger and the Nevada State Athletic Commission will not permit him to fight until April 8 unless his finger is cleared by a doctor.

Fury has been given a standard 45-day ‘suspension’ following his efforts in retaining his heavyweight world title.

Fury’s victory brought a concussive end to a rivalry that had raged for almost three years but the Brit had to earn victory the hard way by twice climbing off the canvas in a pulsating fourth round.

He had dropped Wilder in the previous session before doing the same in the 10th and 11th rounds.

Fury returned to the UK on Tuesday to spend time with his extended family which includes his six children.

He will likely face British rival Dillian Whyte early next year assuming the Londoner beats Otto Wallin later this month.

Should he come through that, he will surely target the winner of Anthony Joshua’s rematch with Oleksandr Usyk which is set to take place in March.

Wilder faces a more uncertain future after suffering his second professional defeat as he prepares to have surgery on his hand.

His trainer Malik Scott wants his charge to take some time off – but insisted the former champion won’t retire.

“I really don’t want Deontay talking about boxing or doing anything to do with boxing for quite some time, I want him to get some rest after this.

“Even after the last fight he was so worked up he never really got to rest. He deserves a good rest and we’ll make sure he gets it. I’m going to head down to Tuscaloosa in a few days to spend some time with him.

“Deontay has set his family financially secure so he doesn’t have to fight to make a living.

“But retiring is not in his plans at all and not something we’ve discussed. He will be back in any form he wants to be; he’s a big-time fighter and he doesn’t belong down there with the other guys, he needs to be in high-level fights and main events.

“Deontay Wilder was great on Saturday, but Tyson Fury was even greater – it was a great night of boxing for the heavyweight division.

“You have to give Fury credit for having a good chin and getting up. Fury is a legend and one of the best in the heavyweight division in any era, and it’s the same about Deontay.”

One potential fight for Wilder is a mouthwatering, blink-and-you-miss-it clash with Anthony Joshua.

The Brit faces a revenge mission in his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk next year but if he loses will be in need of a dance partner.

Oche Onu writes with agency report.

Continue Reading

Latest

NGO MOBILISES LAGOS COMMUNITIES AGAINST GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE

Published

on

In a bid to fight Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in communities across Lagos, the Centre for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection (CEE-HOPE), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) partnered with RiseUp, a women and girls’ rights group to mobilize community stakeholders as gatekeepers and to build better links with law enforcement agencies.The meeting at Otto-Ilogbo community, one of the most populous informal communities in Lagos was the first of three meetings targeting Otto-Ilogbo, Makoko and Bariga. It would bring together local stakeholders such as local chiefs, women leaders, youth leaders, heads of girls’ groups among others in a bid to reduce GBV particularly against teenage girls.

It would also ensure that the communities work more closely with government agencies, law enforcement agencies and other state actors as well establish community systems that would report sexual violations so that the perpetrators are brought to book and thereby help towards the reduction and indeed eradication of such crimes in those communities.The first meeting at Otto-Ilogbo held recently was fruitful as it provided a robust platform for the rubbing of minds among the community stakeholders.

Both the old and youth freely aired their concerns and observations and welcome the idea of a better working relationships with constitutionally appointed bodies and personnel to curb sexual violence in their community as in everywhere in the country especially with the COVID-19 pandemic and associated pressures and socioeconomic abnormalities.

Comrade Mushbau Ishola Agbdemu, an eminent community leader and activist at Otto-Ilogbo and the local organizer, welcome the idea and promised that the community would work closely with the CEE-HOPE team to ensure the success of the project.

Betty Abah, CEE-HOPE’s founder and Executive Director, expressed delight at the turn of the one-day event. “We are really impressed by the enthusiasm of the communities to collaborate with us and the others in focus and we hope that we have such good responses from the other communities as well. Our work with informal communities over the years proved that if given the opportunities and cooperation from constituted authorities, the community people would always leverage on their potentials and experiences to turn things around positively. We are positive that this will go well,’ she added.
The October 25 meeting at Otto-Ilogbo was preceded by another one-day meeting at Makoko constituting leaders and representatives from the three target communities including Makoko, Bariga and Otto-Ilogbo on September 11. 

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending