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Benue: Gov Alia, APC Trade Blames Over Clash Between Supporters

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The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Benue State got to a head weekend when some party youths loyal to the acting State Chairman, Benjamin Omakolo and those loyal to embattled State Chairman, Austin Agada engaged in a free-for-all in Makurdi.

The fight which was reported to have also witnessed sounds of gunshots was quelled by stern looking Police personnel who fired rounds of teargas to disperse the youth.

The crisis started when some youths of the party alleged to be loyal to the acting Chairman barricaded the road leading to the APC State Secretariat supporting the Police to cordon off the area to stop any political meeting there, in line with the ban of such activities emplaced by Governor Hyacinth Alia and being enforced by the Police.

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However, another group of youths allegedly loyal to Mr. Agada who led his entourage including the Executive Director, Housing, Finance and Accounts, Federal Housing Authority, Dr. Mathias Byuan tried to penetrate the barricade to access state Secretariat on JS Tarka Road, they were resisted by those that had barricaded the access road from the Kashim Ibrahim Way axis of Old GRA, and a free-for-all ensued. It took the intervention of the Police to save the situation.

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Reacting to the development in a statement, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Tersoo Kula blamed Mr. Agada and his entourage for allegedly using armed youths to instigate the crisis and violating the embargo placed on political meetings and gatherings in the state.

Kula alleged that: “We have received intelligence reports that the suspended state Chairman of the APC in Benue State, Austin Agada and the Executive Director, Finance and Accounts at the Federal Housing Authority, Mr. Mathias Byuan have hired armed men into Benue State to shatter the relative peace in Benue State.

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“This is against the directive of the governor that all political gatherings in the state be suspended due to the volatile security situation in the state. But shockingly, the armed men who accompanied Agada and Byuan reportedly made their way into the heart of the town in a convoy and started shooting sporadically when they got to Tito Gate, Kashim Ibrahim road, Makurdi.

“The duo led the armed men round parts of the old GRA and were headed to property number 75, J S Tarka way said to be owned by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. George Akume when the Nigerian police arrived and began to engage them before they dispersed.

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“Recall that Governor Hyacinth Alia had banned all political and social gatherings in the state till further notice. These directives were later publicly communicated to the public through the Commissioner of Police, Benue State Command who approved enforcement and equally asked the organizers to call off their meetings.

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“The government is worried that some people are still in the habit of insisting to derail the relative peace in the state and hinder development that Governor Alia is bringing home.

“The security atmosphere in Benue State is only gradually returning to calm after it was charged recently following the unprecedented influx of armed herders who were brought in by enemies of the state to destabilize the government.

“We urge Benue people to be security conscious and immediately report activities of these fifth columnists as we call on security agencies to arrest these merchants of crisis and bring them to book to serve as a deterrent to others.”

But in a counter statement, the State Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr. Daniel Ihomun who blamed Governor Alia for what transpired, alleged that he sent thugs to disrupt the scheduled working visit of Dr. Byuan to the APC State Secretariat by barricading the road.

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READ ALSO: Benue APC Crisis: Court Sacks Gov Alia Backed Acting State Chairman

Ihomun alleged that “Dr. Mathias Byuan who arrived Makurdi and was received by party faithful at Agan toll-gate proceeded to the Secretariat in company of the State Chairman, Comrade Austin Agada, and other members of the State Executive Committee in a convoy and were blocked by the governor’s thugs along the Tito gate brandishing dangerous weapons and attacking members of the party.

“Benue APC views this as a very desperate and pedestrian outing by the governor highly unbecoming of the Chief Executive Officer of a state. The APC in Benue State is highly embarrassed by this rogue like outing of the governor and urges members of the party at all levels in the state to remain calm and law abiding.

“The party is equally worried that instead of redeeming the image of the state to attract investments across the globe, Governor Hyacinth Alia has taken it upon himself to trade the fortunes of the state on the alter of politics, demarketing Benue as a state highly insecure to do business or even associate freely.

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“Previous administrations in Benue State have made serious efforts at demilitarizing youth in the state. It will be highly unpatriotic for Governor Alia to return the state to the era of encouraging young people to take up arms against people of the state instead of seeking ways to empower them.

“The APC in Benue State strongly condemns this outing of the governor and urges him to wear his thinking cap before he causes further damage to the image and prosperity of Benue state.”

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Politics

Edo APC Gives Vanguard 24hrs Ultimatum To Retract Alleged Libelous Publication, Threatens Law Suit

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The Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has given Vanguard newspaper 24 hours ultimatum to retract a publication which the party described as “libelous and defamatory.”

This is contained in a letter addressed to Vanguard newspaper Editor by the party’s lawyer, Martin Omo-lghekpe, a copy of which was made available to INFO DAILY on Tuesday.

Vanguard newspaper was said to have carried an advertorial today July 23, 24, wherein faces of some APC chieftains in the state were published and labelled: Edo Airport Violence: Faces of Suspected Culprits.

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In the letter titled: ‘LIBEL AND DEFAMATION AGAINST THE ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESss (APC) EDO STATE CHAPTER WITH RESPECT TO THE NAMED PERSONS, WHOSE PHOTOGRAPHS APPEARED IN PAGE 15 OF THE VANGUARD’, the APC lawyer said it was meant to malign the party and the persons whose photographs wete published by the paper.

The party said Vanguard’s failure to publish a retraction and apology within the said 24 hours would lead to the party instituting “criminal and civil action” against the paper over what the paper referred to as “defamatory and libelous” publication.

The letter reads in part: “It is our brief that you termed the photographs of the aforesaid gentlemen as “Edo
State Airport Violence faces of suspected culprits”

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“We take serious reservations to your audacious, malicious, libelous and defamatory publication which has no legal foundation, as the said publication is orchestrated to
malign the image of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Edo State Chapter, in the eyes of the general public as our Client had written a comprehensive petition to the office of the Knspector General of Police, in respect of the incident at the Benin Airport on the 18 of July, 2024, which said petition is subject to police
investigation.

“We are of the firm view that a newspaper of your standing, ought to maintain the highest ethical standard put in place by the regulatory agencies.

“Flowing from the above, our Client hereby demand as follows:
a) The immediate retraction of the aforesaid malicious, libelous and
defamatory publication within 24 hours of the receipt of this letter.
b) A letter of apology to our Client within a full cover space of your
newspaper. TAKE NOTICE; that failure to abide by the penultimate paragraphs, will leave us with no option than to institute both criminal and civil action against Vanguard.”

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JUST IN: Imo Senator, Onyewuchi Dumps Labour Party, Joins APC

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The senator representing Imo East Senatorial District, Ezenwa Onyewuchi, has dumped the Labour Party (LP) and joined the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Onyewuchi also declared his support for President Bola Tinubu’s administration.

His letter of defection was read on the floor of the red chambers by Senate President Godswill Akpabio, on Tuesday, July 23.

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Recall in 2022, Senator Onyewuchi left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to join the Labour Party (LP).

READ ALSO: JUST IN: ADC Reps Member Defects To APC

Onyewuchi was also a former member of the House of Representatives – Owerri-Municipal/Owerri-North/West-Federal Constituency

The letter partly reads: “This decision is due to the intractable division and crisis in the labour party that sponsored my election into the senate.

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“We give our unflinching support to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and of course, support his administration aimed at achieving sustainable development for our country.”

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JUST IN: ADC Reps Member Defects To APC

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The member representing Ijumu/Kabba Bunu federal constituency of Kogi state, Hon. Idris Salman on Tuesday, July 23, announced his defection from the Africa Democratic Congress (ADC) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Salman, who was one of the two ADC lawmakers elected into the 10th Assembly, said he was defecting to the ruling party after due consultations.

His defection which is the first since the House was inaugurated on 13th June, 2023, was greeted with loud applause by members present at plenary.

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The minority whip, Hon. Ali Isa JC, however, asked the House to declare the seat of the defecting member vacant in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

He said the Constitution provides that any member who defects from the party that sponsored him as a member of the House should lose his seat especially when there is no crisis in the party.

However, the minority whip’s position was overshadowed by a cacophony of voices, as the chamber erupted into chaos with members attempting to drown out his remarks.

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The defection of Salman reduces the number of the minority caucus to 179.

 

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