Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State on Wednesday debunked the rumours that he has raised a militia.
He however described those who were accusing him or the state of raising a militia as enemies of the state who have taken sides with the oppressors of Benue to protect their ‘meal tickets’.
Ortom stated this when he played host to the Chairman Middlebelt Brain Trust, and former Chief of Defence Staff, General Martin Luther Agwai (retd.) and his delegation at the Government House in Makurdi.
The governor maintained that he has never contemplated raising a militia for any reason.
He said that the people of the state are going through a lot of pains in the hands of herdsmen, saying the presidency is aware that militia herders were brought from other countries into Nigeria with the sole purpose of taking over the land.
Ortom said that the testimony by the former Chief of Army Staff that some members of his delegation could not make it to Makurdi confirmed the security situation in Benue occasioned by militia herdsmen who also obstructed movement on the Makurdi-Lafia road yesterday.
He regretted that no meaningful intervention had come from the Federal Government as it has done in other states of the country to cater for the displaced persons scattered across the state.
He pledged the support of his administration to any genuine process that would lead to peace in Benue and Nigeria at large.
Earlier, retired General Agwai said he was in the state to meet with the Governor and stakeholders to have first-hand information on the cause of crises after which views would be collated and recommendations made for necessary action.
JAMB Advises Candidates Against Dressing Indecently to UTME
Ahead of the 2023 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination and Direct Entry Examination, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board has issued advisories against the use of henna otherwise known as “laali”, bogus jewelry, outrageous outfits among others.
The Punch gathered that the board took the decision following observations that such mode of dressings and adornment led to distractions during examinations organised by the board.
In the advisory exclusively obtained by our correspondent on Tuesday, the board said, “Henna when applied on the fingers obstructs the smooth biometric verification of the candidates’ fingers. Also in an attempt by candidates to clean their fancy henna drawings, they used chemicals that damaged the whorls on their fingers, hence making biometric verification and authentication difficult.
“The Board reiterated its position of “No Biometrics, No examination rule” and urged candidates to desist from any act that could jeopardise their chances of taking the UTME.
On indecent dressing, the Board warned candidates “against indecent dressing, which in some cases, had constituted a major distraction to candidates, embarrassing even the candidates wearing such dresses as others pass offensive glances at them thereby destabilising their comportment for the examination.
“In some cases, it has been used to aid and abet examination malpractices. The Board views such improper dressing as a serious breach of the UTME ethics, adding that provocative and seductive dressing as well as willful and deliberate exposure of one’s body to the public will no longer be condoned as they are capable of causing distraction to candidates and examination officials alike.”
The advisory listed indecent dressing to include, but not limited to, “sleeveless tops, body hugs, knickers, transparent clothes, canopy headties, bogus fashion jewelries, spaghetti tops, and off-shoulders, among others.”
The Board reiterated that pencils were allowed into the examination hall for the UTME.
Woman Commits Suicide Beside Two-Year-Old Daughter in Abuja
A yet-to-be-identified nursing mother has committed suicide, abandoning her child in a bush where her corpse was discovered along Suuka Airport road, in the Federal Capital Territory.
PUNCH Metro gathered that an empty bottle of insecticide was found beside her corpse in the bush on Monday.
A resident in the area, who identified himself simply as Nnaji for security reasons, told our correspondent that the victim’s corpse was found when passers-by heard her baby crying in the bush.
Nnaji said, “The corpse of a middle-aged woman was seen in a bush in our area on Monday evening. A two-year-old girl was sitting close to her crying.
“It was even her cry that attracted passers-by to the scene of the incident. We got there and found an empty bottle of insecticide by her side; her body smelt of the insecticide. She is not a known person in the area and no one knows what made her do this.”
Contacted, the FCT police spokesperson, DSP Josephine Adeh, said the corpse had been deposited in a morgue, adding that the child was in the custody of the police as efforts were on to trace the woman’s relatives.
She said, “I can confirm to you that this case was reported at our division in Iddo. The corpse has been deposited at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital morgue.
“We cannot rush to the conclusion that she drank sniper, an autopsy will be conducted to determine the true cause of her death.”
LASPOTECH Undergraduate Narrates Ordeal with Human Body Parts Merchants
An undergraduate of the Lagos State Polytechnic, Marvelous Omobobola, who was abducted by a kidnap syndicate in the state, has been released after his family members paid N200,000 ransom.
PUNCH Metro gathered that Omobobola went to school on Saturday to sign a SIWES form.
After he was done, the undergraduate boarded a tricycle to his hostel in the Odogunyan area of Ikorodu, Lagos State.
The 28-year-old said the tricycle operator was conveying him and other passengers to their destinations in Odogunyan when he suddenly veered onto a street to avoid the traffic ahead.
Omobobola said the tricycle operator was navigating the street to link the expressway when he suddenly parked beside a bus located near a bush.
He said he and other passengers were lamenting the abrupt stop beside a bush around 5pm when some armed men stepped out of the bus, pounced on them and whisked them away.
Narrating his ordeal to our correspondent, Omobobola said, “I went to school on Saturday to sign my SIWES form because we were to start exams on Monday.
“When I was done around 5pm, I boarded a tricycle from my school to my hostel in Odogunyan. There was traffic along the way so the tricycle operator diverted into a street.
“We were three at the back of the tricycle and one man sat beside the tricycle operator at the front. We asked why he left the road and he told us it was because of the traffic.
“Suddenly, the tricycle operator parked beside a bus and some men with guns pounced on us and ordered us into the bus that was parked near a bush. We met some people on the bus when we entered it.”
Omobobola said the tricycle operator left to bring more victims, adding that the kidnappers seized their phones to keep them incommunicado.
The undergraduate said, “They drove us into the bush where some people visited to price us like goats. Some people among my group were taken away into a room where they were killed and well-dressed people came with coolers for their body parts.
“When we were told to take off our clothes, one of the kidnappers saw the Celestial Church crucifix on my waist and he put me aside. He asked me what the crucifix was for and I told him I am from a celestial family.
“He then returned my phone and told me to call my people to pay a ransom for me before their leader, one Alhaji, comes. He said when their leader returns, he would not be able to help me because Alhaji procures human parts for politicians and other people. He said I would be killed if he found me there.”
Using Omobobola’s phone, the kidnappers contacted his mother, Ronke, and demanded N700,000 ransom.
Our correspondent who was with Ronke when she commenced negotiation with the suspects heard them telling her to choose between purchasing a coffin to bury her son and raising the money to secure his release.
The kidnappers later agreed to collect N200,000 and after ending the call, the aggrieved mother was seen begging people including church members for money and was able to raise N100,000.
Speaking with our correspondent, Ronke said, “I am not myself as I am speaking to you. I heard the sound of people crying on the phone and my son said the kidnappers cut two people’s throats like cows in an abattoir. I have been told to send the N100,000 into my son’s account for his release.”
Our correspondent quickly contacted the state Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alabi, and he detailed the Divisional Police Officer, Odogunyan Police Station, to investigate the case.
Omobobola’s phone number was sent to the DPO who traced calls made to the number.
However, after the mother of the undergraduate paid the N100,000, the kidnappers, after using his ATM card to withdraw the money from a Point-of-Sale operator, used Omobobola’s phone number to borrow N100,000 from online credit companies.
It was learnt that the borrowed money was also withdrawn and the victim was released around 2am on Sunday.
Contacted, the Director of Information and Public Relations, Lagos State Polytechnic, Lanre Kuye, told our correspondent that the institution just got wind of the case.
He added, “We would make a case to the Lagos State Police Command to prevent future occurrences against staff and students.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, when contacted, said the command was on the matter, adding that the culprits would be arrested soon.