At least 22 persons are feared killed in fresh attacks between ethnic Jukun and Tiv communities of Wukari local government area in southern Taraba State, residents and local officials have said.
The two communities have been at war in the last three weeks, resulting in the loss of lives and property.
Witnesses said a Tiv militia stormed Wukari’s suburbs around 7 p.m on Friday.
A resident, Bwacha David, said the attackers who were over 200 caught the villagers unaware.
Mr David said the attackers set many houses on fire. ‘’They killed more than 10 persons and burnt many houses,” he said.
The chairman of the local government, Adi Daniel, confirmed the attack.
“We just woke up with another fresh attack by suspected Tiv militias who struck at the suburbs of Wukari. We are being provoked now to retaliate because we cannot keep silent while people continue to attack us.
‘’This is the eighth attack on us by Tiv militias in the recent time. Over 22 people were killed and we didn’t kill even an insect.
However, Orbee Uchiv, a Tiv leader, alleged that Jukun militia first attacked the Tiv.
“On Monday, the Deputy Governors of Taraba and Benue met together with the Aku Uka and Tor Tiv. The political and traditional leaders sued for peace.
“Unfortunately, in the wee hours of Tuesday, Vaase, a border town was attacked and more than seven people were killed again. On the night of Wednesday, Tse Kaakigh village was completely razed. The security agencies visited the place to assess the level of destruction.
“Last night, Ikyaior village came under attack. In all these attacks, it was claimed the Fulani were the ones attacking the Tiv. We are confused.
“Just yesterday, they (Jukuns) killed a nursing mother at the suburb of Wukari and we are being pushed to the wall.
“The Federal government should urgently step in to restore peace,’’ he said.
Police spokesperson in the state, David Misal, confirmed the attacks but could not give details.
“I was called by some residents and informed me about the attack. But I am yet to be briefed by the DPO or area command, so I cannot speak on the casualties, and presently I am in church for Easter,” Mr Misal said.
You Must Contest Senatorial Rerun Election – INEC Tells Akpabio
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rejected a former senator, Godswill Akpabio’s withdrawal from a scheduled rerun election for the Akwa Ibom North-West District.
The rerun election takes place this Saturday.
INEC in a letter addressed to Mr Akpabio’s party – All Progressives Congress (APC) – in December said it was too late for the former senator’s name to be replaced with another.
“Your letter dated 10 December, 2019 wherein you forwarded Nomination Forms of one Hon. Ekperikpe Luke Ekpo as substitute candidate of your Party for the court-ordered rerun refers.
“Please note that the last day for the withdrawal/substitution of candidates for the 2019 National Assembly elections and the said period has lapsed,” the election commission said in the letter signed by its secretary, Rose Oriaran-Anthony.
“Further, the said rerun election is to be conducted amongst the same political parties and candidates who participated in the nullified elections.
“Consequent upon the above, the commission cannot accede to your request and Sen. Godswill Akpabio remains the candidate of the APC for the Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District court-ordered rerun election.”
Mr Akpabio’s dream of returning to the Senate to represent the district for a second term was truncated February last year by Chris Ekpenyong, a former deputy governor of Akwa Ibom, who was the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the election.
The Court of Appeal, Calabar, in November, had ordered a rerun in only one local government area – Essien Udim – in the district, following Mr Akpabio’s appeal against the judgment of the election petition tribunal which declared Mr Ekpenyong was the validly elected senator for the district.
Mr Akpabio, who hails from Essien Udim, was appointed minister of Niger Delta Affairs by President Muhammadu Buhari after he lost the election.
The minister had said he would not want to abandon his “huge responsibility” and a “critical national assignment” at the Niger Delta Affairs Ministry as the reason he was backing out of the rerun election.
Election is Only Good When They Win, Buhari Mocks PDP
President Muhammadu Buhari has mocked the Peoples Democratic People (PDP) over the Supreme Court victories of Governors Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State and Simon Lalong of Plateau states, saying election is only good whey they win and the opposite is the case when someone else emerges.
Reacting to the judgment, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, in Abuja, Buhari said, “I am glad this tortuous journey has ended in favour of the party and our governors. The APC won the states and has proved it in court. It would have been a major blow if strategically important states like Kano and Plateau are lost.”
Buhari urged the “electorate and politicians to strengthen the country’s judicial processes by always seeking redress in court.”
The retired general, however, chided the opposition’s habit or standard procedure of “challenging any poll or judgment that does not return its candidates.”
He said, “Election is good when they win. The opposite is the case if someone else emerges. But that is not the way it works. Democracy is not only about who wins or who loses, but also about the process. In disparaging every unfavourable result or judgment, they disparage the entire system.”
Imo Assembly Resumes Today, Defection Looms
The lawmakers at the Imo State House of Assembly will on Tuesday (today) resume from their one month Christmas and New Year break.
The lawmakers had, on December 24, adjourned till January 21 after passing into law the 2020 budget estimate presented by Emeka Ihedioha, who has now been sacked by the Supreme Court as the governor of the state.
As the lawmakers resume today, there are strong indications that majority of the lawmakers will defect to the All Progressives Congress.
A source said the lawmakers’ rumoured defection was to align them with the new government in the state and to help the new governor to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people of the state.
The source also said the likely defection would foster unity and harmonious working relationship between the Legislature and the Executive.
The APC currently has one lawmaker in the state House of Assembly while the PDP has a majority of 17 lawmakers with the Action Alliance and the All Progressives Grand Alliance having the remaining lawmakers.