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Gov Alia, APC trade words over disruption of meeting

Governor Hyacinth Alia and the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership in Benue State have traded words over the disruption of a scheduled stakeholders’ meeting of…

Governor Hyacinth Alia and the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership in Benue State have traded words over the disruption of a scheduled stakeholders’ meeting of the party.

Our correspondent reports that the face-off between the governor and his party leadership in the state worsened on Friday when there was a heavy gunfire near the APC secretariat in Makurdi as security agencies took over rhe facility to maintain law and order.

Alia, in reaction to the disturbances, called on security agencies to arrest the state Chairman of the APC, Comrade Austin Agada, and the Executive Director, Finance and Accounts at the Federal Housing Authority, Mathias Byuan, for allegedly destabilising his government.

But, the APC leadership in the state flayed the governor, urging him to wear his thinking cap before he caused further damage to the image of Benue State.

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Daniel Ihomun, the APC state Publicity Secretary, in a statement on Saturday, blamed the governor for the disrupted earlier scheduled working visit of the Executive Director, Housing, Finance and Accounts, Federal Housing Authority, Dr Mathias Ibyuan, to the APC state secretariat in Makurdi, the state capital.

He alleged that Governor Alia sent thugs through his Senior Special Assistant on Youth Mobilisation and Empowerment, Moses Mkeenem, to barricade all roads leading to the APC secretariat to prevent party officials from attending to their legitimate duties.

Ihomun alleged that the governor later went out personally encouraging the hoodlums to attack members of the party and disrupt party activities.

But Alia described the duo -– Agada and Byuan -– as “merchants of crisis” and appealed to the people of Benue State to remain security conscious and report suspicious activities of fifth columnists.

The governor also in a statement through his spokesperson, Tersoo Kula, said he received intelligence reports that the APC’s Agada and Byuan hired armed men into Benue State to shatter the relative peace in the state against his earlier directive that all political gatherings in the state be suspended due to the volatile security situation in the state.

He said, “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. Dr George Akume when the Nigerian police arrived and began to engage them before they disappeared.

“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.”

Governor 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 organisers to call off their meetings.

He stated further that his government was worried that some people were in the habit of insisting to derail the relative peace in the state and hinder development that he (Alia) is bringing home.

The governor stressed that the security atmosphere in Benue State was 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 destabilise his government.

Meanwhile, the APC leadership explained that Byuan who arrived in Makurdi and was received by party faithful at Agan toll-gate proceeded to the secretariat in company with the state chairman, Agada, and other members of the State Executive Committee in a convoy and were allegedly blocked by the governors’ thugs 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.

“It was an absurdity before now to think that a governor elected on the platform of a political party could go out of lawful ways to stop the same party from performing its duties including declaring his state capital as being insecure and unsafe for peaceful assembly.

“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.

“Previous administrations in Benue State have made serious efforts at demilitarizing youths 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 posited.

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