The kinsmen of the Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, Friday accused him of betraying them and the Benue State Government.
The minister had, at a press briefing on Monday in Abuja, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency in Benue over insecurity. He also urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe Governor Samuel Ortom’s financial dealing from May 29, 2015 till date, among other things.
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But his kinsmen, comprising of elders and leaders of the land, known as Jemgbagh, spread across Buruku, Gboko and Tarka local government areas of the state, yesterday at a press conference in Makurdi, said it became necessary to disassociate themselves from their brother’s outburst.
Their spokesman, Yandev Amaai-Bai, said the allegation that the governor was disrespectful to the president was the most preposterous of the allegations against him.
“It is curious that Senator Akume failed to point out the insults. He who alleges is expected to prove,” he said.
But reacting, the president of the Jemgbagh United Front, Dan-morgan Ihomun, said the ‘so called’ kinsmen of Senator Akume were hired to do the bidding of their paymaster.
“All they have done is to get pocket money from whoever was sponsoring them. Jemgbagh people are 100 per cent behind what Senator Akume said in his Abuja outing.
“Akume is worried about issues of Benue and we stand behind him. We can’t stand with people who are saying that the polytechnic established in Jemgbagh kingdom should be taken away from them,” he said.
Amaai-Bai further said they had watched with dismay and disappointment Akume’s outburst and felt the need to make their position known on the issue.
He said, “We found the outing of the minister condemnable and unacceptable. Jemgbagh people are not known for such despicable acts. Akume has put the entire Jemgbagh in disrepute and we won’t tolerate it anymore.
Meanwhile, Governor Ortom has instituted a N60 billion suit against Akume at the Benue State High Court, Makurdi.
The suit number MHC/268/2021 was filed by Okon N. Efut, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and four other lawyers.
The governor is seeking N50 billion as general damages for libel and N10 billion as exemplary and aggravated damages.
The writ of summons was backed by a 17-paragraph statement of claim.
In the statement of claim, the governor is seeking a declaration that the text of Akume’s press conference on August 30 in Abuja and the reports in various national dailies are scandalous, malicious and injurious to his person.
The governor is seeking perpetual injunction restraining the senator, by himself or through any agent, servants or privies from similar or further publication of any defamatory statement against him.
No date has been fixed for hearing of the case.