Youths protest suspension of council chairmen in Benue

THERE was wide protest in  Kwande and Gboko local government areas of Benue State following  the suspension of the council  chairmen and their subsequent replacement.

Benue state house of assembly had on Monday approved governor Samuel Ortom request to suspend six chairmen and two deputy chairmen for alleged gross misconduct and misappropriation of funds and abuse of office.

The affected chairmen were:  Austin Okwoche of Oju council,  Mrs Juliana Audu of Makurdi, Terdoo Kenti of Kwande and his Vice, Andrew Orvande as well as Francis Ogwuche of Okpokwu.

But some youths had on Tuesday stormed major streets of Gboko and Adikpo, headquarters of Kwande local government to protest the suspension of the council chairmen.

It was learnt that youths in the area carried placards   and blocked major roads to express their grievances.

It was gathered that  the aggrieved youths in the two local government areas  were  seen vandalizing offices and destroying bill boards belonging to PDP just as most residents scampered for safety.

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“The destruction is worst around J.S Tarka Way as motorcycles belonging to PDP supporters were burnt down”, the source said.

Confirming the incident, State Police Public Relations’ Officer DSP Moses Yamu said that in Kwamde, the suspended Chairman Terdoo Kenti addressed the youths, appealing to them to remain calm as they would seek legal redress to the action.

Yamu said  that  economic activities were  shut down in Gboko as a result of the protest, adding that  police ensured the maintenance of peace.

Meanwhile, the state governor,  Samuel Ortom has swore in the new acting chairmen and two Commissioners.

The governor  warned them to  desist from sharing funds meant for development of their respective councils  to political elders.

According to the governor,  the era of sharing councils funds  to the elders is  over stressing that  government money was  meant to touch the lives of the people positively.

”Be prudent in handling the councils finances. Do not embezzle the councils funds. Money is not everything, do not be in a hurry to grab it.

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”If you do that you will get into trouble. The Bible says money is the root of all evils. Wait patiently for God’s appointed time for you to make genuine money and not ill-gotten wealth,” he said.

The governor enjoined the people of the state  to eschew violence now, during and after the forthcoming polls.

‘You the chairmen should always ensure that absolute peace reign in your domains at all times,” he said.

Responding on behalf of their colleagues, the Commissioner for Housing, Mr Ekpe Ogbu and the acting chairman of Makurdi LGC, Mrs Lym Goon, appreciated Ortom for finding them worthy of the appointments.

The duo said it was a rare opportunity for them to contribute their quota to the development of the state and pledged not to disappoint Benue people.

They further promised to work assiduously towards victory of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the state during the forthcoming polls.