- State’s Lawmakers Behind Alleged Protest – Member
By Amos Aar
THE BENUE State Police Command has issued a strong warning against protests in the state following high rate of insecurity bedeviling Benue.
The command’s order was conveyed to journalists on Sunday through a statement by the Benue State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Superintendent of Police (SP) Sewuese Anene,
The statement entitled: “Benue Police Command Warns Against Protest at This Trying Time”, reads:
“Information available to Benue state Command reveals [sic] that a group of persons are [sic] planning to stage a protest in the state.
“The Commissioner of Police, Benue State Command, CP. Bartholomew Nnamdi Onyeka psc (+) has described this as a plan to sabotage efforts of the police to manage the fragile security situation that is currently being handled. He further explained that a protest at this time will avail hoodlums and other criminal minded persons an opportunity to cause mayhem.
“The CP warns intending protesters to refrain from such actions as the environment is not conducive for a protest.
“Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) have been directed to tighten up security in their areas of responsibility and resist any efforts of protesters to encourage breech of peace.
“Stakeholders including; Traditional rulers, Religious leaders, youth leaders and parents are advised to warn their children/wards to desist from any form of protest at this sensitive time.
“The CP assures the good people of Benue State of his commitment to fight crime and enjoins the people to avail useful and timely information to the police”.
Although the statement did not mention any group intending to embark on protest, National Record however gathered from a member of Benue Good Governance Team (BEGGOT), who pleaded anonymity for lack of authority to speak with the press on behalf of the group, said they had planned to stage a peaceful protest in Makurdi, Benue State capital, on Monday, October 23, 2023.
He said the planned protest if not halted by the police, was to demand good governance from Governor Hyacinth Alia having observed maladministration by his government which BEGGOT intends to correct.
Findings reveal that aggrieved members of the Benue State House of Assembly were behind the aborted protest planned by BEGGOT.
A member of the Assembly confided in National Record on Tuesday that they were aggrieved over a number of issues but it was not possible for them to carry out the protest openly by themselves.
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According to him, members of the 10th Benue Assembly are demanding payment of their entitlements including official cars which they are yet to be given since inauguration on July 5, 2023.
The visibly angry assembly member pondered: “Where is the speaker getting funds that he is doing infrastructural projects for his constituency? He even bought a jeep worth seven million naira (N7,000,000.00) for a district head recently while his colleagues are either borrowing vehicles or boarding commercial vehicles.
“Where is he getting his money [from]? He is not evening saying anything about the plight of the members. Is that why Governor Alia insisted that Hon. Aondona Dajoh be made speaker of the house?
Social media platforms in Benue State were awash with posts on October 16, 2023 that the lawmakers were threatening to embark on strike to resume sittings only when their demands would be met.
However, when National Record contacted the speaker’s Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Akume Raphael, via a chat on October 17 to establish authenticity of the speculations, he said “it’s fake”.