Benue Killings: Senate rejects Ca��tteea��s Report

*Accuses panel of bias against Gov Ortom
*Summons Defence Minister
By Ignatius Okorocha and Jude Opara
It was a reprieve for Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State on Thursday as the Senate turned down the report of its Joint Committees on Police Affairs and National Security and Intelligence on the failure of the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of the January 1, 2018 Makurdi killings in line with its resolution.
They accused the committee of bias against Governor Ortom by consistently mentioning his name in its findings without giving him fair hearing.
The Red Chamber in rejecting the report at its plenary session on Wednesday, said the panel headed by Senator Abu Ibrahim, was most unfair to the governor.
Before the Senate wielded the big stick, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and other senators, concluded that the committee was biased in its assignment by not seeking the views of Ortom, whose state was invaded by suspected armed Fulani herdsmen, where 73 persons were killed.
After patiently listening to the presentation by Senator Ibrahim, Ekweremadu said that the IGP in his testimony before the committee, consistently mentioned Governor Ortom, but frowned at the committee for not inviting the governor to testify.
He said: “Let me start by commending Senator Abu Ibrahim for this report and the effort to bring it back on time. I just have one single observation. I have noted that in the statement made by the IG, he copiously mentioned the governor of Benue State in most of the paragraphs, but I didna��t see where the committee made an effort to speak with the governor.
“I am saying this because if in the circumstance, they did not interview the governor, and his name has been mentioned in respect of certain statements and actions, it would only be fair to him, to be invited by the committee and hear his own side of the story so that we have a balanced view of what transpired,” he said.
Senator George Akume (APC, Benue) echoed the position of Ekweremadu and accused the committee of presenting a a�?highly biased report to the apex legislative chamber on the Benue killingsa�?.
His words: “I have gone through this summary, what I want to say is that this report would have been more rounded if the governor who has been so massively accused by the IGP was also invited to make input into it. The committee would have had opportunity to interact with him. I am informed that the mandate of the committee was restricted to the office and person of the IGa�?.
Consequently, the Senate resolved that the governor should be invited to defend himself.
*Gendarmesa�� Invasion: Senate summons Defence Minister
Meanwhile, the Senate has summoned the Minister of Defence, Brig-Gen. Mansur Dan Ali (rtd), over the invasion of parts of Cross River State by Cameroon Gendarmes and the attendant security implications in the country.
The Senators asked Ali to appear and brief them on the development.
They also directed the Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, to liaise with his Cameroonian counterpart to secure the release of the five Nigerians abducted by the Cameroonian military.
The Senate resolutions followed a motion sponsored by Senator John Owan Enoh (Cross River Central) and two others tagged: “Influx of Refugees from the Republic of Cameroun to some border communities in Cross River State and its attendant security fallouta�?.
The Upper Chamber called on the Nigerian and Cameroonian governments to strengthen the capacity of Nigeria-Cameroun Trans-Border Security Committee aimed at addressing security issues in the two countries.
It also urged the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to intensify ongoing efforts at protecting the Cameroonian refugees and assist in their voluntary repatriation, local integration and resettlement.
In his submission, Enoh noted that over 6,000 of the refugees are squatting at Obanliku, Bold, Etung and Ikom Local Government Areas of the state.

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