From Msughshima Andrew, Makurdi
Ahead of the Presidential and National Assembly Elections, the All Progressive Congress, APC, in Benue state has said the security agencies should check the activities of the Benue State Livestock Guards and other illegal security outfits in the state with a view to disarm them.
The APC stated this in a communique issued at the end of an emergency meeting of stakeholders of the party in Makurdi.
The emergency meeting was presided over by the Leader of the Party in the State and Vice-Chairman (North) for the President Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organization, Senator George Akume.
The communique signed by the state APC campaign secretary, Prof. Eugene Aliegba stated that the APC had convened the meeting to restrategize and plan ahead for the Saturday polls.
The party however observed with dismay the organized/calculated efforts by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Benue State to use violence to achieve electoral success.
They said the desperation of the PDP was shown by the open presence and deployment of arms by armed militia and the Benue State Livestock Guards all over the State.
According to them, “the situation has led to violent attack on the member of the House of Representatives for Makurdi-Guma Federal Constituency, Hon. Dickson Tarkighir and the assassination of the APC Chairman for Ohimini LGA, Hon. Boniface Okloho in the early hours of Saturday 16th February, 2019.
The APC decried the fact that despite the deployment of security for conduct of the elections, the presence of armed militia and armed Livestock Guards still remained visible all over the State.
The meeting therefore resolved that “the security agencies should check the activities of the Benue State Livestock Guards and other illegal security outfits in the State, and recover arms from them, and their activities restricted since they have no role in the electoral proces
They also resolve that “INEC should publish a list of its duly accredited observers to enable security agencies identify fake groups/persons posing as observers.
The meeting had commended the APC family in the State and supporters for confidence in the Party as expressed through the hard work put in for the party to achieve victory in the postponed elections.
The party however expressed disappointment over the postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), for the reasons advanced and hoped that the reoccurring pattern of elections postponement will stop.
“Members of the APC are also encouraged to sustain efforts so that the party can achieve higher margin of victory next Saturday at the Presidential and National Assembly elections, and subsequent, at the Governorship and State Assembly elections.
The party therefore advised its members to remain calm and vigilant, and to report all suspicious activities to constituted authorities.
They also appealed to all relevant security agencies involved in the elections to step up vigilance and control of the security of the State before, during and after the elections.
247ureports recalls that Benue state Governor Samuel Ortom had denied that members of the Livestock Guard were armed. He was quote as saying that they do not move about with guns, not even sticks.