From Scholastica Hir Makurdi

Majority Leader, Benue State House of Assembly, Hon. Saater Tiseer, has debunked rumours making the rounds that the State Governor, Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia, snubbed members of the Benue State House of Assembly when they went to see him over the spate of killings in the state.

Rumours had it that the Governor shunned the lawmakers led by the Speaker, Mr Aondona Dajoh, who were at his residence to draw his attention to increased killings in the state.

It was said that he kept them waiting from 10am till about 3pm and ended up not attending to them.

Tiseer said that since the security situation in the state has worsened and they were not in a position to enforce laws, the lawmakers wanted to see the governor and know steps he has taken to manage the situation and the challenges confronting him.

He, however noted that the lawmakers were displeased with the Governor for not giving the legislators the attention they needed at the time they needed it, in view of the seriousness of the issue that was at stake.

He further noted that the governor was constantly in touch with him before he left his residence for another engagement, adding also that the House did not invite the Governor as speculated in some reports.

Tiseer, however stated that while he and his colleagues waited to see the governor, they had expected Governor Alia to drop other matters and attend to them because it had to do with the killing of the 28 persons that were recently hacked to death by armed herdsmen in Gwer-West Local Government Area (LGA).

According to the Majority Leader, “The House did not invite the Governor. But before the House is to go into a sitting, we go into an Executive session and raise burning issues that are of concern and the issue of security came in because Hon Gila, from Gwer-West told us a number of persons were killed; numbering more than 24 and you will recall also that the former Chief of Staff (CoS) to former Governor Ortom, Terwase Orbunde, was attacked and his wife and maid, kidnapped.

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“So we were worried that even this particular incident happened in Makurdi; so the whole House, went to see the Governor. We sat and were waiting, but unfortunately, I don’t think he was put on notice and while we were waiting, he came out and left because he had a function.

“But on his way, he called me, that he was aware that we were there and explained that he has given some other persons appointments and believed that our discussion will take some time, so we should give him a little time to come back and meet with us.

“While he was at the function, he called again and I gave the phone to the Speaker, Aondona Dajoh and they spoke. We then waited for some time, but we had another engagement in Abuja and had to catch a flight. So we were of the opinion that since the Speaker was leaving, we would also leave.

“But shortly after we left, he met the Minority Leader, at the gate on his way out, but we couldn’t come back because we had already left because of the travel arrangements earlier made and some of us were to also be in Ibadan.

“So that he snubbed us is wrong; he did not do that. We have a problem because we hoped that he would have left the other people, because when you see the entire Assembly in your house, he would have left whatever he was doing to attend to us; that’s just the misunderstanding. But that he snubbed us is not true,” he explained.

The Majority Leader stressed that the legislature was more worried that despite the fact that rains were about to commence, full swing, the activities of herdsmen have kept farmers away from the farms, which was an invitation to hunger.

“But the worry is that we are concerned about the insecurity in the state; we are concerned that our people are being killed; we are concerned that the rains have come back and we are concerned that you can still see Fulani and their cattle around while our people are expected to farm.

“We had called the Security Advisers sometime back on the floor of the House and we had discussions with them, but this time around, we did not want to call them because when you call most of these people, they have a misconception that you are haunting them.

“We are not in the place to enforce some of these laws, but the Governor is. So we wanted to see the governor and know exactly what he is doing; what are his difficulties and what do we can do, going forward because when the rains come and our people cannot go to farm, you will realize that hunger will be at our doorsteps?

“So these are our concerns and we have not left the matter. We are still going to engage him when we get back after this assignment. So the impression that we invited the Governor is wrong”, he said