Public Outcry in Benue Following the Detention of 82-Year-Old Female LG Chairman and Others

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PDP Urges Respect for Rule of Law and Release of Detainees in Benue

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue State has voiced its strong condemnation of the detention of an 82-year-old woman, Mrs. Veronica Gajir, who serves as the Chairman of Ushongo Local Government Area, along with three other colleagues from Ado, Guma, and Katsina-Ala LGAs. The Department of State Services (DSS) reportedly detained them based on alleged orders from the state government.

Expressing their dismay, the PDP criticized Governor Hyacinth Alia for disregarding a valid court order in the ongoing dispute between the elected council chairmen and the government. The party cautioned that such actions by the governor could lead to anarchy and disregard for the rule of law.

During a press conference held in Makurdi, the state’s Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Bemgba Iortyom, questioned the continued detention of the octogenarian and her colleagues without being charged to court, despite having responded to an invitation from the DSS.

Iortyom stated, “Today marks over 72 hours of the detention of the council chairmen by DSS without stating what their offense is or charging them to court, in the face of which it is plausible to infer that their offense could only be a refusal to surrender to the illegality of their purported suspension from office under the orders of Governor Alia.”

He further added, “Those lawfully elected council chairmen were invited and detained by the DSS at the request of the governor, who has vowed to remove them from office by whatever means possible to him, in furtherance of his policy of vendetta and witch-hunt against the immediate past administration of Governor Samuel Ortom.”

Moreover, Iortyom highlighted an incident where lawyers and a bailiff from the Makurdi Magistrate’s Court were denied access to the DSS headquarters in Makurdi when attempting to serve court processes for the enforcement of the detained council chairmen’s fundamental human rights.

The PDP called on the DSS to be mindful of its professional reputation and avoid becoming involved in Governor Alia’s pursuit of impunity and the imposition of lawlessness in the state.

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