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Benue caucus in National Assembly condemns Akume’s ‘derogatory’ utterances against Tor Tiv

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Urges him to tender apology

The Benue State Caucus in the National Assembly has condemned in strong terms the derogatory and regrettable utterances made by the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, against the Tor Tiv, His Royal Majesty, Prof. James Ayatse.

The caucus, in a communique signed by all the members and made available to The Guardian, urged Akume to de-escalate the ugly situation in the best interest of the state and tender an unreserved apology to the Tor Tiv.

The communiqué, signed by Senator Gabriel Suswam (Benue North-East Senatorial District), Senator Emmanuel Orker-Jev (Benue North West Senatorial District), Senator Abba Moro (Benue South Senatorial District) and seven other members of the House of Representatives from Benue, stated in part: “We members of the Benue State Caucus of the National Assembly as herein undersigned, having observed with great concern the crisis generated by the verbal attacks on the person and office of the Chairman, Benue State Council of Chiefs, the Tor Tiv, His Royal Majesty, Prof. James Ayatse, see the need to lend our voice on the matter.

“We state categorically that the Tor Tiv, as Chairman, Benue State Council of Chiefs, must be respected without any pre-conditions by all Benue sons and daughters regardless of their status and locations.

This is the practice with every African society, and ours should not under any circumstance be an exception.”

“It is, therefore, totally unacceptable for a Benue son and particularly a man who has occupied the highest positions of leadership in the state and beyond, to deliberately seek to denigrate the sanctity of the Tor Tiv institution.

“We find the recent uncomplimentary and derogatory remarks by Senator George Akume most unfortunate, noting that, if allowed to go unchecked, it would portend grave consequences not only on the image of Benue State but also would set negative precedence for the present and future generations.”

The members, who cautioned other elders who ordinarily should be looked up to as peace-makers in times such as this, but who opted to rather fuel the crisis for whatever reasons, further said: “We particularly view as highly condemnable, the comments by elder Simon Shango who lacks the integrity to comment on an issue that has the tendency to divide the state but chose to take sides with Akume in further castigating the Tor Tiv against whom he levied unfounded allegations of partisanship.

“We urge all Benue sons and daughters to uphold the cherished values of our state, prominent among which are respect for constituted authorities and elders, as well as the custodians of our cultural heritage – our traditional rulers.”


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