Prominent indigenes of Kwande Local Government Area of Benue State, have dissociated themselves from Professor Steve Ugbah and Wantaregh Paul Unongo’s positions on the killing of Mr. Charles Ayede and April governorship poll in the state.
Ugbah, the defeated Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, governorship candidate in the election and his nephew, Unongo, hitherto a Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, chieftain, had claimed that Governor Gabriel Suswam had a hand in Ayede’s murder and that the PDP lost the governorship election to the ACN.
But, Professor John Sambe of the Benue State University; Chief Terlumun Akputu, transition committee chairman; Basil Kwembe, Special Adviser on security to the governor; Mrs. Margaret Icheen, former speaker of the state Assembly; Moses Gbande, former member of the House of Representatives; Bern Dzoho, state PDP secretary; Geoffrey Ahobee, state PDP chairman; among others from the area, have rejected the claims.
The indigenes, including traditional rulers, youths and women leaders, retired senior civil servants and others holding top positions in government, in a briefing at the NUl House, Makurdi, said what was worrisome to them was the likelihood of the statements made by the duo triggering violence, mayhem, hatred and acrimony in the local government area.
They said a day after U gbah addressed a press conference, “a group of irate ACN youths in Ajio, Shangev-ya, apparently incited by the statement of Professor Ugbah, burnt down houses ofPDP loyalists in Shangev-ya district including the house of one Torkwase Malu.”
According to them, the governorship candidate, in his claims at the press conference, constituted the accuser, the prosecutor, and judge returning a verdict of guilty on Suswam over the death of Ayede as well as guilty verdict against INEC regarding his loss at the election.
Akputu spoke on behalf of himself and others at the conference.