…Calls for Arrest of Assembly Member
Worried by the surge in indiscriminate killings and wantom destruction of property in the Sankera axis of Benue state following the military elimination of the dreaded criminal Terwase Akwaza AKA GANA, a pressure group, Middle Belt Youth Diaspora Forum has called for the arrest of Hon Jonathan Agbidye, the member representing Katsina Ala East state constituency in the Benue state House of Assembly.
The group in a petition to security agencies, maintained that independent investigations it carried out has revealed complicity of the Assembly member in the ongoing killings of military personnel and locals in the area.
Recall that Hon Jonathan Agbidye is currently facing charges for possession of a car belonging to the late slain wife of a High Court judge in the state who was kidnapped and killed by the militia some two years ago.
The group in a statement signed by Fred Agba, convener of the group said it uncovered the Assembly member’s links with the militia after credible preliminary findings and have deposed an affidavit in support of its claims.
“Independent forensic analysis of telephone conversations as obtained by the group from telecommunications companies indicates that the militia in sankera alongside with Hon Jonathan Agbidye have been deeply involved in the persistent insecurity in the area.
The group further accused Hon Jonathan Agbidye of serially making funds available to the militia at various intervals, the most recent of which was uncovered after the militia attacked army personnel and sympathisers at a burial of a community leader, Hon Francis Zaaya on January 29, 2021 in Katsina Ala Local Government.
It also revealed that following a gun battle with the dreaded criminal militia and the army personnel at the burial of Hon Francis Zaaya, were two of the criminal militia were neutralized. It averred that a certain community mobilizer, the APC ward chairman in the area popularly known as Agyara provided prior information and logistics to the criminal militia including his car for the attack on sympathisers at the burial. Hon Jonathan Agbidye was also fingered to have made funds available to the militia for the same attack. Sources revealed.
“We have in our custody recordings of the assembly members vilification of the military at the burial in the wake of the attack” this is most regrettable.
“Hon Agbidyes reaction to the shooting incident at the burial where he openly condemned the military for engaging the militia is an affront on the military and security efforts of the state government.
“We wonder why a supposedly serving representative of the people would openly embolden criminals in that regard.
“Recall that the militia had attacked the local government chairman’s residence on december 24,2020 and killed 5 people including security personnel”, the statement noted.
The group commended the security agencies, particularly the Nigerian Army and called for more military presence in the area.
“We have in our custody evidence of phone conversations, video and audio recordings and other complicity indeces all traced to the assembly member and this is our justification for the call for his arrest”
“For lasting peace to return to Sankera, drastic measures must be taken against people who are fingered by independent intelligence reports and findings”
The group said it was open to aid the prosecution of individuals sustaining insecurity in Sankera axis for political gains so as to find lasting peace in the area.
It called for the immediate arrest of the assembly member for questioning by security authorities.
But, reacting during a telephone conversation, Hon. Agbidye distanced himself from the allegations saying they were mere political witch-hunt.
He noted that all the attacks started immediately he won his election into the parliament, noting that he had taken a lot of initiatives to ensure that his constituents enjoy peace and tranquility while those who raise allegations against him were merely being used to keep him out of the 2023 elections.
On alleged funding of the militia, Agbidye wondered why some individuals would imagine him doing such when he had channeled the little resources that get to him to development projects for the benefit of his constituents such as building bridges, sinking boreholes, church roofing and so on, noting that he lacked the financial capacity to fund a militia group.