Gov Alia escapes alive

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The Governor of Benue State, Nirth Central Nigeria has escaped alive and unhurt Wednesday when some irate youths from the Ugondo extraction of Makurdi community pelted his convoy with stones and other objects while visiting Vaatia College to assess the level of arrangement for the burial of its proprietor, Engr. Michael Vaatia.

There are reports indicating that about six of the youths were arrested in connection with the attack.

Recall that the late Vaatia died a couple of days ago and planned to be buried today (Thursday) within the school premises but the plan sparked off a protest by the youths that he will not be buried there over alleged claims of being a settler.

The deceased hails from Vandeikya local government area where the governor also comes from.

Governor Alia’s Principal Special Assistant on Print Media, Mr. Donald Kumun, told newsmen that the hoodlums invaded the arena to disrupt proceedings ahead of the burial today.

There are reports  that the irate youths from the host community of Ugondu on Tuesday night allegedly invaded the school and desecrated the grave.

During the governor’s visit, the youths were chanting dirges when the governor was addressing leaders of the community in the school premises and disrupted proceedings while security escorts on the convoy of the governor tried tooth and nail to prevent them from accessing the school as some other top government functionaries on the entourage were trapped outside.

Sources said, the youths who were in large numbers, allegedly fired shots in the air to scare sympathisers, but a combined team of men of Operation Zenda, overpowered them as scores were arrested while others fled the scene.

Addressing leaders of the community Governor Alia warned against acts that seek to create acrimony and disunity in the state.

“I want to believe that the traditional and community leaders are not aware of what has happened. Surely, some youths arrested will make confessions and if they mention your names, be ready to go and answer”.

Governor Alia recalled that about a week ago, an Igbo man and one other person who died were buried in Makurdi town without protest from any youth group and called for calm.

The governor who later addressed students on the College campus, assured them of safety during and after the burial of their proprietor and directed the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations to ensure that peace prevailed for the wake keep and burial today.

Some political leaders and elder statesmen including Senators Daniel Saror and Fred Orti among other top personalities also witnessed the drama as the suspects were whisked away by the detachment of security forces.

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