The Ado Local Government Council of Benue State has cautioned youths in the area following protests against the Chairman of the area, James Oche.
The council warned that it would not condone any form of security threat to the people of the area.
No fewer than 30 people were murdered in cold blood due to communal clashes in Ado Local Government between the 9th and 10th of November, 2022.
The tragedy left a burden on the Executive Council and security agencies within the local government to act fast to forestall further breakdown of law and order and also apprehend the culprits.
To this end, the council urged security agents to act fast, and those arrested in connection with the situation will be dealt with.
A statement by the Security Secretary of Ado Local Government, Vincent Anma, said Oche would not interfere with the ongoing investigation.
The statement reads: “The attention of the Executive & Security Council of Ado Local Government Area of Benue State has been drawn to a protest allegedly carried out by purported youths of Ado Local Government together with women and masquerades decrying molestation of Ado youths on political grounds by Hon. James Oche, the Executive Chairman of Ado Local Government.
“Council similarly notes with great displeasure, sponsored publications being circulated to media houses targeted at the person and reputation of James Oche, the Executive Chairman of Ado Local Government by desperate politicians, particularly of the All Progressives Congress in Apa Ward of Ado Local Government.
“The Ado Local Government Security Council rising from its expanded meeting of Tuesday, wishes to state unequivocally that, it will not condone any form of security threat to the lives and properties of the people of the local government and similarly cannot be blackmailed not to leave up to its expectation in the area of security.
“Security agencies within the local government having been charged to act, undertook investigation and have made some arrests in connection with the crime.
“Those fingered irrespective of their affinity to the Executive Chairman will not be accorded preferential treatment and will have to answer the case against them. It is the position of council that, neither protests, litigation or petitions to security agencies will compel the chairman to act in a manner likely to interfere with the ongoing investigation of the death of over thirty indigenes of the local government.”
The council also cautioned youths hired to protest against the local government chairman.
It added: “Council admonishes the youths who for peanuts pecuniary benefits have been rented as hirelings to protest against the chairman to be weary of breakdown of law and order.
“Council is irritated by the fact that; these protesters did not receive the courage to protest the death of over 30 persons but have suddenly found their voice over the arrest of criminal suspects.
“The Ado Local Government Executive and Security Council note that some of the arrested suspects for which the hired protesters are in the street, have, before now, been on the wanted list of the police and the security council for sundry crimes and will have to face investigation or prosecution for the determination of their culpability or otherwise.
“Council notes that criminal investigation and possible prosecution of suspects are not the job prescription of the Local Government Chairman.”
The council dismissed claims of political insinuations regarding those arrested in connection with the killings.
It urged youths not to allow themselves become tools used by politicians from the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the area.
“Council finds it unreasonable that, political insinuations are being raised over the arrest of suspects in connection with the deaths of persons whose political affinity was not known. Council further wishes to caution youths in Apa Ward of Ado Local Government not to be willing tools in the hands of politicians, especially members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) within the ward who may, out of desperation seek to engage them for acts that may trigger criminality.
“Council notes that, to substantiate its status as a rented crowd, the protesters also ignorantly engaged purported masquerades, a combination alien to the Ado culture as traditional and youth activities like protest have nothing in common,” it added.
The Council reaffirms its commitment to fighting insecurity and “will not, no matter what, be militated or blackmailed into giving to political inclinations or insinuations, as insecurity and politics must never be mixed in the interest of the generality of the people.”
The Council urged the people to remain law abiding, peaceful and to go about their normal businesses as security agencies within the local government are now than ever ready to contain any security challenges should the need be.