Officers and men of the Benue state command of the Nigeria Police on Friday dispersed youths in Makurdi, in the bid to stop them from carrying out their planned protest over the verbal attack of the Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Senator George Akume on the Tor Tiv, His Royal Majesty (HRM), Orchivirigh Prof. James Ayatse.
Six out of the youths that came in their hundreds to protest the “uncomplimentary remark” of Senator Akume on the Tor Tiv were also arrested in the process.
The police also seized and carted away placards they forcefully retrieved from the youths.
The policemen who stormed J. S Tarka foundation, the venue of the programme in four Hilux trucks had rushed at the youths who scampered in different directions, thus bringing about confusion.
Some of the policemen had also physically assaulted some reporters covering the programme, among them the cameramen of Channels TV and African Independent Television (AIT).
It was gathered that the police had argued that the youth organisation was not given a permit to hold the protest.
However, we had earlier sighted a van owned by the State Security Service (SSS) at the venue of the event.
On inquiry, we learnt that the SSS had granted the protesters permit to hold the protest.
The youths under the aegis of Tiv Youths Organisation (TYO), worldwide, however went ahead and submitted the protest letter to the Mzough U Tiv (MUT) to call Senator Akume to order for insulting the paramount ruler of the Tiv nation.
The TYO President, Timothy Hembaor, who spoke at the occasion said, “We have come out in our strength to register our displeasure and protests over the attack of a supposed Tiv son against no less an institution and person of the Begha-u-Tiv, HRM, Professor James Ayatse.”
He explained that “On the 28th of December 2019, a Tiv son in the person of the serving Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, stood in Gboko and spat demeaning words against the stool of the Tor Tiv and its occupant, the Begha-u-Tiv, Professor James Ortese Ayatse, whom he described in unprintable terms.”
He observed that the 7-day ultimatum issued to Senator Akume to retract the statement and issue a public apology to the royal father elapsed on the 4th of January 2020.
The placards carried the inscriptions, “Tiv Youths say no to insults on Tor Tiv; “Tor Tiv is symbol of Tiv identity; “Akume must apologize to Tiv nation for insulting Tor Tiv” among others.
The youths vowed that they would stoutly resist such attacks on the paramount ruler.