Group Wants Northern Govs To Apologise To Benue Over Their Mock Visit
The group known as Benue Advancement Forum, (BAF), has described the visit of some northern Governors to the State, three weeks after the killing of 73 innocent people by Fulani herdsmen, as belated and a mockery on the State demanding that they tender an unreserved apology.
The group led by its Chairman, Professor David Iornem, stated this during a press conference in Makurdi on Saturday, saying “they should rather tender an apology for wasting our time. we do not see any genuine intentions in their visit after saying we are politicizing the killings”.
In an address presented by its Deputy Chairman, Professor Jerry Agada, BAF said their visit was face- saving and wondered why it took the northern Governors a long time to pay a condolence visit on their colleague who lost many lives in one attack, adding that it was equally curious that the visit of the Governors came only after a delegation of Afenifere, Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, South South and Middle Belt socio-cultural groups had visited Benue to commiserate with the government and people of the State.
BAF condemned the herdsmen attacks on children, women and defenceless people in Guma and Logo and also faulted the silence of President Muhammadu Buhari over the killings, urging him to arrest those behind the genocide and declare herdsmen as a terrorist organization.
“BAF will also want to state that we do not trust the intentions of the Federal Government in sending troops to Benue even as the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari has not come out clearly to support the anti-open grazing law in Benue. It seems that President Buhari’s Government does not believe that Benue State House of Assembly has any right to make laws that are acceptable and beneficial to protect the interest of Benue citizens”, the group stated.
They said the number of attacks on Benue so far shows it is a genocidal and callous attempt to wipe off the Benue People for the purpose of taking over their land, Islamizing the population and converting same to a herdsmen/cattle colony.
“BAF would want the world to take note of this consistent provocation which has infringed on our loved ones and destroyed farmland and properties worth several billions thereby causing more economic hardship on our people and depleting our economy.
“Having considered the extent of damage and time this cruel and gruesome murders has lasted and the lackluster response of the president Muhammudu Buhari led Federal Government, we are compelled to believe that this criminal element enjoy the support of the President Muhammadu Buhari led Government.
They urged Governor Ortom to remain courageous and firm as he has been on the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law which it described as the best solution to lasting peace in the country.
“We want to advice further that Benue State already has a law regulating livestock farming and we do not have need of any other law that seeks to introduce the idea of cattle colonies, which will be counterproductive and extremely dangerous in these times when the menace of insurgency is at its peak. Herdsmen/cattle colonies will only provide a safe haven for insurgents and open doors to the likes of Alshabab and other terrorist group who have been seeking hostage.
“No Local Government in Benue State has even 2000 plot of land to offer not to talk of 50,000 plot of plan (5000 hectares) which the Federal Government requires for the purpose of establishing colonies.
According to them, Benue Advancement Forum is an interventionist and advocacy group, and will not sit down to watch herdsman who are actually invaders partners with any government or persons to destroy our common wealth and source of economic independence which is agriculture.
“We have died and are not afraid of dying again; we would rather die than have our land and heritage taken away from us.”, they added.
The group commend the National Assembly and other Socio-cultural groups including Afenifere, Ohaneze, Ndigbo, Middle-Belt forum and the south-South for their alliance and solidarity with the people of the State.
Also speaking, the Secretary of the group, Bishop Chivir Chianson and a member of the geoup, Mr Bem Dzoho stated that Benue state will support restructuring of the country as the presidential system of government being practiced by Nigeria is very expensive and vulnerable to a lot of corruption.
They advocated for Nigeria to revert to the old parliamentary system which is cheap and less cumbersome.
Bishop Chianson said the Northern Governors, Kashim Ibrahim, Nasir El’Rufai, Yahaya Bello, Mohammed Abubakar and the others who visited Benue last week, must appologise for saying that Benue is politicizing the attacks.
It could be recalled that Governor Samuel Ortom has reassured Benue people that there was no going back on the implementation of the ranching law, adding that the State did what was the right step towards ending frequent invasion of communities and killing of innocent people by herdsmen.
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