Buhari Visits Benue, Shuns Grave Of Victims, IDPs
Three months after 73 people and 91 other people were brutally murdered in Benue state by Fulani herdsmen, President Mohammadu Buhari has visited the state but shunned visiting the tombs of the victims.
Buhari who was also billed to visit one of the Internally Displaced Persons, (IDPs) camp in Gbajimba, Guma LGA, to see first hand the plight of the victims of the attacks, also did not go there. Instead, he headed straight to the airport from where he left back to Abuja.
The itinerary earlier released by the state government had it that Mr. President would visit the the Tor Tiv, HRH Prof, James Ayatse, in his palace in Gboko, go to one of the IDPs camps in Gbajimba and the exercise Ayem AKpatuma formation in Gbajimba but Buhari cancelled those tours and no reason was given for the cancellations.
The President had come to sympathise with the governmen and people of the State over recent killings by herdsmen, but again, none of his statements showed he has sympathy for all that happened as many stakeholders complained bitterly about his speech.
Addressing a meeting of stakeholders at Government House Makurdi, President Buhari urged farmers and herdsmen to learn to live in peace with one another by sustaining the peaceful tradition handed down to them by their ancestors.
In his words, “Myself, Governor Ortom and other elected leaders will go but the relationship between farmers and herders will continue. It behoves on us to keep encouraging ourselves to continue to live together peacefully.”
President Buhari who appealed to all to apply more restraints and respect for one another said “Ortom has succeeded passing the bulk on me. I have heard all the speech. I have made notes. Loyalty is a two way traffic. As leaders, we have to be loyal to people below us. What I did was to call the IGP and gave him directive to come to Benue, I didn’t know he didn’t stay here”.
Continuing, Buhari said “I have friends from here and there is no way I can deliberately overlook what is happening here and other parts of the country. I’m very loyal to people downstairs. Security, economy and corruption were the bases of our campaigns not forgetting rural development. We will make sure we keep empowering farmers and we will cut down importation of rice by 90 percent”.
Earlier, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom had told Presisent Buhari that since the mass burial of 73 persons, 65 more have been killed in Guma and Logo LGA since after then, while 26 more were killed in Okpokwu with over 5000 displaced in Mbatoho community.
According to him, “170,000 people live in eight displaced person’s camps across the state and 60 percent of IDPs who are school children are out of school. Yesterday, two police officers were killed in Guma and others are still living under siege”.
He urged the federal government to compensate the people who were displaced just as he called on the President to upgrade the Exercise Ayem A Kpatuma to an operation expressing hope that the exercise if upgraded will help in tracking down herdmen and militiamen that are causing havoc in the state.
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