That we may live in peace in own state — Press Release
1. It is no longer news that Benue State has continued to be the target for Fulani herdsmen, overtaking communities, killing and raping, destroying and occupying territories. Over the years, the Benue people have handled this unwarranted provocation with commendable maturity and respect for the rule of law. Indeed ‘‘we have protested, we have stopped eating beef, we have held press conferences, we have passed a law banning open grazing, we have offered our land as pilot ranches, we have established livestock crops, we have purged ourselves of cattle rustlers, we have reported to the President, we have taken them to court, we have done every legal thing possible to do yet to no avail’’.
2. In all of this, the President of Nigeria, President Mohammadu Buhari, has maintained a decisive silence. A silence many people in Benue see as perhaps some conspiracy with the Fulani herdsmen who are rightly his kinsmen and he the life grandpatron to the cattle breeders’ association.
3. Just yesterday, communities in Guma and Logo LGAs were again attacked by organized Fulani herdsmen in a well-coordinated attack. Scores of helpless Benue people were killed in the most barbaric manner possible, even worse than how they kill their cattle. Gory pictures have continued to flood the social media spaces as trucks and trucks bring in the dead, the battered and the wounded to the state teaching hospital.
4. The Benue people have declared in one accord, from the governor of the state to the common man on the street. The unprovoked and continuous killing of Benue people on Benue soil IS NOT ACCEPTABLE and MUST BE STOPPED IMMEDIATELY. The President of Nigeria has disappointedly been silent inferring that maybe the continuous killing of Benue people is a well-planned agenda that have received the signature and blessings of the highest authority in the land, his.
5. To sooth the hearts of Benue people, we are calling on President Buhari to go beyond talk and deploy the military with the right orders just as he did in the Niger Delta and in Abia in operation crocodile smile and operation python dance to immediately arrest the situation and bring culprits to book. Maybe an operation ‘cobra hiss’ or ‘tiger frown’ targeted at the killer Fulani herdsmen will tell us he considers our welfare as important.
6. We also collectively demand for a joint military taskforce to be set up in 24 hours to deal with this menace. If military taskforces can be set up to tackle cattle rustling, surely the protection of lives should not be a problem.
7. We condemn the action of security personnel who chose to use force, shooting at innocent, unarmed citizens who are exercising their constitutional rights. Today, we see military helicopters, armoured tanks and heavy security gear being to disperse peaceful protesters. As ‘‘bloody civilians’’ indeed, we think this kind of security hardware will be more useful in combating the killer herdsmen not against unarmed civilians. This too, we are curious.
8. We would continue to mourn our dead, attended to our battered and wounded.
Though the giants may be on our way to hinder, God will surely give us victory.
Signed by the good people of Benue State.