Benue killings: Tribal leaders urge Presidential spokesman to retract his statement, apologize to grieving Benue families



Garba Shehu

By Peter Duru, Makurdi

The Chairman of Benue socio-cultural organisations and President General of Mzough U Tiv, MUT, worldwide, Chief Iorbee Ihagh has asked the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu to retract his recent statement vilifying Governor Ortom over his outburst on the recent attack on Abagena Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camp by suspected herdsmen.

Addressing the media Sunday in Makurdi, Chief Ihagh said the statement by the presidential aide which accused Governor Ortom of politicizing the killings in Benue state was tantamount to dancing on the graves of those who lost their lives in the ceaseless killings in the state.

Governor Ortom had after last Tuesday’s attack on the Abagena IDPs camp called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take steps to protect the lives and property of all Nigerians and stop giving people the impression that he had a special preference for Fulani herders.

The presidential spokesman had in a reaction on behalf of the President said among others that “the lives of fellow citizens should not be desecrated by deploying them in political diatribe which unfortunately appeared to be the intent of the string of emotional attacks and blame laid at the doors of the President for those killings by Governor Ortom.”

In his reaction to the statement by Mallam Shehu, Chief Ihagh said, “I must say without equivocation that this statement from the presidential aide has gone a long way to expose the hidden agenda and insensitivity of the Buhari led federal government.

“It is sad, to say the least, that the federal government has given us every reason to believe that it is complicit in the killings in Benue by herdsmen militia simply because we have a grazing law and our people rejected the RUGA and Cattle colony policy of the federal government.

“The fact that Mallam Shehu in that statement failed to reprove the masterminds of the attacks in Benue clearly exposed how our lives in this part of the country worth nothing to Mallam Shehu and those he works for.

“Shehu accusing Governor Ortom of politicizing the killings in Benue because he cried out, is tantamount to dancing on the graves of our murdered loved ones and it is totally unacceptable and we demand a retraction of that statement and an apology tendered to our people who are daily grieving the gruesome murder of their loved ones.

“We must remind this federal government that Nigerians are today in this security quagmire because the government openly gave its support to armed herdsmen while they slaughtered Nigerians in their ancestral homes all in a bid to take over our land.

“The armed herdsmen who carry AK47 all over the place in a bid to take over our land complemented that with kidnappings and robberies. And that grew into the monster we have today that is rocking the very foundation of this country.

“This government would not declare these armed herders as terrorists as proclaimed by the Global Index on Terrorism but an unarmed group like the IPOB was so declared a terrorist group and outlawed.

“That is the government we have in Nigeria. A government that has opened up our country to all Fulanis from all parts of African in order to chase us away from our ancestral land and take over the country. That is their agenda but I want to pass a message to them. They must realize that this is Nigeria where the will of God, even if its delays will eventually prevail.

“For us in Benue, we have resolved to stand by our Governor and our grazing law which we collectively asked for and we got from a listening administration led by Samuel Ortom.

“We are not against anyone engaging in animal husbandry in Benue but all we demand is that such should adhere strictly to the provisions of our law which is ranching and anything short of that will not be accepted by our people who are always ready to defend their land from a people who are on a mission to occupy Nigeria,” he added.

Vanguard News Nigeria 





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