“There is a fundamental problem, a dislocation in the security system in the nation and something must be urgently done to change the situation.
“We need an overhaul of the basic security organisation in the country which is the police.
“When you hear the Inspector General speaks you know clearly that that organisation is not in position to do what it is supposed to do.
“This is because an Inspector General of Police should be more matured than the one who is there now.
“It is very clear to everybody because when he hears about a problem he goes on the national television without going there to see what it is before commenting.
“That is unprofessional” he said.
Minister of Defense, Dan Ali Mansur, in another comment on the killings said, herdsmen were attacking Benue because of the Anti-Open Grazing Law.
The Minister attributed the blockage of grazing routes across the country as the remote cause of recent killings, especially in Benue and Taraba states.
He also identified the implementation of anti – grazing law in Benue state as the immediate cause of the killings.
The same minister also said terrorists of Islamic state in West Africa were operating in Benue.
Conspiracy theory Delay in visit of the President to Benue, coupled with comments by the security chiefs in Buhari’s government over the killings made the people of the state view the insecurity in Benue as a conspiracy.
While this was going on, Killings of the local farmers and even security men continued in the state.
Barely a week before the visit of the president, herdsmen launched an offensive on Omusu, in Okpokwu local government area of Benue state and killed about 26 persons.
The victims of the attack were mostly children and women.
As usual they left traces of blood and ruins.
The victims were hacked to death by herdsmen all in one fell swoop on Monday 5th March, 2018 at Omusu Edumoga-Ehaje in Okpokwu local government area of Benue state.
Eye Witness An eye witness, who was trapped in his room, said the merchants of death had struck at 5.
30pm on that ill-fated day and left few minutes past 6pm, leaving in their trail streams of sorrows, tears, blood and, of course, scores of slain men, women and children.
The eyewitness, Peter Ojobo, said he survived the attack by the grace of God.
Ortom Bemused? Again, Governor Ortom, visited Omusu and described the killings as a highest level of inhumanity.
Ortom said the law must take its course maintaining that the perpetrators must be brought to book.
“This is unacceptable and the highest level of injustice on our people.
How can anyone just wake up and kill 26 persons in one day? “What has the seven and 11 years old do to warrant this treatment? How can a 70 years old rustle cattle? “Cattle rustling is done by professional cattle rearers who in this case are still herdsmen.
“This law was meant to protect both herdsmen and farmers and is the only solution to the herdsmen/farmers crisis.
“When Zamfara enacted sharia law those who could not obey it left the place without causing any problems.
Why is the Benue case different? “If we go by what the minister of Defense Dan Ali Mansur said, that these are foreign herdsmen, why should we leave our borders porous to allow herdsmen come into the country to kill our people.
“This is not right.
The law must be respected.
“In Benue we believe in rule of law and that is why instead of taking laws into our hands resort to enacting the law prohibiting open grazing which also provides for establishment of ranches,” he said.
Visit, protest and comments But as the President fi nally visited Benue, there was silent protest by the people over what they termed: belated visit.
Majority of Benue people our reporter spoke to, had thought the president was in the state to mock them.
The people therefore staged a peaceful protest and shunned the fanfares that usually herald the visit of any president.
Instead of welcome billboards, people carried placard calling for the President Buhari’s resignation if he is unable to end killings in Benue.
Family members of some of those killed in the New Year Day attacks staged a peaceful protest in front of the meeting venue.
Members of the yet to be legalised Peace Corps, also, were at the Government House, demanding the president to give assent to the bill establishing Peace Corps.
At the stakeholders meeting, some of the speakers including Ortom called on Buhari to end the killings in the state.
One of the speakers, General Atom Kpera (rtd), told Buhari that he knew him to be a man of swift action.
His words: “You swiftly directed the IGP to Benue but the IGP did not do the work you sent him.
“He stayed for less than 24 hours in Benue and relocated to Nasarawa and then said what he saw was a mere communal clash.
“Few days later, his men were killed too.
“I know you have other sources of intelligence, please, have a second thought on what IGP told you.
“We were happy when you sent Exercise Ayem Akpatuma.
“We thought their coming was to come and relieve us of our pains and get our killers.
“But, the killings persist.
” Another stakeholder who spoke on behalf of over 2 million Peasant farmers in Benue, Chief Terlumun Akputu, wondered how Buhari ,who is a member of farmers constituency and a product of the masses, would allow international cattle merchants to come down to the Benue valley to sack the people from their ancestral home.
Akputu said the carnage was unacceptable and urged President Buhari to issue a presidential order, read a riot act so that peace will return to allow IDPs to go back home.
The state Chairman of CAN, Rev Akpen Leva, told the President that there was too much bloodshed in Nigeria, under this administration, and that the president must act fast before the situation went out of hand.
He added: “More than 500 churches have been destroyed in the state and we are demanding for adequate compensation to rebuild the churches.
“Your advisers should give you good advice.
“The only thing that will bring peace is for all to obey the laws of the land.
” But President Buhari while responding asked the people to exercise restraint and learn to live with others in peace.
Buhari also said he would only respond to some of the request made by the people of the state when he returned to Benue during campaign.
But after the president came and left the question is what do people of Benue stand to benefit.
A respondent, Samuel Terkaa, and Makurdi resident asked while speaking to Blueprint: Will the visit mark the end of the killings in the state? Will the Internally Displaced Persons return home? He said he was not excited about the President’s visit and had a strong belief that the president was no longer fi t to continue in that position.
How can the President said, he was not aware that the IGP flaunted his order when the issue was everywhere in papers? Terkaa queried.
“I feel the President is not sincere with the Benue people.
If he is why can’t our people return home? Why are we still killed with the presence of Ex Ayem A Akpatema” he questioned.
Another resident, James Ogaba, said he had nothing to do with the President’s visit, having lost three members of his family in the Agatu attacks by the herdsmen.
“Was it not just few days ago that people were killed in Omusu, the herdsmen? “Those people killed are still in the mortuary waiting for burial this week Thursday.
“What surprises me is the president didn’t find it necessary to condole with the people of the state on the senseless killings carried by the herdsmen.
“We are just waiting for 2019’” he stated.