-2 Mopols killed 15 hours to president’s visit Makurdi
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, said he was genuinely worried about the killings in Benue state, assuring that his administration would not deliberately overlook the security situation in the state.
Buhari, who spoke at the stakeholders’ meeting with various groups in the state, said he was doing his best to end insecurity and stop the killings.
The meeting, which was part of efforts to find lasting solution to the incessant attacks and killings, was held at the Benue People’s House, Makurdi.
Speaking at the meeting, President Buhari urged residents of the state to exercise restraint and live amicably with their neighbours.
On his directive that Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim K. Idris, should relocate to the state, the president said he was not aware that the directive was not complied with.
President Buhari noted that the order he gave to IGP was a direct one and ought to have been have obeyed, adding that he was hearing of the incident the first time at the meeting.
The president said it was not right for him to expose the inefficiency of people working with him publicly.
“I want to appeal to the representatives of various constituencies to appeal to their people to apply restraint because, even after government, these farmers and herders can still live together.
We, as a government, we are doing our best to ensure that economic, security sand the fight for corruption improve”, he added.
Buhari also said he would only respond to some of the requests made by the people of the state when he returned to Benue during campaign.
He also told the gathering that under his watch, Nigeria had reduced importation of rice by 90 percent, noting that many states of the federation were now involved in massive rice cultivation.
Governor Ortom’s requests Earlier, Governor Samuel Ortom, had appealed to President Buhari to upgrade the Exercise Ayem Akpatuma to Operation to enable security agencies chase away the killer-herdsmen from the state.
He said, “this will help the Internally Displaced Persons return home, and continue with their farming activities.
’If the exercise is upgraded to operation, it will assist greatly in ending the incessant attacks and senseless killings by herdsmen.
” While reiterating his call for the arrest of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore leadership whom, he said was responsible for the killings, the governor insisted that ranching as the best global best practice, remains the way out of the herders, farmers’ conflict.
Making other requests, the governor called on the federal government to take over the management of the Benue University Teaching Hospital, College of Education Katsina-Ala and Benue Polytechnic.
Tor Tiv cautions service chiefs Also in his remarks, the Tor Tiv Ochivirigh, Professor James Ayatse, called on the re- designing of security architecture in the country to involve state and traditional rulers who are closer to the people.
His majesty expressed dismay over responses of some service chiefs in the country on security issues, saying, people in such positions should restrain in making statements that can trigger crises, especially as they relate to security.
Miyetti Allah denies killings Also speaking, the Miyetti Allah leadership denied any involvement in the incessant killings, while the farmers appealed to President Buhari to take steps to end the killings.
Their position was made known by the state Chairman, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Shettima Mohammed.
Rather, Mohammed blamed the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore (MAKH), stressing that MACBAN is peaceloving, while the MAKH has violent disposition.
He said his association had always appreciated peaceful and harmonious co-existence between farmers and herdsmen.
The MACBAN leader also called on all stakeholders to support the government to achieve peace.
Groups’ demands Groups, who were in attendance at the meeting, also expressed their various positions over the killings in the state.
Also speaking the Benue Joint Socio-cultural Group, comprising Mzough U-Tiv, Idoma National Forum and Omi Ny Igede disclosed that herdsmen attacks in Benue state predate the anti-grazing law which bans open-grazing of cattle in the state.
The group, led by Mr. Edward Ujege, alleged that the attacks date back to eight years.
Ujege said former Governor Gabriel Suswam was once a victim of the attacks.
Suswam, according to Ujege, was attacked as governor, in broad daylight in 2014.
He also appealed to President Buhari to find a lasting solution to the killings of Benue people.
Representative of the Civil Society Organisations, Josephine Haba, said she was not only disappointed by the visit of the president, but confused.
“How can a president come to a state where scores of people were killed without consoling or condemning the attack? This is a slap to our faces.
Look at the Okpokwu massacre victims yet to be buried, no consolation words from the president, it is a shame.
” Also speaking, President of Peasant Farmers in Nigeria, Chief Terlumun Akputu, disclosed that over 160,000 famers were displaced, attributing the inability of farmers to defend themselves during the attack by herdsmen to the governor’s amnesty programme.
With the approach of rain, Akputu appealed to the president to compensate and rebuild the homes of the displaced farmers to enable them return to farm.
Two Mopols felled ahead visit Meanwhile, there are reports that two mobile policemen were on Sunday night, killed by suspected herders ahead of the president’s visit, in Tse Oragbo in Guma local government area of the state.
The attackers twisted the necks of the affected cops, who were part of the police special forces drafted to maintain peace in the troubled areas of Guma.
Blueprint gathered that the two security men were killed between 7pm and 8pm.
Governor Ortom, who confi rmed the incident while speaking at the stakeholders’ meeting yesterday in People House, lamented the killings in the state.
Ortom alleged that the herdsmen attacking Benue may be working with the terrorist Boko Haram group.
He noted that killing of the mobile policemen has increased the number of security men killed in the past two months in the state to thirteen.
Chairman of Guma local government area, Mr. Anthony Shawon, said the two policemen were ambushed and killed during a routine patrol of the troubles areas.
He said it was unfortunate that herdsmen were killing security agents sent to maintain peace in the area.
Shawon noted that the remains of the slain victims were recovered and deposited at the Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi.
Police spokesperson, Benue state Police Command, Moses Yamu, when contacted over the incident, referred our correspondent to the Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni.
But when contacted, the CP responded thus: “I am busy now, can you please call me later?” The CP, as at press time, did not respond to text message from Blueprint.