Saturday, 6 January 2018

BENUE KILLINGS: INVASION, NOT COMMUNAL CLASH


We find the statement made by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris that the renewed killings of innocent people in Benue State is a result of 'communal clashes'.



The statement is not only misleading but also makes mockery of the souls of children, pregnant women, old men and youths of the state murdered in cold blood by armed Fulani herdsmen in the last few days.


The facts on the ground do not indicate clash between any two groups within Benue State but rather a well planned and foretold unprovoked invasion by a group that had vowed to resist the anti-open grazing law. 


It can be recalled that when the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, signed the law on May 22nd, 2017, officials of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore came out publicly to state that they would mobilize and invade the state to resist the law.

They said the crisis in Benue was a struggle for natural resources since their coming to the Benue Valley predated the present inhabitants.
This position was widely published by the media across the globe.

Moreover, the Benue State Governor, the Speaker of the State Assembly, as well as we leaders of socio-cultural organizations in the state wrote several letters about the threats to the Presidency, the Inspector General of Police and all the relevant security agencies calling for the arrest of leaders of the association who made the threat.
This development was also widely publicised.


As the chief police officer in the country, we expected the Inspector General to have a better grasp of the facts of the attacks on Benue people carried out by rampaging Fulani herdsmen from this background.


If he was quoted correctly, we hope his comments are not part of the grand strategy to misinform Nigerians about the true identities of those behind the recent killing of Benue people in Logo and Guma Local Government Areas.


Perhaps one pertinent question to ask the Inspector General is which communities in Benue State were involved in the clashes?


The Nigerian Police is currently prosecuting six herdsmen in Benue State who are suspected to be among perpetrators of the recent killings. It is therefore a contradiction that the Inspector General chose to absolve the herdsmen of culpability in the same crime for which they are being prosecuted by the police?


It is also contradictory that the Inspector General of Police has ordered ongoing investigation into the killings but has jumped to the conclusion that the situation is communal crisis.


We restate our call on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct security agencies to arrest and prosecute the National President of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Abdullahi Bello Bodejo and the group's National Secretary, Saleh Alhassan who had repeatedly threatened to mobilize their members across the country to resist implementation of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law enacted by Benue State.


With his comments, the Inspector General of Police seems to be in agreement with the conspiracy of the Fulani leaders and their position about the crisis in Benue State.


However, Benue people are law-abiding and have remained so even in the face of frequent unprovoked attacks by Fulani herdsmen. We therefore expect the Inspector General of Police to, in the spirit of peace-building, retract the statement to correct the wrong impression it has created.


Chief Edward Ujege
President General, Mdzough u Tiv
January 6, 2018.

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