BUHARI FAILS TO VISIT BENUE OVER BREAKOUT OF VIOLENCE
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, did not visit the troubled areas in the Benue State, North-Central Nigeria after an outbreak of violence between local farmers and migrant Fulani herdsmen claimed more than 140 lives and properties damaged between the New Year eve and on the January 1st.
Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom had expressed frustration over the killing, stating that citizens could take laws into their own hands if the government fails to act fast.
Full blown violence erupted on Wednesday when indigenes of the affected areas protested, condemning Buhari for not taking swift action against perpetrators of the violence.
It was expected that that Buhari might visit the troubled parts to assure them of safety and decisive actions to stop further violence in the region. Instead, Buhari appeared in Kaduna State where he commissioned a train tranche.
Many have condemned the President for not taking the lives and properties of the affected people seriously. However, Buhari had directed that soldiers should be deployed in the areas, a situation which was reported to have led to some deaths when soldiers shot at protesting youths.
Farmers-herders crisis in Benue state and some other Northern States like Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarrawa, Taraba among others have been pronounced and government has been called upon to apply a lasting solution to them.
The latest of the crisis between migrant Fulani-herdsmen and Benue State locals happened on the new year eve when predominantly Christian population of Logo and Guma Local Government Areas (LGA) of the state were in churches to usher in the new year. Then the herdsmen invaded five communities killing over 140 persons and leaving many others wounded.
History of the crisis is that the migrating herdsmen want to settle in the Benue communities. And the only way to do that is to displace the original settlers in the areas.
The invaders struck the unsuspecting communities from around 3:00 a.m and killed and destroyed everything on sight till around 10. am on the New Year.
The Governor of the state , Samuel Ortom, who according to Nigeria’s constitution is the Chief Security Officer of the state said he could no longer assure of security of lives and properties. Ortom said called on the Federal Government to address the crisis urgently, else, the state might be at war.
“This is not fair. This is not right, and we cannot accept it. We may continue to be law-abiding but there is a limit to how far we could go. The Federal Government must arise to this challenge and give us protection, to show that truly we are also citizens of this country.
“We are living in a country we call our own, yet this kind of thing is happening. The security agencies are aware of what you are seeing today and this is just a tip of the iceberg. What happened, from the report I have received, is far beyond what you have seen here. So many houses have been burnt. So many people have been killed. Some are still missing. Can you imagine innocent children and women being killed and their private parts removed? People were slaughtered like animals”, the governor said.