Leaders of Benue state’s three major tribes, under the aegis of the Mzough U Tiv, MUT, Ochetoha K’Idoma, OKI, and Omi Ny’ Igede, ONI, have decried recent killings in the state and thus called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a State of Emergency on security in the nation with immediate effect. Chief. Iorbee Ihagh, the leaders’ Chairperson and President General of Mzough U Tiv, World Wide, delivered the message on Monday in Makurdi, capital of the state.
He argues that the President have to take swift action because the people of the state have had it up to here with the savage murders of their loved ones at the hands of armed herdsmen. The leaders who have spoken out in response to the recent murders in various sections of the state have expressed concern that the violence in Benue state is gradually spiraling out of control. They pointed out that despite the fact that a President rules Nigeria, it doesn’t seem that way. Fulani herders reportedly murdered 86 people in Benue in only two days, and an estimated 120 people in the state over the period of a week.
IDP camps have been subject to violence at the hands of the herdsmen.
Chief. Ihagh said the President was being complacent with the state and not doing anything to protect its citizens. There have been too many killings, he continued, and every time our people are killed, the president releases a statement yet fails to act. Moreover, he said the Fulani are permitted to carry AK-47s for self-defense, but the farmers who are responsible for providing the food consumed in the nation are left unprotected and inevitably get murdered. Because of this, the market price of farm produce has become more costly than ever.
He further said that many residents of the state have been forced to flee their homes, and that even Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps have been subject to violence at the hands of the herdsmen. The Chairman once again reckoned that it is time for the President to declare a state of emergency on security with immediate effect saying the Fulani herdsmen spiral killings in the state are getting out of control. There are also factions out there that claim Nigeria as their own, but in reality, we are all Nigerians, he added.
Herders should be labeled as a terrorist group.
There is no time to waste when people are being slain every day, he says, therefore President Buhari should declare a state of emergency on security before the end of his administration. Chief. Ihagh expressed bewilderment over why the current government would take such a light hand in dealing with the herdsman’s disastrous operation across the nation, given that it was this same administration that labeled the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) a terrorist organization. As such, he claimed the herders should likewise be labeled a terrorist group.
On the other hand, he asked the government to fulfil the Vice President’s vow to grant funding worth N10 billion to aid the IDPs in resettling their various abodes during his visit to Benue state a few years ago. The leaders demanded that the Buhari government follow through on the promise before May 29th, when power would be transferred to the next administration. According to the chief, people in the state deserve the rights as Nigerian citizens since they are integral to the country’s fabric. “We also believe that their goal is to take over Benue territory, but we cannot accept that even if it means murdering all of us”, he stated in his statement.
Tribal leader urges ranching as primary method of animal husbandry.
To further alleviate the situation, the tribal leaders have requested that the federal government embrace ranching as the primary method of animal husbandry in the nation. As farmers, the driving force of the country’s agricultural production, are being murdered by herdsmen, the leaders argued that the government’s efforts to wean the economy off of oil-based by promoting agricultural production are futile. Also, they portend that the government’s efforts to promote food security is an improbable move, since they have failed to safeguard farmers who produce food for domestic use.