From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
A group under the aegis of Benue Alliance for Truth and Justice has described the statement credited to Bauchi State Governor, Sen. Bala Mohammed that herdsmen carry arms to defend themselves as provocative and an insult to the sensibilities of the people of Benue and Nigeria.
The group, which stated this while addressing newsmen in Makurdi on Friday berated the Bauchi governor for supporting Fulani herdsmen to be carrying AK47 assault riffles while herding their cattle.
National President of the group, Peter Shande Esq lamented that the herdsmen atrocities have spread from Benue to Plateau, Taraba, Nasarawa, Katsina, Sokoto, Ogun, Zamfara, Ondo, Ekiti and the entire South Eastern States.
The youths also vehemently objected to the allegation that Samuel Ortom is the author of crises affecting Fulani people in the country, describing it as outright falsehood.
“What Governor Ortom has been saying about the Fulani killer herders is the truth. We do not write the news but we have heard and seen on television, read in the newspapers how the Fulani herdsmen have continued to terrorise communities in the country.
“This is the reason why they have been given marching orders from the South West. It took the intervention of the Governors of Kano, Kebbi and Zamfara States to join their South West counterparts to find a political solution to the quit order.
The group lamented that the Fulani herdsmen atrocities have spread from Benue to Plateau, Taraba, Nasarawa, Katsina, Sokoto, Ogun, Zamfara, Ondo, Ekiti and the entire South Eastern States.
The group also condemned the demands by the Salihu Mohammed led Arewa Youths for Peace and Development that Governor Ortom should apologize to his Bauchi State counterpart.
Shade opined that the Fulani menace has dominated the six years Governor Ortom has spent as the Governor of Benue State adding that the situation had made him (Ortom) to bury more citizens killed by the Fulani than all the past administrations put together.
“The invasion by the Fulani herdsmen on Benue communities is more horrendous than the killings in Zaki Biam, by the military under the regime of President Olusegun Obasanjo. The gravity of the Fulani menace even made former President Obasanjo to visit, condole and commiserate with the people of the state.
“We are therefore not concerned from where the leaders of Arewa Youths for Peace and Development come from, but for us in Benue, this carnage has been with us over the years. It became more alarming as it appeared to be an annihilation of the people.
“And from 2017, Governor Samuel Ortom alerted President Buhari over the threats expressed by Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria.
“This alert through official correspondences and visits to the presidency fell on deaf ears. Following agitations from the people of the state, Governor Ortom went further to enact the law prohibiting Open Grazing in July 2017 as a way of giving legal cover to the efforts of the state government to contain the menace.
“The leadership of the Fulani organisations threatened to wreck havoc on the state if the law was not repealed. Since then, their members have continued to cause mayhem to our people, killing, maiming and raping our mother’s and daughters at will.
“The Arewa Youth Group is as unpatriotic in their actions as their intent to cast aspersions on Governor Ortom have turned out to be. It is a fact that the federal government has been lenient towards the criminal Fulani herdsmen and their leadership.
“This is a band of terrorists gang that has held Nigeria to ransom, raping, burning and killing citizens and none has been apprehended and prosecuted. To make matters worse, they are now arm-twisting the federal government to grant them amnesty. For what? These are the same groups of people Governor Bala Mohammed is encouraging to carry dangerous weapons to continue to kill our people. We cannot therefore sit back and watch.
“Truth be told, there’s no patriotism, nationalism or even fair mindedness how the Bauchi governor accused Governor Samuel Ortom of instigating the country against the killer herdsmen. There’s no truth whatsoever in this,” the group posited.