From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
A group, 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, 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 was 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 they have been given marching orders from the Southwest. It took the intervention of the governors of Kano, Kebbi and Zamfara states to join their Southwest counterparts to find a political solution to the quit order,” the group stated.
The group also condemned the demands by the Salihu Mohammed led Arewa Youths for Peace and Development that Governor Ortom should apologise to his Bauchi counterpart. Shade opined that the Fulani menace has dominated the six years Governor Ortom has spent as the Benue governor, 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, the group further said.