Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
A United Kingdom Benue-based group, the Mzough U Tiv UK (MUTUK), on Monday, organised a peaceful protest to draw the attention of the British Prime Minister to the barbaric killings in Benue and other states in Nigeria by what it described as ‘the Fulani terror group who have killed more Nigerians than the Boko Haram’.
MUTUK’s peaceful protest, which also enjoyed the solidarity of Nigerians in the Diaspora who came out in large number to support the struggle, however, did not get the attention of the Nigerian High Commission in the European country, as none of the officials came to receive the protesters for more than one hour.
The Daily Sun gathered that at a point, MUTUK Vice President and Convener of the protest, Dr. Kohol Iornem, had to approach the High Commission after waiting for more than one hour without any attention given to them.
“It is not surprising that the Nigerian High Commissioner nor any of its staff came out to address the gathering even after protesters had gathered for over one hour. Dr Kohol Shadrach Iornem, the Vice President of MUTUK who was the convener of the protest, approached the security staff at the Business Section of the High Commission and was advised to go back to the main entrance,” Publicity Secretary of MUTUK, Salome Sulleyol Biam, said.
Explaining further in a statement, Biam continued, “Even after going back and forth repeatedly, no member of staff came out. Dr. Iornem urged the protesters to move down to the Business Unit of the Nigeria High Commission. At this point, the Nigeria Embassy called the police for the Nigerian protesters.
“When the police arrived, Dr. Iornem explained to the police that protesters were here to submit a copy of the petition to Ambassador but they have not come out to address or receive the petition.
“He stated that courtesy demanded that a member of staff from the High Commission addressed the gathering and received the petition. It was at this point that the Head of Chancery, Dr. Niyi Ojo, came out to speak to the protesters on behalf of the High Commissioner.”
Iornem, in his speech to President Muhamadu Buhari, through the Ambassador, stated that the protest became necessary based on the current problems the Benue people and other Nigerians were facing in Nigeria in the hands of the Fulani herdsmen, “who have continued to massacre our children, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers.
“We are here because our people back at home have done everything within the law to bring an end to this ethnic cleansing. Our people back at home in Benue State have protested, they have held press conferences, they held meetings with community leaders to discuss the solution to these attacks, they have passed the anti-open grazing bill.
Iornem who said the Benue leaders had even visited President Muhammadu Buhari to plead with him to take decisive actions but the killing have continued unabated maintained that it was for that reason that MUTUK had decided to stage the peaceful protest to draw the attention of the international community to the plight of its people.
“It is sad that immediately after their visit, the Fulani herdsmen terror group killed at least 6 persons in the same Guma and Logo Local Governments where over 70 people were initially massacred and given state burial.
“We believe the international community do not know about the current genocide in Nigeria and that is why there has been no reaction from them. We are here today to let the British Government know about this terror group who have killed more Nigerians than the Boko Haram, he said.
Responding after receiving a copy of the MUTUK’s petition to the High Commission, Head of Chancery, Dr. Niyi Ojo, promised that he would pass the petition across to the Nigerian Government.
It was gathered that Iornem, thereafter, led some MUTUK executives to deliver a copy of the petition to the Office of the British Prime Minister at 10, Downing Street, in London.