Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Tribal leaders of three sociocultural groups in Benue State under the aegis of Mdzough U Tiv (MUT), Idoma National Forum and Omi-Ny’Igede, have denied a recent media report alleging that Tiv youths attacked the Hausa community in Makurdi, leading to the deaths of 10 persons and the burning of four mosques.
Spokesman of the tribal leaders, and President General of Mzough U Tiv, Chief Edward Ujege, in a statement Tuesday in Makurdi, dispelled the report as mischievous, callous, insulting and a calculated attempt to incite sectarian violence in the state.
Ujege lamented that the said report of reprisal followed the attack on St. Ignatius Quasi Parish in Mbalom, Gwer East Local Government Area of the state, where two priests and 17 other worshippers were killed.
“We wish to state categorically that nothing of the sort took place in Makurdi or anywhere else in Benue. It is a tissue of lies and falsehood concocted to profile the Tiv youth in bad light,” said the spokesman.
“We consider the said report as part of the well-planned agenda by our traducers to change the narrative in the state. It must be noted that in the face of unprovoked and horrendous attacks on farming communities in the state, our youth have at all times been implored to be law abiding while cooperating with security agencies to arrest the security situation in the State.
“Unfortunately, this is not the first of such false statements about the situation in Benue State. The Inspector-General of Police may have set the tone for this when he described the attacks in Benue State as ‘communal clashes'”
“The Defence Minister also accused Governor Samuel Ortom of breeding the crisis, just because the later happens to be the governor at a time the people of the State have given unto themselves a law to stop open grazing of livestock,” the statement read.
While positing that Benue had lost hundreds of lives and invaluable resources to the series of herdsmen attack on its communities, the tribal leader expressed optimism that the killers will not go scot free.
“They will be tried and punished because we know them. Let our traducers continue to sponsor unsubstantiated allegations to whip sentiments for the realization of their agenda: to take over our ancestral land and establish an Emirate Council in the State,” Ujege said.
“The Benue State Command had, in a press statement dated April 26, 2018, refuted the allegation and advised ‘the general public to disregard the information which is nothing but falsehood, believably meant to cause break down of law and order in the State.”