From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The Tiv Professionals Group (TPG) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to treat Fulani militia herdsmen as terrorists and contain their criminal activities.
The group made the call in a statement made available to newsmen against the backdrop of the recent assassination attempt on the Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom by suspected armed Fulani herdsmen.
The Chairman of the Group and Pro Chancellor of the Benue State University (BSU), Prof Zacharys Gundu, while reading the statement to newsmen on Monday, lamented that the attempt on Governor Ortom’s life reflects the state of insecurity in Benue and the country in general.
‘It also underscores the failure of the federal government to act decisively against terror rings that have taken over ungoverned spaces, highways and forests to terrorize law-abiding citizens. The attack on Dr Samuel Ortom is one too many to be ignored.’
The group, while indicating that it was not the first time a sitting governor of Benue State would be attacked, recalled how former Governor George Akume and his immediate successor, Gabriel Suswam, were variously attacked by suspected militant herdsmen.
‘TPG notes with sadness that all the attacks on our governors from Akume to Ortom happened against the backdrop of sustained Fulani herdsmen invasion on Benue communities. Benue citizens, irrespective of ethnic affiliation, tongue, religion and political affiliation, must close ranks in brotherhood to condemn in the strongest terms this assassination attempt.’
The TPG, while maintaining that Benue had continued to suffer a Fulani herdsmen burden of unimaginable proportions, noted that between 2013-2020 alone, Fulani herdsmen killed more than 3,000 men, women and children in cold blood, from 12 Local Government Areas of the State with another 1,000 plus seriously wounded while several hundreds are still missing.
‘Over 100,000 households have been affected in the State leading to the displacement of thousands of people, who are permanently being housed in IDP camps and exposed to hunger, poor healthcare and other forms of deprivation, including the vagaries of the elements.
‘This is besides the painful fact that properties worth billions of naira have been destroyed through a brutal scorch-earth strategy by the heartless invaders.’
The group urged the President to, without any further delay, align with the Global Terrorism Index and designate armed Fulani herdsmen as a terror group as well as proscribe MACBAN, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and GAN Allah Fulani Development Association as terrorist organisations.