From Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
The Coalition of Southern and Middle Belt Youth Leaders Assembly (COSMBYLA), the umbrella body of all the youth groups in the South East, South-South, South West and Middle Belt regions, has condemned in strong terms the alleged assassination of Mr Sixtus Terfa Akure, a senior inspector of taxes working with the Benue State Internal Revenue Service (BIRS), by the Nigerian Army in Benue State.
While describing his death as barbaric and wicked in a statement by the youth groups released to newsmen in Owerri, the Imo State capital and signed by Goodluck Ibem, President General of Coalition of South East Youth Leaders(COSEYL) and leader of COSMBYLA, Terrence Kuanum, Coordinator, Forum of Middle Belt Youths Presidents, Shitu Waheed, Coordinator, South West Youth Leaders Forum (SWYLF) and Tito Zokumo, President, South-South Youth Forum (SSYF), it noted that the action has become a calculated attempt to distract the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom.
The youth group warned that the continual military action in the state will only lead to an increase of IDP camps in the state.
“The assassination of Benue indigenes by the military which has become a regular occurrence in recent times which seems like a calculated attempt to distract Governor Samuel Ortom who is endeared to his people via his unprecedented and uncommon performance from delivering more democracy dividends to the good people of Benue State.
“The state has over 1.7 million people in the state IDP camps and the renewed assassination and attacks by the military is to instil fear and panic which will lead to increase in the number of IDPs in the states. But their mission is dead on arrival.
“We are aware that the Sparks of assassination by the military is a calculated attempt to make the state ungovernable for the performing and dynamic governor of Benue State, Dr Samuel Ortom.
“The entire scenario looks like a plot to complete the extermination of Benue indigenes starting from Benue professionals, a mission the Fulani herdsmen delayed in completing.
“The assassination of Sixtus Terfa is a clear confirmation that the military has arrogated to itself the power to decide who lives and who dies in a supposed democratic setting.
“The last time we checked in the Nigerian constitution, there is nowhere it is written that the military has the powers to assassinate armless innocent citizens.
“We call on the international community to come to the aid of Benue State and other Nigerians who are on the verge of being exterminated by the Nigerian army that is are supposed to protect them,” the release stated.
It pleaded that no stone should be left unturned in getting to the root of this assassinations.
“The perpetrators must be brought to justice no matter how highly placed,” the statement concludes.