- Benue State Governor calls for the arrest of Fulani Leaders in Benue,
- Urges calm amongst peaceful protesters.
- Protest turns bloody as Nigerian Army allegedly kills three (3) unarmed youths
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has called for the immediate arrest of the leadership of the Fulani herdsmen (popularly known as the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore) in Benue State. The governor has specifically call for the arrest of the and secretary of the Miyetti Allah group in Benue State who had threatened to invade the state last year as those responsible for the current killings in the state.
The Governor has insisted that the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore must be arrested for making inciting statements concerning the open grazing prohibition and ranches establishment law and for carrying out their threats.
The Governor said: “The president and secretary of that group had threatened to invade Benue State; they have made good their threat. I am accusing them directly, they should be arrested; there are no sacred cows in this country if we all must be seen to be Nigerians.”
He further called on the Federal Government to rise up to its responsibility to protect the lives and properties of Benue indigenes in order to give them a sense of belonging in the country.
Samuel Ortom addressing his people urged them to remain calm in the face of what he described as obvious unwarranted provocation by Fulani herdsmen that has triggered massive panic in the State with many resident migrating out of the State in large numbers.
The governor also disclosed that more bodies were being recovered from the bushes in the affected communities, pleaded for calm among his people, stressing: “I feel the pains of my people and that is why we have this kind of situation but we must not allow our anger to linger.”
The governor made the appeals while addressing journalists at the old Banquet Hall of the Benue Peoples House, Wednesday, on the protest by youths who blocked some major roads in Makurdi, the state capital, as a reaction to the killings by herders in the State.
He further explained to them that actions carried out in anger against the killings were bound to complicate the situation adding that the people must avoid taking the law into their own hands as two wrongs cannot make a right.
Governor Samuel Ortom said he appreciated the pains of the people of the state especially families of the victims, saying that he has informed the President about the development and was awaiting a positive response.
He stated that he and members of the State Security Council visited some flashpoints in Guma and Logo Local Government Areas yesterday and thereafter directed the deployment of security operatives to the places.
The Governor reiterated that there was no going back on the implementation of the anti-open grazing law which he said was the permanent solution to the herders –farmers incessant clashes with attendant destruction of lives and properties.
Online reports across social media went viral with images from Makurdi, the Benue State capital showing the city was on total lockdown yesterday, as thousands of youths took over the strategic Wurukum roundabout and Makurdi Lafia Road in protest over continuous attack on Benue communities by suspected Fulani herdsmen that has left so many people dead including women and children.
The protesters numbering over 3,000, stormed the major roads as early as 8:00 a.m., in a peaceful protests that led to gridlock, as thousands of motorists were stranded. The irate youths sang solidarity songs as they rally across the streets of Makurdi.
They also used the opportunity to call for the immediate resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari, if he could not address the herdsmen menace in the state and the entire country.
Also, Governor Samuel Ortom alongside members of the State Executive Council escaped mod action as he tried to prevail on the youths to remain calm, with a promise that the matter had been reported to the President, whom he said has also promised to intervene.
At that point, the youths got incited and demanded that the President should address Benue people over the killings and when the governor tried to prevail on them to show understanding, the protesters became unruly and started throwing stones and sticks at which point, the governor’s security operatives had to whisk him away from the scene to safety.
Images below went viral yesterday across social media as many online sources claimed that Nigerian army allegedly killed about 3 -5 unarmed youth in its quest to quell the protests.