Benue: Federal government accused of shielding killer-herdsmen

THE NEWSGHOST, NIGERIA – Several ethnic group leaders in Benue have accused the federal government (FG) of Nigeria of protecting the herdsmen behind the recent massacre of around 83 people in the state.

The ethnic group leaders made this known in a joint press briefing in Makurdi yesterday, Tuesday, January 23, 2017, according to report.

On behalf of their respective ethnic groups, Mdzough U Tiv, Idoma National Forum and Omi Ny’Igede, the ethnic group leaders emphasised that all government’s actions since the tragic killings in the state had been on how to appease the aggressors rather than find relief or consolation for the victims.

At the press briefing, Chief Edward Ujege, the President General Mdzough U Tiv said:

‘The most heinous of such appeasement is the Federal Government’s plan for cattle colonies. This approach clearly shows that the Federal Government places higher premium on cattle rather than on human lives.

We have in the past seven years watched with horror how the Federal Government treated the Miyetti Allah and the herdsmen invasion of our state and, indeed, the entire Middle Belt with kids gloves.

Despite the brazen nature of their acts of criminality throughout the Middle Belt, none of the herdsmen has ever been arrested or made to account for these crimes. Instead, they enjoy government protection from arrest or prosecution.

The silence from the federal authorities, after we made appeals to restrain the marauders, emboldened the Miyetti Allah and their gang of killers to invade and massacre over 73 of our people on January 1, 2018 and six in Odonto-Akpa in Otukpo as well as four in Ojapo in Okpokwu local government areas.

Despite public declarations by leadership of Miyetti Allah accepting culpability for the recent massacre as revenge or reprisal over alleged cattle rustling, no arrest has been made, three weeks after the incidents.

We, therefore, categorically reject the cattle colony idea and condemn the manner the Federal Government as well as some governors are trying to politicise the massacre in Benue State.

We detest the indifferent attitude of the northern governors who were expressing support for re-election of President Buhari on the day we were grieving and burying our dead. We take special exception that none of these governors had consoled Benue people, despite our socio-cultural and political affinity.’

The ethni groups rejected Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s committee on herdsmen killings, saying it was ‘diversionary, unnecessary and a waste of time and resources’.

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