Leaders of the socio-cultural groups in Benue, Sunday, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take deliberate and decisive steps to stop attacks by herders on the farming communities in the state.
The leaders also appealed to the President to place the military in the area on red alert, give them the matching order and beef up security at the border towns surrounding Benue state to forestall further attacks, which may lead to breakdown of law and order.
Leaders which include Chief CP Iorbee Ihagh (rtd), President General, Mdzough U Tiv and chairman of the three socio-cultural groups in Benue state; AVM Tony Adokwu (rtd), President General, Ochetoha K’Idoma; and Dr Comrade Ben Okpa, President, Omi Ny’Igede, expressed worry over recent comments by former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, which they said were targeted at stirring strife and hatred not only for Governor Samuel Ortom but Benue as a whole.
The groups in a statement signed and released by the leaders, called on the military, particularly Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) and other security agencies in the state to ensure that they nip in the bud the planned attacks by armed militia herdsmen on Benue communities.
The Benue socio-cultural groups said it was disturbing that Sanusi and his comrades were doing everything possible to make the whole world believe that the persons that were killed during the military operation were harmless nomads, whereas they were terrorists who were targeted and killed while planning to launch further attacks on innocent people in Benue communities, bordering Nasarawa state.
“We have also identified the desperate attempt by Sanusi and his band of supporters to give the attack on the terrorists an ethnic coloration, thereby setting Benue State up against the armed herdsmen invasion.
“Otherwise, how would someone like Sanusi place the cost of one cow at N1 million, if it is not in a desperate attempt to cause disaffection, pick a fight and get a reason to attack Benue communities?
“We call on the security agencies to arrest the former governor of CBN, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and his cohorts responsible for the reprisal attacks that have already taken place as well as any further attacks on the people of Benue State.
“We state this without mincing words because for the former Governor of the CBN to set Governor Ortom up for hatred and declare him as an enemy of the Fulani race is a deliberate attempt to incite and stir up strife, which is an offence punishable by law.
“Our groups, made up of the three major tribal groups in Benue State; the Tiv, Idoma and Igede, also call on the military, particularly Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) to ensure that it nips in the bud the planned attacks by these armed militia herdsmen on Benue communities.
“Furthermore, we call on the international community to place Sanusi on the terrorists’ watch list, keep a close tab on his activities; the activities of his collaborators and the armed militia herdsmen and hold them accountable for their actions,” the statement read in part.”