Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has asked the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to act speedily before herdsmen in the country drag the nation into another civil war.
The governor also accused President Buhari of tilting towards supporting the herdsmen who are mostly of Fulani extraction at the expense of other nationalists.
The Governor stated this In a letter to the Nigerian leader, noting that the security challenges plaguing Nigeria have assumed new dimensions with the armed herdsmen are now embolden and daringly enforcing their will on legitimate owners and occupants of ancestral lands.
Ortom said that there are many areas of concern over the Federal Government’s actions and inactions, including the widely discussed concern over inequalities in key appointments. According to him, these issues have reinforced the perception that the Administration is not fair and just to all Nigerians.
The governor was of the view that the seemingly nepotistic appointments have reinforced the perception that the Buhari-led administration is not fair and just to all Nigerians.
“Mr President, please recall my earlier letters drawing your attention to the murderous activities of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and other armed Fulani socio-cultural groups and their leaders who publicly and brazenly claimed responsibility for the killings and destruction of property across States of the country,” the governor stated in his letter to the president.
“These groups and their leaders have also boasted that Nigeria belongs exclusively to them. The letters alerted you on several challenges and called for the arrest and prosecution of the leaders and proscription of the organizations in question.
“We are alarmed that rather than being censured, these leaders and organizations have been emboldened and intensified their atrocities. They have received encouragement in the process through various actions and inactions by the Federal Government,
“This ugly situation has caused devastation across the country. In Benue State, 19 out of 23 Local Government Areas have been affected by attacks by Fulani herdsmen leading to loss of lives, destruction of property and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Benue people who are now living in Internally Displaced Persons Camps and host communities across the State.
“The total number of Internally Displaced Persons currently in the Camps in Benue State is 483,692 persons.
“Returning these Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to their ancestral homes has been impossible as herdsmen continue to attack, kill, maim and rape those who return.
“The Federal Government is also yet to redeem the pledge made on 15th May 2018 by Vice President Prof. Yemi Osibanjo to contribute N10Billion to Benue State towards the reconstruction, rehabilitation, reintegration and resettlement of displaced persons.
“The failure of the IDPs to return to their ancestral homes to resume normal farming activities, together with the impact of climate change, has posed a serious threat to national food security, as evidenced by rising food prices.
“Sir, we all remember the wise counsel of Nigeria’s former Permanent Representative to the United Nations, the late Alhaji Maitama Sule, when Northern Leaders Forum visited you as the President-Elect in 2015. He said, inter alia “…
“With justice, you can rule Nigeria well. Justice is the key. If you do justice to all and sundry, and I say all and sundry. If you’re going to judge between people, do justice irrespective of their tribe, religion or even political inclination. Justice must be done to whosoever deserves it.”
The governor continued: “Mr President, this call for justice is the heart cry of every patriotic Nigerian. It is not a call against the Fulani race or any other ethnic group, but a call to make Nigeria work for every Nigerian in line with the Oath of Office we took as leaders and your pledge to be a President for all Nigerians and to be for everybody and for nobody. Unfortunately, you seem to be tilting towards the Fulani at the expense of other nationalists.”
By Abel Ejikeme