The Oasis Reporters
January 4, 2018
PRESS STATEMENT FROM PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY (PDP), BENUE STATE CHAPTER:
WE TOTALLY CONDEMN HERDSMEN TERRORISM AGAINST BENUE FARMERS AND CALL ON PRESIDENT BUHARI TO RESPOND AND BRING THE CULPRITS TO BOOK, EVEN AS OUR HEARTS GO OUT IN SYMPATHY TO THE VICTIMS
Once again, suspected heavily armed Fulani herdsmen a few days back unleashed violence and mayhem on some rural communities in Benue State, this time in Guma and Logo local government areas, killing a yet to be determined number of peasant farmers, women, children and the aged inclusive.
The assailants also visited arson on properties of the locals on a massive scale which is also yet to be estimated in terms of monetary value.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Benue State Chapter totally condemns this barbaric act which qualifies by every standard as terrorism employed in the pursuit of an agenda which is genocidal in character.
Our hearts go out in sympathy to the victims, the dead, those injured, and the displaced ones wandering about terrorised, dehumanised and thrust into the cruel, merciless embrace of destitution and hardship.
There could be no worse form of crime against humanity than that innocent, law abiding citizens in their homes be visited with unprovoked violence and wanton destruction of lives and properties.
But even worse, there is no bigger enemy of humanity than the one vested with the authority and means to defend citizens against criminals, but who rather compromises that mandate by deliberate silence and inaction in time of crime; this is a stronger weapon in the arsenal of any oppressor than guns and bombs.
We are in alignment with the position of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, that the Federal Government of President Muhammadu Buhari should move quickly to provide security for the people of Benue State from Fulani herdsmen and also bring the perpetrators of these acts of criminality to book.
It is also out shared position that Fulani herdsmen violence against farmers be graded on same level of menace as Boko Haram and treated with an equally commensurate degree of security attention.
Evidence abound that Fulani herdsmen killing Benue farmers, burning down their homes and destroying their farms, crops, farm produce and properties, do not differ from Boko Haram terrorists in mode and method of operation, as well as extent of impact and devastation on their victims.
It is therefore, unacceptable that President Buhari should continue with the unfortunate trend of concentrating the deployment of the media and security resources of his government solely towards the Boko Haram challenge, while turning a blind eye to the bloody carnage of armed Fulani herdsmen in Benue communities and a deaf ear to the cries of their helpless victims.
Buhari must, as a matter of duty, urgently shift or share his focus from an ‘already defeated’ Boko Haram to the rapidly growing menace of armed Fulani herdsmen killing helpless farmers and burning down their properties, this in fulfillment of the oath he took to protect one and all Nigerians from harm and injustice, without fear or favour.
The president must seize this opportunity to make good on his famous avowal that he is “for everyone and for no one” by deploying adequate federal security machinery to protect Benue farmers and communities from further attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen.
The Federal Government must also go a step further to do the unprecedented by arresting and bringing to trial those Fulani herdsmen responsible for the killings and arson in Benue State.
We also use this opportunity to reaffirm our support for the law prohibiting open grazing of livestock in Benue State as the surest antidote, both in the short and long terms, to the menace of Fulani herdsmen in the state.
We urge Gov. Ortom to explore broad-based and bi-partisan approaches involving all segments of the Benue community towards bolstering internal cooperation measures for the effectiveness and sustainability of the law.
May the souls of those killed in the attacks find repose in eternal peace and may all surviving victims and the people of Benue State be consoled over those unfortunate occurrences.