Benue killings: Buhari ‘won’t protect criminals’, Tells Benue Leaders To Restrain Their People

The Oasis Reporters

January 15, 2018

President Muhammadu Buhari (left), Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State.

President Muhammadu Buhari has made an open declaration that he will not protect criminals. He gave this as an assurance to Benue people

Buhari said this at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Monday when he met with a delegation of stakeholders from Benue State led by Governor Samuel Ortom.

The meeting was over the recent killings by herdsmen in communities in the state.

Speaking to State House reporters after the meeting, Ortom said Buhari assured the delegation that he was not going to protect criminals

In addition to his assurance, President Muhammadu Buhari also told Benue leaders to restrain their people following the recent attacks on some communities. He said this in a statement released later by his spokesman Mr Femi Adesina.

The president assured that all the perpetrators of violence in the state would be made to face the wrath of the law.
“Your Excellency, the governor, and all the leaders here, I am appealing to you to try to restrain your people. I assure you that the Police, the Department of State Security and other security agencies had been directed to ensure that all those behind the mayhem get punished.
“I ask you in the name of God to accommodate your country men. You can also be assured that I am just as worried, and concerned with the situation,’’ the president said.
He said all those involved in the conflict that culminated in loss of lives would not escape justice, including any illegally armed militia in the state.

He commiserated with all the victims of the attacks, and the families who lost loved ones and properties, noting that the government would make efforts to ameliorate the situation of all the victims.
President Buhari said relevant agencies had been directed to start catering for the humanitarian needs.
He told the delegation that his administration had already begun a process of finding lasting solution to the perennial challenge of herdsmen conflict with farmers and communities around the country.
He said the Inspector-General of Police had been directed to relocate to the state to provide security for lives and properties, urging all Benue indigenes to trust the security agencies and report all suspicious cases of movements in the state.

The statement quoted Governor Sam Ortom, who led the delegation, as saying the tension would be reduced with the Federal Government’s intervention to find a lasting solution to the herdsmen attacks.
“We will leave here to rebuild confidence in our people,’’ he said.
The Tor-Tiv, Prof. James Ortese Iorzua Ayatse, was quoted as saying his entire domain had been thrown into mourning due to the incessant attacks.

In an earlier report by, President Muhammadu Buhari met with some leaders from Benue State over the recent killings recorded in the state.

Those expected at the meeting which held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja included political, traditional and opinion leaders from the state.

A top government source told journalists on the condition of anonymity on Sunday that Governor Samuel Orton was expected to lead the state delegation that would include federal and state lawmakers as well as traditional rulers to the meeting.
Security chiefs were also at the meeting.

The source described the meeting as one of the ways Buhari was responding to the recent violent attacks on communities in the state by Fulani herdsmen.

The source said, “The urgent meeting is inevitable because of the frequency and scale of such violence and the reactions that have trailed the incidents.

“The Presidency has been embarrassed by the large scale loss of lives caused by such repeated violence against innocent people.”

He also gave an indication that the state governor might be asked at the meeting to explain his alleged role in arming some militias in the state.

“Discussions at the meeting will address the issue of the Fulani herdsmen, which is at issue but may go beyond their menace to include the issue of the arming, training and financing of militia groups by some state governments,” he said.

The government official recalled the recent arrest of some armed militia members by the army and their confession of being armed by the Benue State Government.

This, he explained, had added a new twist to the Benue saga.

“It should not surprise anyone if the Presidency seeks an explanation about this from the governor with a view to getting to the root of the state’s security challenges,” he added.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, confirmed that the meeting with the Benue leaders is on the President’s schedule for Monday.

Shehu however said he had not been briefed on the issues to be discussed at the meeting.

The presidential spokesman said, “The government welcomes any initiative by any group that would provide lasting solutions to the country’s security problems.

“Security entails collective participation of all and it is, in the President’s view better for all to come together to find solutions instead of anyone trading blames.”


Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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