Benue Advancement Forum (BAF), has described the recent visit by some All Progressives Congress (APC) governors to Benue State, coming several weeks after the killing of 73 innocent people by suspected Fulani herdsmen, as belated and a mockery.
The organisation, led by its chairman, Professor David Iornem, made the stand known yesterday (Saturday), at a world press conference in Makurdi, the state capital. In an address presented by its deputy chairman, Professor Jerry Agada, BAF wondered why it took the northern governors a long time to pay a condolence visit to their colleague. It said it was equally curious that the visit came only after a delegation of Afenifere, Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, South South and Middle Belt socio-cultural groups had visited the state.
BAF condemned the attacks on children, women and other vulnerable people in Guma and Logo Council Area. It faulted the silence of President Buhari on the killings and urged the Federal Government to arrest those behind the genocide and declare herdsmen a terrorist organisation.
“BAF will also want to state that we do not trust the intentions of the Federal Government in sending troops to Benue, even as the government of President Buhari has not come out clearly to support the anti-open grazing law in Benue. It seems that Buhari’s government does not believe that the Benue State House of Assembly has any right to make laws that are acceptable and beneficial to protecting the interest of Benue citizens,” the group stated.
It urged Governor Ortom to remain courageous and firm, as he has been on the anti-grazing law, which it described as the best solution to lasting peace in the country.
According to the group, “We want to advice further that Benue State already has a law regulating livestock farming and we do not need any other law that seeks to introduce the idea of cattle colonies. Cattle colonies will be counter-productive and extremely dangerous in these times when the menace of insurgency is at its peak.
“Herdsmen/cattle colonies will only provide a safe haven for insurgents and open doors to the likes of Al-Shabab and other terrorist groups who have been seeking hostage. We have died and are not afraid of dying again. We would rather die than have our land and heritage taken away from us,” the group warned.