I’ve Not Abandoned You – Buhari Tells Benue People

President Muhammadu Buhari has blamed the Inspector General of Police, Idris Abubakar over the continuous killings in Benue State.

The President said this while faulting the notion in some quarters that he had abandoned the people of Benue State.

Buhari said he had the people of the state at heart and will not abandon them.

The president made this remark on Tuesday during a condolence visit to the state.

According to him, “The problem in Benue started worsening because the IGP refused to follow my instruction.
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“It is wrong to think I have abandoned the people of Benue. I still have at heart.

“I thank the governor and the people of the state for receiving me.

“We have deployed security agencies to make sure the clashes between farmers and end as soon as possible.”

Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom in his remarks urged President Muhammadu Buhari to upgrade the ongoing military exercise in the state tagged “Ayem Akpatema”, to a wider operation to effectively curb herdsmen attacks.

“If the exercise is upgraded to a wider operation, it will assist greatly in ending the incessant attacks and senseless killings by herdsmen,” he said

He urged Benue people to learn to live in peace with other people.

Ortom said that many states were currently involved in massive cultivation of rice, and urged his people to join the trend.

The governor reiterated his call for the arrest of the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, alleging that the body was responsible for the killings in Benue.

Ortom maintained that ranching was the best option for cattle breeding in Nigeria, and advised herdsmen to embrace it so as to minimise the clashes caused by open grazing.

He also called on the federal government to take over the management of the Benue University Teaching Hospital, College of Education, Katsina-Ala and Benue Polytechnic, Ugbokolo.

Malam Shetima Mohammed, a representative of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Benue Chapter, however, denied responsibility for the Benue attacks.

“Our association is a peace loving one and the exact opposite of what is being portrayed,” he declared.


‘Don’t Struggle If You Are Raped’ By Lasisi Olagunju

“We are not here to kill but to take your land.” That coming from marauders is enough sense for any weak victim who wants to live. You don’t struggle with the powerful who is forcing himself on you.7

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State last week scheduled a mass burial for 26 victims of herders violence. On Friday, he cancelled the burial and scurried to his unfurled blanket for some conjugal warmth. The living should bury their dead. On Saturday, former President Olusegun Obasanjo visited Benue with a bouquet of condolences. Governor Ortom was at the airport to receive him. President Muhammadu Buhari will be in that state today. He is also clutching some roses for the dead. Ortom will be available to receive him with flutes and drumbeats. For politicians, disasters such as we see in Benue are manure for growing personal ambitions.

The president was in Taraba. He was in Plateau too. Both have slabs bloodied by the failures of a nation. The president was there to mourn. Then he inaugurated projects and praised his own three years of prosperity. He did same in Nasarawa. The president shouldn’t have mixed project inspection and inauguration with delivery of condolences. There is time for dance and time to wail with the bereaved. When you give gun salutes at weddings, what would you display at the burial of the powerful?

There is an Island in Benue called Mbatoho. It has just been depopulated and repopulated. I watched hundreds of inhabitants of that place on television last week — displaced. Some privileged people asked them to vacate their ancestral land for them. They needed the space for their cattle business. “We’re not here to kill but to take your land,” they told them with magnanimity. The hosts did not bother to struggle with their guests. Because they were wise, home owners quietly left their bed chambers for the new lords of the land. The displaced are still out there – they cannot understand why they are outsiders in their own country. President Buhari may use this visit to inaugurate their shocked, lost, marooned presence in the state capital.

A Cable News Network (CNN) journalist in a recent report posed as a willing victim of human trafficking to Europe. She was shocked that the Nigerian trafficker asked her not to struggle if she was to be raped in Libya. She was shocked because she is not from here. Here, nothing shocks, riles or irritates the Nigerian. He lives with filth in public and private spaces. His hearth has embers of burning dirt; and his highways are gilded with refuse of greasy graft. Nigerians are long married to endurance. They stopped fighting when they realized there is profit in doing joint patrols with the devil. And that was a long time ago. Nothing is worth fighting against again. We stopped struggling against evil when we realized that every messiah is an aspiring Satan. We embraced acquiescence and the country became a miserable, wounded rape victim. The kind of live horror films Nigeria has been exposed to is enough to last till the end of time. The country and its inhabitants no longer feel pain. We accommodate and fete the enemy and his designs. Benue and that conquered Island are fitting metaphors for a nation lost.

Benue is the food basket of the nation — Or it used to be Nigeria’s food basket. There were tubers in their heaps, grains in their silos. They had yam in their barns. Now, from hiding, the Benue farmer watches his neighbours open his heaps and ridges and barns for their cattle. Nigeria failed the Benue farmer, laughed and took him for a land tiller without sense. The murdered villager in Zamfara, in the plateaus of the Middle Belt and Taraba, we failed him too. We were indifferent; like Nero, we fiddled and allowed the Romes of these helpless persons to burn. We stepped forward and made ten thousand heaps – watered with tears of injustice and iniquity. In our heaps we planted heads of the innocent in Taraba, in Benue, in Plateau, in Zamfara. So, why are we moving round, dancing, digging field to field? What smiles; what salute; what town hall briefings and meetings are we holding? Yam seeds must yield yam to feed the hungry; we complain of lack of fruity harvest. Skulls planted with swords won’t sprout and yield tubers of peace and prosperity and victory.  We watch our neighbours harvest yields of goodness. We harvest eerie fruits of years of unwellness.

Nigeria has become too impossible, too extreme to handle. It is diseased so much it can’t remember what good seasons mean. It is too wet during the rains; too dry in dry season. Before today’s visit to Benue, our president and lawmakers were in Ghana to celebrate that country’s 61st independence anniversary. At home, we stopped celebrating our own freedom years ago. Shame died long ago with our pride. With our own itchy fingers we made our giant become an ant. The freedom of 1960 has gone rancid. It expired in our dusty shelf and we know it. We say it is no longer safe to rejoice, march and sing our anthem on October 1. The celebrations we hold are sobbing reminders of paradise lost; and, yet, we promised security, peace, and prosperity. We promised change from loss to gains.

Every promise is an oath. An oath is a solemn promise. It often comes with an invocation of a divine witness to our actions or behaviours going forward. Here, electoral promises are vehicles of rape. Every president, every governor, every lawmaker inveigles the people for easy entry. He gets in and remembers that he lost his memory with the rigors of election. He no longer remembers the solemn promise to serve with all his strength, and to uphold the honour and glory of the nation. He forgets that he asked God to help him do good and justice to all manner of people, according to law, without fear or favour, affection or ill will. All he remembers are the security and wellbeing of his riches, of his harem of wives, of his children and of his concubines.

What is the name for that person who breaks promises as he makes them? An oath invokes a divine presence. That person who takes an oath and sneers at it as soon as he is done, do we call him godly? An oath that is broken at will, should we call that an oath? Can our lords in the legislature recast our oath of office if the problem is in the wording? Irresponsibility in leadership was a rarity before our baptism to the white man’s world. Leadership is a supply and demand balance sheet. It is privilege and luxury matched with responsibility and responsiveness. You can’t enjoy the supplies of privilege and repudiate the demands of morality. The oaths of the past were swords over the heads of the sovereign. Today’s oath is a mere set of lines recited without attention. We cannot take our leaders back to the past of thunder and lightning. They are now pious Muslims and Christians (who can’t spell piety). Can we then decaffeinate the fine brews of the past to enjoy our present in peace? Let’s have a mix of lightning, thunder and today’s faiths. Or we can simply supply divine curses in their subliminal form. The Anglican Church has a template for a willing tomorrow: “I promise and swear that by the grace of God, I will strive to be a good example to the people of God that I am appointed to serve. I swear that if I accept any teaching or doctrine contrary to the ones set forth by the Bishop or priest, after warning, I should be removed from this exalted position and my office given to another person.”

Privileged people fear losing their horses. Nigeria should have a secular version of that ecclesiastical oath. Every monster in leadership should have his place taken by a saner soul.

60 People Killed In Benue After Mass Burial: Samuel Ortom

At least 60 people have been killed by Fulani herdsmen in Benue since the mass burial of the Benue 73 on January 11 this year.

This was revealed by the Governor of the state, Samuel Ortom as he hosted some Benue born musicians led by Zaaki Azzay at the Government house in Makurdi on Thursday. He added that amongst those killed are policemen and officers of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSDC).

He lamented that rather than the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris taking proactive measures to bring the killings to an end, he had decided to take sides. Ortom noted that the IGP’s relocation to Benue at the height of the attacks further heightened tensions as the invading herdsmen became more daring in their attacks, killing even security operatives; and that he (IGP) refused to arrest anyone.

“The IGP has failed us but we are grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari for sending the Army to come and perform ‘Operation Cat Race’ in Benue. We hope that the Cat will be able to catch all the rats.

“All we are asking for is justice because in a situation where you favour a particular section and bias in your judgement against the other is not fair. That is why we are asking the IGP to resign his appointment to give way to another person who can perform better.

“That was why we decided to put an end to these wanton killings by enacting the law. The law emanated from the Benue people and they own it. The law protects everyone residing in Benue including the Fulani. But staying in Benue, you must obey the laws of the land. We are not intimidated by the killings but all we ask for is let there be justice,” he said.


Samuel Ortom Calls On The United Nations For Help

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom called on the United Nations, UN, at the UN Development Programme (UNDP) office in Abuja during a presentation on the continuous killing of Benue people by rampaging herdsmen, to intervene in the human crisis resulting from the genocide perpetrated by armed herdsmen in the state.

Governor Ortom informed the gathering that as an administration, which believes in the rule of law and peaceful coexistence, series of meetings for dialogue were organised by the Benue State Government to find a solution to the crisis without much success leading to the promulgation of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law.

He argued that due process was followed in the making of the law, saying in addition to conducting public hearings, which involved all the stakeholders in the three Senatorial districts of the state and Makurdi, a grace period of six months was allowed for people involved in livestock business to make adjustments.

After the Governor’s opening address, Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Professor Dennis Ityavyar made a presentation which had details on the attacks, including the number of people killed and property destroyed between 2011 and this year. He urged the United Nations to assist Benue State to overcome the challenge.

The United Nations and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon expressed deep worry that the conflict between herdsmen and farmers if not checked would mar the peaceful conduct of the 2019 general election.

Mr. Kallon stated that already 19 out of the 36 states of the federation were engulfed in the crisis which he said was being driven by climate change, growing scarcity of resources and insufficient political reforms.

He decried the level of attacks and killing of innocent people by armed men, maintaining that he was personally involved in the roadmap to peace and had been calling on Government all levels to find a lasting solution to the conflicts in order to stop the killings.

Mr. Kallon stated that he was represented in Benue at the mass burial of the seventy people killed by suspected Fulani militia in January where he called on the Federal Government to take firm action in investigating the attacks, bringing the perpetrators to justice and also paying compensation to victims in line with International Human Rights obligations.


Fayose Faults FG, Security Agencies Handling Of Benue Killings

The Governor of Ekiti state, Ayodele Fayose, has faulted the Federal Government’s response mechanism and poor handling of the herdsmen killings in Benue state.

Fayose said contrary to the believe in some quarters that the Anti-Grazing Law implemented by the state government was responsible for the killings, the Federal Government’s handling of security matters was to blame.

“The constitution has given you powers to make laws to protect your people. I made that law, I stand by it. Stand by your own. You are not saying you are making laws for other people, you are making it for your people. For the protection of your people, the peace of your people.

“The anti-grazing law must not be compromised,” he stressed.

He made this known on Thursday, when he visited the state to commiserate with the government and people over the death of over 70 residents.


The Ekiti governor also criticised President Muhammadu Buhari over comments he made asking Benue residents to accommodate their countrymen.

“How can a governor give you advance warning under secrete security information.

“How can you tell a governor in a situation like Governor Ortom has found himself, to go and accommodate people killing you, god forbid bad thing o.” he said.

Governor Fayose who was received by Governor Samuel Ortom from the airport, alongside top officials headed to the site of the mass grave where a minute silence was observed in honour of the victims of attacks on New Year ’s Day.

Thereafter, they headed to the Government House where he made a donation of N10 million to help support the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

Benue Killings: 24 Arrested, 19 Arraigned In Court – Owoseni

About a month after shocking killings erupted in Benue State on New Year’s day, the State Commissioner of Police, Mr Fatai Owoseni, has said that 24 suspects have been arrested with 19 arraigned in court in connection with the incident.

Owoseni stated this on Thursday during a telephone interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily where he vowed to ensure that justice would take its course to serve as a deterrent to others.

“A total number of 24 suspects that have been arrested in connection with some of these cases which borders on culpable homicide, grievous hurt, and mischief by fire, the total number is 24. The number that have been arraigned in court are 19 while five of the cases are still being investigated,” he said.

The CP said there would be no sacred cow in the fight against crime.

He also promised to completely eliminate criminals as all those found guilty will be made to face the full weight of the law.

He, however, noted that the state is currently enjoying relative peace due to the collaborative efforts of the police and the public.

The police boss, until his assuming duties last month as the police boss in the state, was in charge of Administration at the Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (FCIID) at the Force Headquarters in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Benue Indigenes To Take On Self-Defense

Still on the Benue Killings, The Benue State indigenes have said they will no longer fold their hands and watch their kinsmen killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen, stressing that they would take on self defense if the Federal Government continue do not take on actions on their security.

They also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare herdsmen “a terrorist organization” and arrest leaders of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) for consistently threatening more bloodshed in Benue State.

The people, under the auspices of Benue Indigenes in Southeast, comprising the Tiv, Idoma and Igede natives, dropped the hint in Enugu, yesterday, during a protest rally against the continuous killings in Benue by herdsmen.

The rally, which was originally billed for the Michael Okpara Square, was disrupted when armed policemen occupied the venue, forcing the organizers to relocate to another venue in the city.

The protesters carried placards bearing various inscriptions like; “we are not happy! Stop the killing in all parts of Nigeria. Please act now and save Benue. Your cows are not more important than human lives, cattle cannot be given more attention than human lives” among others.

They declared their total support for the anti-grazing law promulgated by the Benue State government.In a written statement signed by President of Tiv community, Dr. David Wayas, President, Idoma Community Andrew Tyonongo and David Achi, the Benue natives said: “We call on Governor Samuel Ortom to ensure total compliance and we reject the establishment of cattle colonies in our state. We call on President Buhari to declare the herdsmen terrorists.

“We also call on Mr. President to order immediate arrest and prosecution of Bosso and other leaders of Miyetti Allah who have consistently threatened more bloodshed in Benue State, as well as, order the enforcement of the anti-grazing law.”

Addressing newsmen shortly after the rally, Wayas said it was intended to first of all, register their condolences and observe a brief moment of solitude for their brothers and sisters who lost their lives in the invasion.

He said: “But most importantly, we are here to communicate our position before the world, against the continuous killings and merciless massacre of innocent, harmless, defenceless and very patriotic people of our dear Benue State, who have become the booty in the hand of nomadic terrorist herdsman.

“It is disheartening to note indeed, that the lives of those who lost their lives by herdsmen attacks on our land of course are yet to be quantified. But for the sake of those of us still alive, we are here to say ‘enough is enough’.

“We can no longer keep quiet, we can no longer be silent, and we will continue to speak whether heard or not until those behind this evil carnage is brought to justice. We fought for the unification of this country. Our ancestral fathers fought to unite Nigeria. Benue State fought to bring about what is today Nigeria. But, today, those who call us their brothers are slaughtering us. Today, we are denied our rights of existence.

“Today, we have become refuges in our own country. And yet we have a government, which promise to protect our lives and our property. How long shall we allow this evil to continue to prosper for saying nothing? How much longer? We may not have the weapon! We have a common voice as a people. We have a voice to say ‘enough is enough’. And we have a choice to choose where to belong, as long as these decisions will continue to guarantee our rights to live in peace and not in pieces. We have a choice”.

Police Confirm Militia Groups ‘Armed With AK-47’ In Benue

Police have confirmed the existence of armed militia groups in Benue State which they said investigations would reveal soon.

Speaking on Thursday during an interview on Channels Television, the Force Public Relations Officer, Mr Jimoh Moshood, countered claims by Governor Samuel Ortom that there was nothing of such.

“Yes, they were armed with AK-47 (riffles); we have records, we have footage and you can’t just start arming people,” he said when he appeared on Sunrise Daily.

“There are a lot of militia groups equally in Benue and we are looking at all those areas to ensure that the actual perpetrators of this mayhem are promptly arrested.

“People who are supposed to ensure that when they observe (you say you have a guard) and report back to the police that would probably do the appropriate thing; if such a guard is armed with AK-47 rifle, how do you control that, how do you prevent such AK-47 (riffle) from going into wrong hands?” Moshood questioned.

He also disputed claims that the ranch guards who were inaugurated by the state government were unarmed, insisting that the police have their evidence.

The Force spokesman noted that it was unlawful for any person to be in possession of arm without the consent of the Federal Government.

He added that the said ranch guards were meant to take note of any suspicious activity and report to the police, stressing that investigations had revealed that they were carrying prohibited weapons.

On Ortom’s claims, Moshood said: “Yes, I’m disputing that because we have evidence that they were armed with AK-47 rifles.”

“It is equally important for people to know that we are investigating that, we must know the source of these AK-47 rifles.

“Any organisation that you are setting up before you can carry firearms must be approved by the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and it shouldn’t be a prohibited firearm.

“When you don’t draw the police into this and you arm people, you turn them into militias because you don’t control what they do with these firearms,” he added.

The Force spokesman, however, said the police have been supporting the Benue State government in terms of implementing the law on prohibition of open-grazing in the state.

According to him, the police have a responsibility to support any law made at all levels of government, as well as the ones made by the leadership of any community towards keeping the peace in the society.

Moshood said, “Even when you look at the international law, it’s like picking a cutlass and cutting a footpath and everybody is compelled to pass the footpath; so if that is the norms of the people, we should enforce it for them.”

Osinbajo Denies Receiving Letter From Benue Govt Over Herdsmen Attacks




Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, was shocked by a news report ostensibly quoting the Benue State Governor Sam Ortom as saying that the VP was warned of the savage and inhumane killings by alleged herdsmen in Logo and Guma local government areas which took place on the 1st of January 2018

Although the Vice President, Prof. Osinbajo, does not believe that the Governor could ever have said so, it will be a terrible falsehood to suggest that the VP was ever informed by the Governor or anyone else of the imminence of the killing of citizens of our country in those or any other local governments in Benue State.

Governor Ortom wrote to the Vice President, then Acting President, on 7th June 2017 protesting a newspaper publication where the leadership of Miyetti Allah was reported to have stated that it was opposed to the Open Grazing Prohibition law of the State and that they would mobilize to resist the law. The Miyetti Allah had written to the Vice President on the 5th of June 2017 on the same law protesting several sections of the law. The Governor went on to say that the leadership of Miyetti Allah should be arrested because they used words such as “wicked, obnoxious and repressive,” to describe the law, and because these were “utterances that are capable of undermining the peace…”

The Vice President subsequently met with the Governor, discussed the matter and the security situation in the State and then ordered law enforcement agencies to be on the alert to prevent any attacks or violence. This was in June 2017!

In the said letter written by the Governor, there was no mention of any threat to any specific one of the 23 local governments of Benue State, so the best the law enforcement agencies could do even then was to await information or intelligence of an imminent attack. Nonep came. Since then the VP has held several meetings with the Benue State Governor, including a visit to the State on the 6th of September, last year at the behest of Mr. President during the tragic floods in the state last year. At all such meetings, the Vice President discussed the security situation of the State with the Governor.

Following that, the then Acting President convened a major national security retreat which was attended by all State Governors, service chiefs and heads of security agencies. The Retreat featured very detailed discussions on the herdsmen/ farmers’ clashes.

To the best of our knowledge, neither Governor Ortom nor the Federal Government was aware of the imminence of the cowardly attack on Logo and Guma on the 1st of January, and therefore any suggestion that the President or the Vice President ignored the State Governor’s warning is both absolutely false and certainly misleading.

Laolu Akande

Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity to the President

Office of the Vice President

15 January 2018

Benue Clash: FG Implores Media, Others Not To Worsen Situation

The Federal Government has implored the media and public commentators to exercise utmost restraint in their coverage of the fallouts of the recent farmers/herders’ clash in Benue State in order not to further inflame passion and worsen the situation.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Saturday by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said that while the Federal Government was working hard to address the situation with a view to preventing a recurrence not just in Benue State but everywhere across the country, it was incumbent on the media and public commentators not to engage in actions that can aggravate the crisis.

“’Lest we are misunderstood, we are neither saying the media should not cover the crisis nor asking public commentators to desist from commenting on it. All we are saying is that both must be circumspect.

“The current poisoned atmosphere of incendiary comments, unrestrained use of pictures and footages that offend human sensibilities as well as finger-pointing can only exacerbate the situation and complicate ongoing efforts to end the crisis,” he said.

Mohammed said the Federal Government was absolutely saddened by the loss of lives and the destruction of property resulting from the crisis, and recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari, in commiserating with the Benue State Governor, unreservedly condemned the killings and also assured of the necessary security measures to prevent further attacks and bring the perpetrators to book.

He said the Federal Government had also mapped out short and long-term solutions to the incessant clashes between farmers and herders, including a planned conference of stakeholders, and assured of the government’s strong determination to find a lasting solution to the farmers/herders’ clashes.

Buhari’s Campaign For 2019 At This Time Is Political Sacrilege

Senator Shehu Sani, representative of Kaduna Central, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to forget his ambition of running for a second term next year and address the security situation of the nation and other national challenges.

The senator said: “It is wrong to be talking of the re-election of Buhari as President when hundreds of lives are being lost and people are being massacred in different parts of the country.

“In time of bloodshed like this, the issue should be how to come together and address the problem. But those marketing the President at a time of this bloodshed are like people dancing on the graves of Nigerians.

“Campaigning for Buhari for next year’s election when people are being killed, when orphans and widows are being produced as a result of the tragedy of these circumstances and people are being kidnapped, I think amounts to political sacrilege.

“It is an insult on the conscience of Nigerians and it is an insult on the moral integrity of Nigerians for anybody to ignore what is happening and simply walk to the President and tell him that what is important at this material time is his re-election campaign for next year’s election…

“If we allow this trend to continue, it would threaten the peace and unity of this country.

“I advise people advising the President and strategising for him to contest the elections to spare him some time, advise him well and provide a solid strategy to end the carnage and atrocities that is going on in the country today.

“Human life is more important than politics, because you cannot preside over dead people. The images we see in both social and traditional media is heart-rending and despicable.

“I can tell you that over a year ago, the President was in Zamfara State in military fatigue to address the problem of banditry and mass killing. The President should be seen in any part of the country where such violence occurs.

“The President must visit Southern Kaduna, Birnin Gwari, Taraba, Benue, Rivers and Adamawa states. It gives people some hope that their Commander-in-Chief is determined and committed to defend and protect them.”