Leaders of three major ethnic groups in Benue state have said that the condolence message sent by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Governor and People of the state was not from the bottom of his heart hence, they rejected it.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, on behalf of the Benue groups, the President General of Mdzough U Tiv, Engineer Ujege, posited that President Buhari has failed woefully to defend the people of Benue state in the face of sustained killings by the Fulani herdsmen.
His words, “Benue State are (sic) not ready to accept tLeaders of some key groups from Benue State have rejected the condolence message by President Muhammadu Buhari on the heels of the latest round of killings by suspected Fulani militia.
“Benue State are (sic) not ready to accept the condolence message sent to Governor Ortom and the Peoples of the State by President Buhari because it is not from the bottom of the President’s heart.
”We believe that the Government is playing to the gallery.There is no safeguard and guarantee that these incidences will not occur again.This is how the crises in the north east began and nothing was done until it degenerated into full scale war.The blood of those killed is on the heads of those running the Federal Government.”
Expressing their disappointment with President Buhari, the groups said, “We, the people of Benue, wish to remind the President that we voted massively for this government to protect us and provide conducive atmosphere for development but the reverse is now the case.
“We also want to remind the President that he swore (to) an oath to defend all citizens of Nigeria but had failed woefully in the discharge of this responsibility in Benue State.”
The groups further said, “ We are calling on all political parties especially the All Progressives Congress,APC which is running the Federal Government ,to stand up against the planned genocide in Benue State.
“We are calling on all tribal associations to stand up to be counted on the side of Benue people in this trying times and where possible provide relief to the internally displaced people who are amassing in the small villages that are yet to be attacked.”
The groups pointedly blamed Fulani militia for the series of attacks in Benue.In particular, they noted that they had previously raised the alarm over the activities of suspected Fulani militia and Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore. They said, the government had been sufficiently alerted over alleged plans to invade Benue State in the aftermath of the anti-open grazing legislation.
However, “We, the three socio-cultural organizations are disappointed that despite our advocacy and pleas, there were no actions from any quarters.The President, Muhammadu Buhari especially turned a deaf ear to our predicament,” the prominent leaders from Benue State said.
But President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to punish the perpetrators of the killings in Benue.Minister of Interior, Lt-Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazzaau said this during a visit Thursday to Governor Ortom .Dambazzau spoke as Buhari’s representative .
Recall that President Buhari had condemned the killings in a condolence message.He also described the latest Benue killings in Guma and Logo council areas as “wicked and callous.”
“This is one attack too many, and everything must be done to provide security for the people in our rural communities,” Buhari said in a statement signed by Malam Garba Shehu,Senior Special Assistant (Media and Publicity) to the President.