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Published On: Fri, Mar 14th, 2014

Benue kilings: ACF calls for probe

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Governor Suswam
  • Moro condemns attack on Suswam
  • Miyetti Allah boss promises to end crisis

From Muhammad Ibrahim, Kaduna, Uche Nnorom, Makurdi & Ahmed Idris, Birnin Kebbi

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) yesterday condemned the upsurge in violence in Benue state and called for a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to be instituted to unravel the causes of the crisis.

In a statement issued by the group’s National Publicity Secretary, Muhammad Ibrahim in Kaduna, the forum charged the federal government to consider the call and set up the commission of inquiry.

“We described the situation in Benue as boiling because in the last two weeks or so, Benue state had experienced intense and vicious ethnic/communal clashes between the Tiv farmers and suspected Fulani herdsmen which had resulted into huge loss of lives and property, farm crops and herds of cattle.

“The incessant and reprisal attacks by the two communities, who have lived together peacefully for many years as partners, is worrisome and capable of undermining the long existing bond of peaceful relationships between the Tiv and the Fulani herdsmen.

“The recent attack on the convoy of the Benue state governor, Rt. Hon. Gabriel Suswam, while on assessment tour of villages destroyed as a result of communal clashes between the Tiv and some suspected herdsmen in Guma local government area, was most shocking and unfortunate.

“If the convoy of a state governor, with all the paraphernalia of security details, could be so attacked by some bandits, what hope does the common man have in the government that is primarily responsible for his security and welfare?

“The ACF once more wishes to urge the federal and all the northern states governments on the need to re-double their efforts and be proactive in tackling security challenges in their domains.

“Communities must also be vigilant and monitor suspicious people within their midst, get involved in intelligence gathering and alert security agencies in good time.

“The call by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar lll, that a Judicial Commission of Inquiry be instituted to unravel the causes of frequent clashes between the farmers and herdsmen in several states, including Benue state is most welcome and should be seriously considered by government”, the statement said.

The ACF also called on the two communities to urgently sheath their swords, stop reprisal attacks and embrace peace. “Community leaders should also refrain from making inflammatory remarks capable of destroying the peace being brokered by various leaders”, the forum warned.

The ACF also commiserated with Governor Suswam on the unfortunate incident and extended its condolences to the bereaved families who lost their loved ones.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, has described as ‘barbaric and callous’, the attack on Suswam’s convoy as well as the sack of over 100 communities by suspected Fulani herdsmen in Guma local government area.

The minister, in a press statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. George Udoh, also frowned at the cruel manner 25 persons were slaughtered by the attackers.

“It is obvious that these persons do not mean well for Nigeria and its unity and development”, the minister asserted.

He also condoled with Governor Suswam and families of the victims who lost their lives in the dastardly attacks, promising that the federal government will do all it can in securing lives and property of all Nigerians in all parts of the country.

In the meantime, the newly elected Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria [MACBAN], Alhaji Mohammad Kirowa, the Sarikin Fulanin Zuru, has assured Nigerians that his administration would find lasting solution to the Tiv/Fulani crisis in Benue state.

He raised this hope yesterday while addressing newsmen at the correspondents’ office, Birnin Kebbi, adding that Tiv and Fulani have been living in peace with one another but for the exploitation of the selfishness and greed of some the people by the devil.

“I’ve been a leader; I hold position of NURTW in the state and also at the national level and now I promise to bring peace into the Fulani cases across the country, such as the farmers and Fulani crisis in

Benue. I will work hard with my exco members to ensure that we leave a legacy behind”, he assured.

Kirowa defeated Alhaji Bello Wamakko from Sokoto state to emerge the MACBAN leader, while Baba Usman emerged National Secretary of the body.

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