By Peter Duru, Makurdi
An umbrella body of Benue youths, the Benue Youths Forum, BYF, has raised the alarm over alleged plot by herdsmen groups to orchestrate leadership change in the state vowing to resist any plot to foist such leadership on the people of the state.
The BYF noted that the sequence of threats by different herdsmen groups to move against the present administration in the state in the coming 2019 election was a clear indication that the groups had sinister motives which would be equally matched by youths of Benue
Addressing the media yesterday in Makurdi, the BYF President, Comrade Terrence Kuanum observed that “within a spate of one week, two different herdsmen groups have threatened to interfere with the 2019 electoral process in Benue State and force leadership change.
“The first group to issue such a threat was APC Fulani Nationwide which came out on October 14, 2018 to endorse one of the candidates in the coming governorship election in Benue state.
“Just last weekend, another group named Fulani Nationality Movement, FUNAM, under the leadership of Alhaji Salisu Ahmadu, vowed to remove Governor Samuel Ortom no matter what it would take.
“Considering the violent antecedents of the said groups, anyone who takes their threats for granted does so at their own risk. It is on that premise that we have elected to make this statement in unambiguous terms regarding our stand in the face of the imminent threat to democracy in Benue State.
“We want to emphasize that we are aware of all the plans of the herder groups against our people, particularly the agenda to drive Benue people away from their land and occupy it. We are therefore not surprised at the latest statements from the same groups in the build up to the 2019 general election.
“Their target is simple; remove Governor Ortom, repeal the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law and allow herdsmen with their cattle unhindered access to the vegetation in the Benue valley.”
Kuanum went on, “We suspect that the herder groups do not only have plans to mobilize against Governor Ortom during next year’s election as their only option, they may have several other hidden unconventional options.
“What they seem not to be aware of is that the enactment of the Ranching Law of the state is not the sole decision of Governor Ortom but that of the entire people of Benue.
“Unfortunately, the continued silence of the Federal Government over repeated calls for the arrest of the masterminds of the Benue killings has heightened the suspicion of complicity of some highly placed government officials in the pogrom taking place in Benue and other states of federation.”