February 1, 2023

APC playing negative politics with Benue killings — PDP

By Peter Duru, Makurdi

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has lampooned the All Progressives Congress, APC, over its recent claim that the Benue State government, the Community Volunteer Guards and Benue Livestock Guards were instigating armed herdmen killings in the state.

The party noted that the position of APC on the issue of herdsmen killings in Benue “has over the years remained negative play of politics, the type that aims to rubbish the pro-people’s stand of Governor Samuel Ortom.”

It would be recalled that the leadership of the APC in Benue State, led by the Chairman, Austin Agada had at a recent media briefing accused the Community Volunteer Guards and Benue Livestock Guards as well as Governor Ortom of encouraging the attacks on Benue communities by armed herders through the enforcement of the state’s grazing law.

Reacting to the allegestion on Wednesday in Makurdi, the State Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Bemgba Iortyom described the outing as another shameful twisted narrative to exonerate armed herdsmen from the killings in the state.

The party alleged that the APC had clearly aligned with the leadership of Miyetti Allah and remained supportive of its bloodletting activities in the state.

According to him, “It is clear to see that while APC’s accusations against Benue people are callous and come at such most unfortunate moments and do certainly rub off negatively with the people, they nevertheless serve to please the sponsors of the criminal herdsmen who are also the sponsors of that party here in the state and who need a justification for the atrocities being meted out against innocent people, including women, children and the old in Benue.

“This latest round of APC’s accusations against the government and people of Benue is coming just days after the herdsmen launched an unprovoked bloody attack on Abagana, a community in the outskirts of Makurdi town, directly opposite the main camp for persons internally displaced from their ancestral homes by the herdsmen attacks and taking refuge there.

“APC in Benue may wish to explain to the people if cattle rustling has been the reason for herdsmen killings across the entire stretch of the North-Central geo-political area of Nigeria as has been taking place over the course of the recent past.

“How could any sane person accuse the Benue Community Volunteer Guards and the Benue Livestock Guards of cattle rustling when the records are there clearly with relevant agencies of state, including the Justice Department and the Benue State Internal Revenue Service (BIRS) how many heads of cattle have been confiscated in line with provisions of law, and how much has been generated as revenue to the state from the fines paid by owners of the cattle and which have been returned to them?

“How could it be in doubt to any right thinking person the gains so far made by the Prohibition of Open Grazing and Ranches Establishment Law and its enforcement by the Livestock Guards in keeping the larger parts of Benue lands inaccessible to criminal herdsmen who without the law in place would, from all indications of intent and purpose, by now have taken over the lands of the state with little resistance or hindrance?

“By APC’s logic exonerating Fulani herdsmen of guilt over killings in Benue, every man woman and child is fair game to the invaders, yet to natural law, justice and equity, no one may arrogate to themselves powers over the lives of others in the manner the herdsmen seek to do in our state, and it is in light of this universal truism and standard that PDP remains unshaken in resolve to sustain and strengthen the Prohibition of Open Grazing and Ranches Establishment Law should it receive a renewal of the governmental mandate it currently enjoys from the Benue electorate.”