By Peter Duru, Makurdi
The tribal leaders of Benue state under the aegis of the Mdzough U Tiv, MUT, Ochetoha K’Idoma, OKI, and Omi Ny’Igede, ONI, have raised the alarm, alleging the build-up of armed herdsmen on the border communities between Benue and Nasarawa state ahead of attacks on communities in the state.
They alleged that the build-up started after 52 Fulani personalities led by the former Emir of Kano, Alhaji Lamido Sanusi wrongly blamed Governor Samuel Ortom for the blast in Akwanaja, in Doma LGA of Nasarawa State that claimed the lives of about 40 persons of Fulani origin.
The tribal leaders called on the Nigerian government and the global community to hold the 52 Fulani leaders responsible if militia herders unleash mayhem in Benue state in the days ahead.
In a statement issued on Sunday in Makurdi and signed by Chief Iorbee Ihagh, President General MUT worldwide, AVM Tony Adokwu (retd.) President General OKI and Dr. Ben Okpa, President ONI said by twisting the facts of the blast, Alhaji Sanusi and his group had set up Governor Ortom and the state for attacks by militia herdsmen.
According to the leaders, “In a document, which was signed by Sanusi, 51 others and forwarded to the Presidency, the former CBN Governor alleged that the Benue State Governor masterminded the killings.
“Even though the military has claimed responsibility for the air strike that killed the terrorists, Sanusi and his cohorts are hell-bent on making the allegations on the Governor stick, this amounts to giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it.
“We have also identified the desperate attempt by Sanusi and his band of supporters to give the incident an ethnic coloration, thereby setting Benue State up against the armed herdsmen invasion.
“Otherwise, how would someone like Sanusi place the cost of one cow at N1 million, if it is not in a desperate attempt to cause disaffection, pick a fight and get a reason to attack Benue communities?
“The grand conspiracy by Sanusi and his ‘partners’ may have also begun to work out in their favour, with the annihilation of peasant farmers from their communities on both divides, through reprisals, since they leveled the false allegations against Governor Ortom.
“Also, after carrying out several reprisal attacks on Tiv communities, both in Benue and Nasarawa States, the terrorists are now gathering at the border between Benue and Nasarawa, preparatory to launch further attacks on unsuspecting communities in Benue state.
“We, therefore, call on the security agencies to arrest, question, and subsequently hold Sanusi and his cohorts responsible for the reprisal attacks that have already taken place as well as any further attacks on the people of Benue State.
We state this without mincing words because for the former Governor of the CBN to set Governor Ortom up for hatred and declare him as an enemy of the Fulani race is a deliberate attempt to incite and stir up strife, which is an offense punishable by law.”
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