February 19, 2024

Attacks: Benue Assembly berated over 7days ultimatum to Security Advisers

Attacks: Benue Assembly berated over 7days ultimatum to Security Advisers

By Peter Duru, Makurdi

Two Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, under the aegis of Special Group  Mobilization, SGM, and Benue Levites, BL, have berated the Benue State House of Assembly over its recent call on the Security Advisers to the State Governor to resign over the influx of herdsmen and attacks on communities in the state.

The groups in separate statements issued weekend in Makurdi by their leaders Terungwa Tyongi, Coordinator of
SGM and James Abeikya the Executive Director of BL, described the position of the Assembly as unacceptable saying it was not taken in good faith.

Recall that the Assembly had last Tuesday slammed a seven-day ultimatum on the Special Adviser to the Governor on Internal Security, Chief Joseph Har and his counterpart on External and Strategy, Lt. Col. Alexander Ashungu urging them to step aside if they could not within the said time proffer solutions to the herdsmen incursions and security challenges facing the state.

The groups noted that it was ridiculous for the lawmakers to blame the influx of herdsmen on the Advisers who they claimed were highly experienced and knowledgeable in handling the present situation and were clearly doing their best to avert any form of bloodshed in the communities.

They pointed out that the manner the Advisers had so far handled the delicate situation which led to the arrest and prosecution of five armed bandits who flouted the state’s anti-open grazing law in Ukum and Makurdi Local Government Areas, LGAs, ought to have been commended by the lawmakers.

The SGM in its statement noted that the Security Advisers’ initiative to stop Benue Livestock Guards from arresting the cows found in communities which usually exposed the locals to attacks by the marauders had reduced incidents of invasions and killings of innocent people in Benue communities.

Part of the statement read: “We hail the decision taken by the Security Advisers to Governor Hyacinth Alia to stop the Livestock Guards from the unwholesome practices where they arrest cows and left our villages unprotected for herdsmen to return to attack and kill our innocent people.

“That is why we want to sound that we will hold the Assembly members responsible if they pressurised the Security Advisers to reverse this decision because the old practice was to arrest cattle and leave their owners who later engaged mercenaries to invade our communities and killed innocent people. We preferred that the matter is handled tactfully to avoid bloodshed.”

Also, the Executive Director of BL, Mr. Abeikya in his statement informed that, “since the assumption of office of the Advisers, five armed bandits who flouted the state anti open grazing law are being prosecuted. It clearly showed that they are up and doing and are carefully handling the situation.”

He advised the lawmakers to be in touch with their respective constituents to be abreast with various moves and initiatives the present administration was taking to combat insecurity in the state.

Meanwhile, the Advisers had last Thursday summoned a meeting of traditional rulers, Local Government Council Chairmen, the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, MACBAN, security heads and other stakeholders where they resolved to join forces to halt the influx of foreign armed herders into the State and also collaborate to ease them out of the state.