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Buhari orders probe of fresh Benue

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Buhari• Fayose, HURIWA decry killings by Fulani herdsmen
• Say Presidency, police, DSS action worrisome
• Group opposes grazing reserve as panacea to herdsmen, farmers clash

IN his reaction to the renewed clashes between Fulani herdsmen and indigenes of some communities in Benue State, President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered an investigation into the incident with a view to determining the remote causes.

In a statement through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu yesterday, Buhari, who expressed deep shock at the latest incident during the past week, which led to hundreds of deaths in four communities in Agatu, Benue State, has ordered security agencies to get to the root causes of the problem.

His words: “We will conduct an investigation to know exactly what happened; the only way to bring an end to the violence once and for all is to look beyond one incident and ascertain exactly what factors are behind the conflicts.”

In another development, Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, has described as worrisome the silence of President Muhammadu Buhari on the alleged killing of harmless Nigerians by Fulani herdsmen.

The governor, who described activities of the Fulani herdsmen as inimical to the revival of agriculture in the country, said:
“Farmlands costing billions of naira have been destroyed in states in the South-West, South-East and North-Central zones of the country. One wonders how Nigerians can go back to farming when those already in the farms are losing billions of naira worth of crops to destruction of their farmlands by the Fulani herdsmen and the Federal Government is not doing anything about it.”

In a statement issued yesterday by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Governor Fayose, who expressed his sympathy to the victims and their families, added that the Federal Government must stop playing ostrich to the menace of the Fulani herdsmen.

“If in the last one week, over 300 Nigerians were allegedly killed, several villages razed with farmlands destroyed by Fulani herdsmen and President Buhari is comfortable junketing from one country to the other, something is definitely wrong somewhere.

“This is because in saner climes, no country will have over 300 of its citizens reportedly killed with thousands others displaced and the leader of such country will not rush home from wherever he is to take charge of the situation by himself.”

Besides, a pro-democracy non-governmental organisation, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has accused the Nigeria Police Force and the Department of State Service (DSS) of compromise in the ongoing killings across the country by armed Fulani herdsmen.

It therefore warned against sweeping the killings of innocent farmers by armed Fulani herdsmen under the carpets as that would in the long run result in vicious revenge killings by persons whose breadwinners have been gruesomely murdered in their sleep by the rampaging armed Fulani herdsmen.

The rights group said it was painful that President Muhammadu Buhari could jet off to Saudi Arabia and other Middle-East nations amidst these catastrophic attacks masterminded by his kinsmen.

However, as communities across Nigeria continue to grapple with clashes between herdsmen and farmers, a group, Nigeria Christian Graduate Fellowship (NCGF), yesterday faulted Federal Government’s proposal of establishing grazing reserves as way out of the incessant clashes. They suggested the establishment of ranches as the permanent solution.

President of NCGF, Dr. Samuel Itina, who stated this yesterday in Benin City shortly after the meeting of the national leadership of the association ahead of its coming national conference coming up later in the year in Edo State, told journalists that creating grazing reserves would further worsen the crisis as it may lead to the herdsmen having exclusive access to the areas.



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