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Buhari says perpetrators of Benue violence won’t escape justice


Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. Photo: Reuters

President Muhammadu Buhari met Benue State leaders at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Tuesday over the recent attacks on some communities in the state, asking them to accommodate their countrymen.

The president, according to a statement by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, called on the state’s leaders to restrain their people from aggravating the incident.

President Buhari assured them that all the perpetrators of violence in the state would be made to face the wrath of the law.

“Your Excellency, the governor, and all the leaders here, I am appealing to you to try to restrain your people. I assure you that the Police, the Department of State Security and other security agencies had been directed to ensure that all those behind the mayhem get punished.

“I ask you in the name of God to accommodate your countrymen. You can also be assured that I am just as worried, and concerned with the situation,” the president said.

As assuaging and assuring as President Buhari’s speech to Benue leaders was, it is not enough to heal their festering wounds. This is considering the fact that the Presidency and security agents had allegedly ignored earlier calls by the Benue people to forestall the attacks. Now that many Benue people have been killed and no arrest has been made, how would President Buhari expect Benue leaders and Nigerians to believe him that perpetrators of the crime will not go scot-free as usual?

How would Buhari expect Benue people to accommodate their enemies (herdsmen) that specialised in destroying their farms and killing them? Can President Buhari or security agents tell Nigerians why no member of Miyetti Allah has been arrested, questioned or investigated in Benue, despite the fact that they are the key suspects, having strongly opposed the anti-grazing law from the onset?

Instead of playing the ostrich or shielding those behind the incessant herdsmen and farmers’ clash in Nigeria, especially in Benue State, it is high time the government and security agents tackle the growing monster head on, knowing fully well that no one will be spared when the bubble burst. Treating it with kid’s glove as being done is very dangerous and disturbing.

That was how the Boko Haram insurgency started gradually some years ago and has become a global security challenge today. Nigerians cannot afford to battle two terrorist groups at once, even as it has become difficult to defeat Boko Haram. This is why all hands must sincerely be on deck to tackle herdsmen menace, before it goes out of hand.

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