12 January 2018

Nigeria: Benue Killings - Nasarawa Governor, Monarchs Deny Harbouring Killer Herdsmen

Photo: The Guardian
Armed herdsmen.

Governor Tanko Al-Makura and other stakeholders in Nasarawa State have denied the allegation by Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue that Nasarawa State is harbouring killer herdsmen in Tunga, Awe local Government Area.

Mr. Al-Makura, while making a presentation at a stakeholders' meeting convened by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, in Lafia on Thursday, described the allegation as "grievous, unacceptable and terribly speculative".

He said the Benue governor's accusation that Nasarawa State had camped killer herdsmen to attack his state was a stigma and an aspersion on the state.

"This is an unfair comment to make of Nasarawa State, especially that we enjoy very cordial relationship and can always be reached with any evidence in that regard.

"In any case, the onus of proof lies with the accuser and I would appeal to my colleague to avail security operatives with the details of where he thinks the killer herdsmen are being camped.

"I can assure you as the chief security officer of the state that we would give the police all the necessary support to comb every part of the state to ascertain whether there is any such thing," Mr. Al-Makura added.

He said he had never received any security reports from the state either from security officers or his administrative detail of the existence of such killer herdsmen camping in Nasarawa State.

Mr. Al-Makura pointed out that Awe, where the killer herdsmen were allegedly being camped, had become a sanctuary for displaced persons, mostly of Tiv extraction, from both states.

Similarly, the Emir of Tunga, Bala Galadima, expressed worry over the allegation.

He said there was no such camp in Tunga as the people in the area had a security apparatus in place to detect strangers among them.

Mr. Galadima said many Tiv people were fleeing their homes in panic because of the attacks in Benue and noted that farmers and herdsmen in the area had lived peacefully over the years.

The Emir of Lafia, Mustapha Agwai I, described the statement credited to Mr. Ortom as hate speech and urged the stakeholders to condemn it.

He urged leaders to desist from making unguarded statements capable of breaching the peace.

The Emir of Azara, Ibrahim Musa, said there was no crisis in Nasarawa State but panic attack orchestrated by poor implementation of the anti-open grazing law in Benue.

He called on the federal government to investigate the implementation of the law to ascertain the provision of ranches and other facilities as spelt out by the law in Benue.

However, some stakeholders of Tiv extraction said some of their kinsmen were killed in the attacks.

The Nasarawa State Commissioner for Environment, Gabriel Aka'aka, expressed worry over the alleged attack on Tiv people in Nasarawa State when they had nothing to do with the anti-open grazing law in Benue.

He stressed the need for security reinforcement along the border communities to apprehend the "mysterious killers" in the areas.


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