Benue Elders Set for Showdown with Buhari
On Monday, 15 February, President Buhari had an emergency meeting with a delegation of Benue political leaders, traditional rulers and elders led by Governor Samuel Ortom at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The roll calls at the meeting include Benue State Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu, former Senate President, David Mark, former Benue State Governor, Sen. George Akume and Sen. Barnabas Gemade. Others include Sen. JK Waku, Gen. Lawrence Onoja (rtd), Brig. Gen. John Atom Kpera (rtd), former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Michael Aondoakaa and the Speaker of Benue State House of Assembly, Terkimbir Kyambe.
During the meeting, Mr President was said to have pleaded with his guests to work on accommodating the Fulani herdsmen, who recently inflicted series of brutal attacks on some Benue communities. But the delegates were said to have insisted that the herdsmen, who killed many innocent people of the state, are no longer welcome.
“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 country men. You can also be assured that I am just as worried, and concerned with the situation,’’ Buhari told his guests in Abuja.
But the Gov Ortom led delegates were not satisfied with the remarks, considering the gravity of the serial murder of innocent souls committed by the Fulani herdsmen. A source close to the Benue leaders told this magazine that “we don’t trust the president on this issue. Why is he just acting now after the herdsmen have done their worst? We expected him to have ordered the military in, just as it was the case in Anambra, but he failed to do that.”
Meanwhile, it was gathered that President Buhari called for the meeting after he was told that Benue State government has allegedly fortified a local militia group to combat the menace of the herdsmen.