President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday expressed grief over the incessant attacks and killings in Benue State by suspected armed herdsmen, saying that he was deeply pained over the killings.
The President also acknowledged the contributions of the people of the state towards nation building, saying they deserved to be actively involved in the scheme of things and vowed to do everything possible to put an end to the killings in the state.
President Buhari, represented by the Vice- President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, disclosed this while addressing stakeholders at the new banquet hall of the Government House, Makurdi, the state capital.
“I am a Christian, a born again Christian and a Professor of Law, Law of Evidence, I must fight for justice. I am pained about these killings. Though, I don’t believe that there is ethnic cleansing, but we must put an end to this. I am prepared to leave my position at any time. No one owes the destiny of another, the word of God cannot be killed. We shall do all we can to bring a permanent solution to this crisis. We shall make sure peace returns to Benue State.
“It is undoubtedly true that Benue people have made significant contributions for the progress of the country and we need no reminding of that.” He condoled with the people of the state over the brutal murder of two Catholic priests and 17 parishioners by armed herdsmen and restated the resolve of the Federal Government to ensure the peaceful return of hundreds of the displaced persons back to their ancestral homes.
He said: “I saw the displaced persons at IDPs camps where I went and I want to assure you that they still have hope as far as they are still living.
Mr. President has given me some responsibilities and I shall carry them out. We have beefed up security already. We shall work towards the return of the IDPs back to their homes, places destroyed will be rebuilt, those out of schools will return back to their schools, farmers will be given loan to start farming, there shall be microfinance to release funds to traders to aide their trading.”
Governor Samuel Ortom, who also spoke at the meeting, lauded the support given to the state through the massive deployment of security operatives to quell the crisis.
The governor regretted the killing of the priests and other parishioners, saying it would have brought a religious crisis in the country, and appreciated the swift intervention of security men and the release of funds to the state to accord them a befitting burial.
Former Military Administrator of Katsina State, Lawrence Onoja, told the Vice-President that Benue State value three things, education, agriculture and military, but most of these things had been greatly affected due to the lingering Fulani-farmers’ crisis in the state.
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