President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday expressed grief over the incessant attacks and killing of innocent people in Benue State by armed Fulani herdsmen saying he was deeply pained over the killings.
Besides, the President acknowledged the contributions of people of the state towards nation building and the deserved to be actively involved in the national scheme of things of the country and vowed to do everything possible to put an end to the ongoing Killings in the state.
President Buhari, represented by his Vice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, disclosed this while addressing key stakeholders at the new banquet hall of the government house in 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 this killings. Though I don’t believe that there is ethnic cleansing, 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 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.
I saw the displaced persons at IDPs 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 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 Ortom who also spoke at the meeting, lauded the support given the state through massive deployment of security operatives to quell the crisis like.
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 apparatuses and the release of funds to the state to accord them a befitting burial.
Former Military Administrator of Katsina State, Gen. Lawrence Onoja told the President that Benue State value three things, Education, Agriculture and Military but most of these things have been greatly affected due to the lingering Fulani crisis in Benue state.
General Onoja who advocated for the establishment of a reconstruction commission charged with the responsibility of address issues of devastated communities, noted that the N10 billion earmarked by the federal government for the rebuilding of devastated villages in Benue and other states of the federation is grossly inadequate.
“I thought the N10 billion that was released was for Benue State alone, I never knew other States are part of it, however, we humbly request that Benue should get much of its utilization”.
In a remark, the Catholic Bishop of Gboko Diocese, Bishop Williams Avenya, urged the President to do his best to stop these killings and save his name.
Other speakers including former Minister of State for Education, Prof. Jerry Agada and member of the House of Representative for Jechira constituency, Hon. Magdalene Dura among others lamented the absence of federal presence including roads, education and other infrastructure.
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