Save Benue From Being Overrun By Herdsmen, Group Tells Tinubu | Independent Newspaper Nigeria

2024-05-09 20:10:55

Independent Newspapers Nigeria

MAKURDI - A group, under the aegis of Defenders for Democracy (DoD), have cried out to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to save Benue State from the hands of marauding armed herdsmen, before it is overran by the assailants.

DoD, which was reacting to an attack on Father Angus Frazer Memorial High School, Makurdi on Wednesday, a development that compelled the authorities of the Catholic Church, owners of the school to shut it, argued that it was worrisome now that the herders were getting to the point of attacking a school, right in the heart of Makurdi, the state capital.

In an open letter to President Tinubu, on Thursday, and signed by the DoD, president, Amos Uchiv, titled, "Before Herdsmen Overrun Makurdi", Uchiv, pointed out that the attack is an indication that "death is knocking at our doors, if nothing is done urgently."

DoD which noted that the state was in dire need of protection to ensure the safety and security of the Benue people, alleged that the security situation in Benue was fast deteriorating, and calls for immediate action to avert further loss of lives and displacement of innocent people.

While Uchiv expressed confidence in the ability of President Tinubu to ensure that respite came to Benue, he alleged that the silence of the State Governor, Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia, whose responsibility it was to protect the lives and property of the people, has further served to compound the fears of the Benue people.

According to Uchiv, "As a concerned group of citizens of this country and indigenes of Benue State in particular, we have watched with heavy hearts the escalating humanitarian crisis in the state, where armed herders have been ruthlessly attacking and killing innocent people.

"Yesterday's attack on Fr. Angus Frazer Memorial High School in Makurdi which forced the Catholic Church authorities to announce the closure of the school is a stark reminder of the grave situation that has befallen our beloved state, Benue.

"Mr President, we are deeply worried over the fate of our people who live in the border areas and communities prone to these attacks by herders. Our fear is made worse by the apparent silence of the state Governor, Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia whose primary responsibility it is to protect the lives and property of the people. His Excellency Governor Alia does not seem to be disturbed by what is happening in our state. The Governor is strangely silent in the face of the grave situation.

"Mr President, it is heartbreaking to witness so many people displaced from their ancestral lands, living in fear and uncertainty, due to the continuous onslaught by the armed invaders who have vowed to take over our lands and occupy.

"The fact that the attackers are now coming closer to the extent of attacking a popular school right in Makurdi, the state capital means that death is knocking at our doors, if nothing is done urgently. Throughout last night (Wednesday night), many residents of Welfare Quarters at Utuur Lay out Phase 3, Makurdi could not go to sleep. The same feeling of anxiety enveloped other parts of Makurdi, especially those on the outskirts of the city. No one was sure of what to expect."

The DoD President further explained that, "It will interest Mr President to know that despite this dreadful situation, Governor Alia has not bothered to issue a statement to assure the people of their safety and the efforts his government is making to address the spate of insecurity in the state.

"We appeal to Mr President (Bola Tinubu), to intervene urgently and prevent Benue State from being overrun by armed assailants. The people of Benue State are in dire need of protection and assistance to ensure their safety and security. The situation is rapidly deteriorating, and immediate action is needed to prevent further loss of lives and displacement of innocent civilians.

"We must not fail to express our deep disappointment in the inaction of Governor Alia, in addressing and curbing these attacks. His lack of decisive action has only exacerbated the crisis and left the people vulnerable to further attacks.

"As a leader with a strong commitment to justice, peace, and security, we appeal to you Mr President to intervene in the security situation in Benue State and ensure that the necessary measures are taken to protect the lives of the people. We as Benue people are confident in your leadership and are looking up to you for help and support at this challenging and desperate time in our lives.

"Your Excellency, we appeal that you act swiftly to prevent further bloodshed and displacement of thousands of people in our state. Your intervention is crucial in bringing an end to the mindless killings and restoring peace and stability to the state.

"Lastly, we wish to remind Governor Hyacinth Alia that the primary responsibility of government is the protection of lives which comes before any other consideration. Ignoring this constitutional duty of government is akin to negligence of his mandate," Uchiv insisted.

2024-05-09 News