BENUE MASSACRE: NOW THAT THE KILLERS ARE NOT HERDSMEN

Senseless killings have become a trend in Benue State for enormous

reasons chief of which may be a perceived inability of the government

to provide adequate policing within the dictates of its territory.

Nigeria no doubt is at the threshold of history where insurgencies,

corruption, ethnic bigotry, religious extremism, ritual killings, and

other mundane happenings have continued unabated thus, threatening our

peaceful coexistence as a nation. The Nigerian military and other

security agencies have performed creditably in the fight against

insurgency. Although the insurgents have been greatly decimated but

yet to be completely disbanded, there is a need to continuously

mobilize support and pray for our gallant officers in the battle

field. They are indeed the defenders of our democracy.

Recently in the county town of Zaki-Biam, a Tiv speaking community in

Benue state, tragedy struck when about fifty persons were mowed down

and several others injured by attackers whom inhabitants suspected to

be the murderous Fulani herdsmen. In what appears to be a twist of

fate however, the trio of the Benue State Governor, Inspector General

of Police and the Benue State Commissioner of police, have come out to

debunk their claims, stating that the marauders are not herdsmen but

“criminals” loyal to the dreaded militant leader, Terwase Agwaza aka

Gana. Time they say heals every wound but memories of the Agatu

genocide, Buruku, Guma and Okpokwu killings may not be forgotten in a

hurry, in spite of the economic recession and socio-political tides in

our contemporary Nigeria. Indeed, Gana and his boys must be insane if

they are responsible for all the killings in Benue State.

Recall that some time ago, Northern Governors posited after series of

meetings in the Arewa House that the killers of innocent Nigerians are

not Fulani herdsmen but migrants from other parts of Africa. One thing

that comes to mind is, with all these revelations as to who and who

are behind these attacks, ground breaking arrests have not been made

and the Northern elites are always quick to exonerate the herdsmen

whenever the need arises. Once the cause of a problem is known,

proffering a solution should become relatively easier. If the killers

of innocent indigenes of Benue state and other parts of the country

are not herdsmen but criminals and migrants respectively, then it is

expected that this deleterious cancer which has eaten so deep into our

national fabric will soon be a thing of the past.
Although Governor Ortom, the Chief Security Officer of Benue State

declined mentioning names of the sponsors of the Zaki-Biam massacre in

a recent chat with pressmen for obvious reasons, it is our wish that

the perpetrators be brought to book soonest. In the wake of the search

for Gana and his boys however, any further attack on our communities

may put to question, the claims that herdsmen have nothing to do with

the killings in Benue State.
Now that the killers of Benue indigenes have been identified as

criminals, government and security agencies at all levels must work

assiduously to save our people from the claws of these blood thirsty

elements. They must as a matter of urgency ensure a more secured Benue

State because there might be more to the Benue killings than meet the

eyes. Politicians should also desist from playing games with the lives

of our people in a bid to earn cheap popularity. It is the primary

responsibility of any government to protect the lives and properties

of her citizenry and Benue people must enjoy this onus of government

towards them.
Comra Omaga E. Danielde is the spokesperson of Benue Elite Development

Network (BENNETWORK) and writes from Abuja.


Source: The Nigerian Voice (opinions)