..insists Ortom owes no one apology over armed herders stance
By Peter Duru, Makurdi
Indications emerged at the weekend that over 800,000 persons who were rendered homeless in Benue communities by armed herdsmen are still trapped in Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camps in the state.
National President of the Benue Alliance for Truth and Justice, BATJ, Mr. Peter Shande made the disclosure while briefing the press in Makurdi in reaction to the recent statement credited to Alhaji Salihu Mohammed, Chairman of Arewa Youths for Peace and Development,
The Arewa youth Chairman had in his outing demanded an apology from Governor Samuel Ortom to his Bauchi state counterpart saying “calling Governor Bala Mohammed a terrorist is unacceptable, erroneous, unfair and we demand unreserved apology to the Governor and Nigerians by Governor Ortom.
But standing in defense of Governor Ortom, the National President of BATJ said the Governor owes no one an apology stressing that “people of Benue state have been victims of Fulani carnage for years.
“Several communities across the state have been destroyed by armed Fulani herdsmen and our people sacked from their ancestral homes.
“They have rendered over 800,000 people homeless who now live in IDP camps. It was therefore provocative and an insult to the sensibilities of the people of Benue and Nigeria for the Bauchi governor to support Fulani herdsmen to be carrying AK47 assault riffles while herding their cattle.
“Our take also on the spurious demands by the Salihu led Arewa Youth group is that the Fulani menace has dominated the six years Governor Ortom has spent as the Governor of Benue State.
“It is unfortunate to say that he has buried more citizens killed by the Fulani than all the past administrations put together. The invasion by the Fulani herdsmen on Benue communities is more horrendous than the killings in Zaki Biam,
“The Arewa Youth Group is as unpatriotic in their actions as their intent to cast aspersions on Governor Ortom have turned out to be. It is a fact that the federal government has been lenient towards the criminal Fulani herdsmen and their leadership.
“This is a band of terrorists gang that has held Nigeria to ransom, raping, burning and killing citizens and none has been apprehended and prosecuted. To make matters worse, they are now armtwisting the federal government to grant them amnesty. For what?
“These are the same groups of people Governor Bala Mohammed is encouraging to carry dangerous weapons to continue to kill our people. We cannot therefore sit back and watch.”
Vanguard News Nigeria
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