President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday commiserated with victims of the attacks by herdsmen, even as he pleaded with the people and government of Benue State to accommodate their countrymen “in the name of God”.
Receiving a delegation of political leaders, monarchs and elders of the state led by Governor Samuel Ortom at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Monday, he urged them to exercise restraint over the attacks on some communities, assuring that all the perpetrators of violence in the state will be made to face the wrath of the law.
A statement issued by Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, quotes him as promising that all those involved in the conflict that culminated in the loss of lives would not escape justice, including any illegally armed militia in the state.
The President condoled with the families who lost loved ones and properties, pledging that the government would make efforts to ameliorate the situation of all the victims.
He said relevant agencies had been directed to start catering for the humanitarian needs.
In Buhari’s words, “Your Excellency, the governor, and all the leaders here, I am appealing to you to try to restrain your people.
“I assure you that the Police, the Department of State Security and other security agencies had been directed to ensure that all those behind the mayhem get punished.
“I ask you in the name of God to accommodate your countrymen. You can also be assured that I am just as worried, and concerned with the situation.”
The President told the delegation that his administration had already begun a process of finding a lasting solution to the perennial challenge of herdsmen conflict with farmers and communities around the country.
He said the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris, had been directed to relocate to the state to provide security for lives and properties.
He urged all Benue indigenes to trust the security agencies and report all suspicious cases of movements in the state.
In his remarks, the Benue State governor said the tension would be reduced with the Federal Government’s intervention to find a lasting solution to the herdsmen attacks.
“We will leave here to rebuild confidence in our people,’’ Ortom pledged.
Also speaking, the Tor-Tiv, Prof. James Ortese Iorzua Ayatse, said his entire domain had been thrown into mourning due to the incessant attacks.
“We want you to put an end to the gruesome situation,’’ he added.
Present at the meeting were Benue State Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu, former Senate President, David Mark, former Benue State Governor, Sen. George Akume and Sen. Barnabas Gemade. Others include Sen. JK Waku, Gen. Lawrence Onoja (rtd), Brig. Gen. John Atom Kpera (rtd), former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Michael Aondoakaa, Speaker of Benue State House of Assembly, Terkimbir Kyambe, and other members of the National and State Assembly from the state.