By Ben Idah
Idoma Youth Assembly, the umbrella body of Idoma youths has given three-week ultimatum to Fulani herdsmen residing in Benue South Senatorial district to leave or have themselves to blame.
A statement signed by the President, Dr. Patriot Ocheya Patrick Ekre, said the body has waited for so long believing that the federal government will take decisive action to put an end to the incessant killings and wanton destruction of lives and property in Idoma land and Benue State as a whole but the reverse remained the case.
The group gave the herdsmen between now and April 15 to relocate from Idoma land.
The statement reads, “We’ve come to realize the sadistic attitude of the government towards the quandary state of our helpless people. The first major attack was launched on a part of Idoma called Agatu, where over 300 persons were massacred by the Fulani’s herdsmen; nothing like mass burial was organized for the dead.
“The river, which was known and used as source of income for the farmers was completely made inaccessible because of the lifeless bodies thrown into it.
“Some were left in an open field for the animals to feed on, some escaped death with various degrees of injuries without any help, crops and property worth millions were destroyed and to this moment hundreds of Agatus are yet to return to their ancestral homes for fear of the Fulanis.”
“Shortly after the massacre, our governor, Samuel Ortom with his counterpart, governor Tanko Almakura of Nasarawa State instead of condoling with us for those we lost, regrettably went ahead and ceded a portion of Agatu land to the same Fulani herdsmen, who are killing us and as if that was not enough, the Army was sent to raid the houses of law abiding citizens who are predominantly farmers.
“We’ve carefully observed the role and the body language of both the state and federal governments and it’s quite disheartening to note that they practically failed the electorates of their primary mandate which is to give them protection. It shows how nonchalant and insensitive this government is to the plight of the populace.
“Few days after the Agatu massacre, the IG of Police Solomon Arase, sat in his office in Edet house, Abuja and said to the world that it was only five persons that were killed in Agatu.
“Barely a year plus, similar incident occurred in Benue State another IGP, Ibrahim Idris was ordered by the President to relocate to the state but he defied the order, he went ant camped in a presidential lodge in Lafia, Nasarawa State.
“This has actually made it clear to the world the reason IG Idris sealed the legitimate office of one of us, Ambassador, Dr, Dickson Akor, the Commandant of Peace Corps of Nigeria over one year even when the court have ordered the IG to unseal the premises in dual injunctions.
“The question here is, is the police boss still maintaining the law and order or defying the same order he ought to preserve?”
“We therefore call for the sack of IGP Ibrahim Idris with immediate effect and anything less than that will invariably put the integrity of Mr. President to further questioning, especially as Benue people wholeheartedly voted for him.
Benue state is one of the states that gave him the overwhelming votes that paved the way for him to enter that office and all we can receive in turn is killing and molestation.
“Consequently, we want to categorically state here that we are highly disappointed at the President Buhari’s visit to Benue State since his visitation was not to proffer solution to the killings, rather it seems we’ve been mocked and its quite unfortunate and amazing to hear from the Mr President who casually stated thus, we quote, ‘I didn’t know the IG of police never followed my orders’.
“For how long can we live in deceit and shift blames? Who is to be blamed, the IG or Mr. President? And now that he’s aware that IGP disobeyed his order what then is the sanction? To our greatest surprise, Mr. President also stated that he told the Benue people many times to live in harmony with the Fulanis! So we are to take all the blames for our killings. We are extremely tired, Yes Nigeria must move forward but we refuse to fold our hands and allow this planned agenda going on in our land.
“Recently a woman stood in the hallowed chamber of the House of Representatives to state and we quote, ‘who knows if God created Fulanis to value the life of their cows more than human lives’ and one may ask if she was elected by the cow or if she is representing animals in that chamber.
“Whatever we the good people of Idoma Nation and Benue state in general take exception to, that evil comparative we condemn in totality and refuse to be replaced by cattle; we have the right to live and as such we can no longer continue in this lamenting state of life and governmental abandonment. We at this point concluded that President is not for the people of Benue state,” the statement declared.
“However, at this juncture, we task the Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom to stop crying like a ‘drowning man’ as he was tagged by the police spokesman, Moshood Jimoh.
He should rise to the occasion and do the needful by strengthening the neighborhood watch; he should take a leeway from people like the governor of Rivers state, Barr. Nyesom Wike, since this is an obvious and deliberate attempt to reduce the Benue people for political reasons.
“Conclusively, we give all Fulanis herdsmen between now and April 15, 2018 to leave of Idoma land since the government is not ready to protect us from their swords and bullets.
“We are no longer asking Fulani herdsmen not to attack us but we are giving them final quit notice. We have publicly sounded our warning,” the group added.