Speaking to NAIJ.com, the convener of the One Idoma Initiative, Paul Edeh, said the governor’s statement that the killings in Agatu were perpetrated by Chadians, Malians and Ghanaians and not Fulani herdsmen is deceptive.
“My response to Ortom is simple, we had a town hall meeting on Tuesday, March 24, where a communique was released to the effect to let peace reign in Agatu; and there was a directive for a ceasefire by both parties,” Edeh said.
Edeh said the directive given by a combined team of notable Idoma people and the leadership of the Myetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has so far led to a ceasefire, with the Fulani herdsmen leaving A
“Except if Ortom is saying that the people that gave the directive are also Chadians and Malians, but he should acknowledge that we have made an effort and an impact to bring a lasting end this crisis rather go about and be deceiving people that it is Chadians and Malians that have been causing the mayhem,” he added. Edeh further added that the Benue state government has been insincere to Nigerians since the crisis erupted in Agatu.
He said: “Yes, the government is not sincere in tackling the issue of the Fulani herdsmen. Ortom should have known by now that after our town hall meeting, a directive have been given which have also been complied with.”
“And that the root causes of these crisis should be tackled headlong rather than go about beating about the bush; every right thinking person would know that there is peace now in Agatu. Is he (Ortom) now saying that between now and then that the directive was given, the Chadians have left?” Edeh asked.
Also, contrary to the governor’s claims, the national president of MACBAN, Othman Ngelezerma, in Abuja during a joint press conference with the One Idoma Initiative on Sunday, March 27, accepted responsibility for the attacks and for the damage done by the Fulani herdsmen, but said both parties have been affected by the crisis.
“We must work towards peace. Of course both parties have had their losses; the Fulani herdsmen also lost their cattle,” Ngelezerma had said. Edeh continued saying that the peace agreement reached by the Idomas and the MACBAN is an indication that the governor lacks knowledge of events in his state.
“That goes to say that the governor is not sincere in tackling this issue. It exactly clear that Ortom is not aware of happenings in his state because for those of us who have been on ground, and have seen and noted what is on ground, we have a better understanding than the governor,” Edeh said. “Because if the inspector general of police can stop in Markurdi and come and few days later to say that the figure of the killings that happened in Agatu was exaggerated, it means that was what the governor fed him with.
“The IGP said he went on ground, but the truth is that he stopped in Markurdi, interacted with the governor and came up with the statement he made. “It is a clear indication that the IGP was informed by the governor who is not informed by what is going on in Benue state. As a chief security officer of the state, if he was informed, he should have known all that has been happening in the state so far,” he said. The crisis that rocked most communities in Agatu local government on Saturday, March 5, led to the killing of many and the destruction of property in the area.
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