The Benue Youth Forum (BYF) has stated that it will not stand behind those whose comments support attacks on Benue citizens in the state.
Terrence Kuanum, the president of the youth organization, stated in a statement that he signed that comments made by some national politicians were to blame for the attacks by Fulani herdsmen on the Abagena settlement, which is close to an IDP camp.
The statement reads: “The Benue Youth Forum, BYF is saddened by the renewed attacks on Benue communities by Fulani herdsmen, the latest of which was the gruesome killing of thirteen people including six members of one family at Abagena, a community which has the burden of accommodating thousands of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs in Makurdi Local Government Area of the state.
“Further disheartening is the killing of some IDPs who have been in the camp located within the community that came under attack on Thursday night.
“The BYF condemns the mindless act which has become a recurring incident perpetrated by marauding Fulani herdsmen.
“We are concerned that despite the killing of hundreds of innocent Benue people and displacement of over two million others thereby creating a humanitarian crisis in the state, the Fulani terrorists are bent on not relenting.
“It is obvious that the merchants of death have become more vicious owing to the utterances of some of their kinsmen who have at different times rationalized the killings in Benue state, as well as the fact that the relevant authorities especially at the centre have not shown much commitment to ending the carnage in the Benue Valley.
“We therefore call on security agents to go after those behind the killings in Abagena and other parts of the state to arrest and bring them to book as well as work towards ending the havoc by elements of darkness in the state.
“We are all aware that the Fulanis have vowed to resist the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of the state in their quest to cleanse the people and take over their land. But they are on a vain mission to nowhere, and they would fail as they did in 1804.
“As law abiding citizens who reason like human beings should do, we will continue to use legal and constitutional means to express our grievances over the clear injustice being meted on us by the Fulanis and the loud silence by those who should condemn the incessant killings and call for the arrest of the perpetrators.
“We also call on Governor Samuel Ortom not to succumb to the pressure by enemies of the state who have been clamouring for the repeal of the law prohibiting open grazing in the state.
“The BYF again calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to grant the request by Governor Ortom to arm the Benue State Community Volunteer Guards with sophisticated weapons for effective security of the state in collaboration with conventional security agencies.
“We urge Benue people to set aside their political, tribal and religious differences and speak with one voice over the planned, sponsored, systematic and well orchestrated massacre of innocent people in Benue communities.
“Lastly, we wish to make it abundantly clear that the 2023 elections are about the survival of our people. With our votes, we in Benue State will vehemently reject candidates who have taken sides with our enemies! Anyone who has pitched tent with our aggressors and oppressors (Fulani herdsmen) has lost the election even before the ballot is cast. Our land is our heritage! Whoever is not for us is against us!”