Benue Coalition for Democracy, BCD, has asked the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar to retract his condolence message to the Benue people describing it as mocking victims of herder attacks.
The group said Atiku’s statement is a justification for the killings of over 36 Benue farmers and evil-intentioned.
National Coordinator of Benue Coalition for Democracy, Aloysius Gbakaan, in a statement said the group demands a retraction of the statement and an apology to the Benue people.
The statement reads: “Benue Coalition for Democracy, BCD, read with total disappointment and sadness the reaction of the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in which he spat on the graves of scores of people killed by Fulani herdsmen in Gbeji, Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State.
“Alhaji Abubakar in the statement said he was “saddened by the SUSTAINED CLASHES between farmers and herders that led to the loss of lives, including those of police officers in Gbeji community, Ukum Local Government of Benue state”, describing the dastardly act perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen as “escalation of intercommunal violence”.
“The Benue Coalition for Democracy, BCD views the unfortunate statement by the PDP Presidential flagbearer as an evil-intentioned one to mock the dead and spite the government and people who lost loved ones even in their adversity.
“That it took Alhaji Atiku more than 72 hours, despite calls from concerned stakeholders to react to the heinous massacre of innocent villagers by his kinsmen clearly shows where he stands on the killing, maiming, destruction of lives and displacement of villagers in Benue communities by heavily armed Fulani militia.
“It could be recalled that Atiku had last week while interacting with a northern group in Kaduna openly declared his hatred for Governor Samuel Ortom for standing firmly against the orchestrated plans by Fulanis to cleanse the Benue Valley and take over the land, claiming that the Governor was profiling Fulanis as terrorists and bandits.
“That callous comment left no one in doubt that the Adamawa-born politician was among those encouraging the carnage in Benue state.
“Now that he has gone a notch further to describe as “intercommunal violence” the one-sided killing of innocent children, women and the aged in Ukum by those he and others seem to be sponsoring, further confirms his complicity in the destruction of lives and property going on in Benue.
“While we are worried that Alhaji Atiku takes delight in the killings going on in Benue state and has never shown concern over the situation, we want to know his plans to curb insecurity in Benue and other parts of the country, if given the mandate to lead Nigeria.
“The PDP Presidential candidate has once again demonstrated insensitivity and selfishness similar to that which he showed in the heat of the killing of a student, Deborah Samuel in Sokoto earlier this year by some Islamic fundamentalists, when he tweeted his reaction to the murder but pulled down the tweet only moments later just to protect his political interest.
“That Atiku’s craze for power has dimmed his vision and left him blind to sense of justice, humanity and nationalism further amplifies the fact that he is a political desperado, an ethnic irredentist and a religious bigot not deserving of the peoples mandate to preside over a country on the verge of collapse due to poor and discriminatory leadership by his kinsman, President Buhari.
“The former vice president must stop living in denial, thinking that only people of a certain tribe, religion or region would decide his fate come 2023 as he needs the support of all Nigerians if he must succeed a fellow irresponsible and unresponsive Fulani man who has practically destroyed the country.
“The BCD demands an immediate retraction of the careless and callous statement by Alhaji Atiku and an accompanying apology for spitting on the graves of scores of Benue people hacked-down by his satanic kinsmen, who are on the prowl as foot soldiers out to actualize a Fulani agenda.
“The Coalition also expects the Tiv Traditional Council to consider striping Atiku of the title of “Zege Mule U Tiv” as his antecedents and unfriendly disposition towards the Tiv race portray him as undeserving of any recognition among the people.
“We want Nigerians who are desirous of enjoying peace after the tenure of the largely incompetent President Buhari to be sure of Alhaji Atiku’s plan to fight insecurity before giving him their votes because at things stand now, he is likely to be a consolidation of Buhari’s era of doom.”