The Benue Youth Forum (BYF) says that Benue All Progressives Congress (APC) members are encouraging herdsmen assaults by defending the atrocities that happen in the state.
The group’s president, Terrence Kuanum, called the APC’s accusation that the Benue state government was to blame for the attacks in that state “shameful” and “stupid” in a press release that he signed.
The youth group praised Governor Samuel Ortom for his efforts to put an end to herdsmen violence and encouraged him not to be sidetracked by opposition pranks.
The Statement reads: “The Benue Youth Forum is saddened by the unfortunate press conference addressed by some clowns in the Benue State chapter of the All Progressives Congress APC in which they made some senseless allegations in addition to spitting on the graves of Benue people killed by Fulani herdsmen.
“We wouldn’t have bothered to respond to a shameless outing; but the fact that the APC veered off the lane of politics into justifying, once again the killing of innocent people in Benue communities by the marauding Fulani militia, we deem it necessary to put the records straight.
“We are aware that the APC in Benue state has at various times justified the killings in Benue communities and openly declared their support for the killer-hersmen perpetrating the atgcks. The leader of the party in the state, Senator George Akume has been in the forefront of urinating on the graves of slain Benue people by mockingly saying they were killing themselves. So we are not surprised at their renewed zeal to take their insensitivity a notch higher by accusing the State Community Volunteer Guards and Livestock Guards of cow rustling and causing the recent killings in Makurdi, Guma and Gwer-West local governments.
“The Benue Youth Forum takes exception to those unguarded and inciting utterances by the APC which has all along been making frantic efforts to frustrate the efforts to end the invasion of Benue communities and massacre of people in their sleep by those merchants of death.
The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom and other well meaning stakeholders including the Benue Youths have been unrelenting in ensuring that peace returns to the state, but the desperation of the APC to thwart the move for political gains have been the major clog in the wheel of progress in that direction.
“It is sad that while people of good conscience from all parts of the country and beyond are speaking up against the incessant bloodshed in Benue, some failed and frustrated politicians from the area are bent on justifying the mayhem just to gain political relevance which has left them long ago.
“We want to put it on record that the Fulani Socio-cultiral group called Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, an affiliate of the APC had threatened to violently resist the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of the Benue State government and they have made good their vow by unleashing terror on the people since the law came into effect in November 2017.
“Curiously, the APC in Benue has never come out to condemn the Fulani terrorists who have killed – and are still killing – thousands of people, displacing others and creating a huge humanitarian crisis in the area. Even the APC-led Federal Government has done little or nothing to curb the ethnic cleansing in Benue. Instead, President Muhammadu Buhari ignored the real issue on ground and once told Benue people to learn to live in peace with their neighbours, implying that the Benue people were being killed for their refusal to accommodate tbose who live with them. That is indeed unfortunate.
“That the APC in the state has shamelessly accused Governor Ortom of raising and encouraging cattle rustlers is the height of assault on the sensitivity of those who have lost loved ones due to the dastardly acts of Fulani herdsmen who enjoy the endorsement of the APC.
“We know that the APC in Benue are out to distract attention from the ruling of the Appeal Court sitting in Makurdi which nullified their questionable governorship primaries which was dubbed a “yahoo yahoo” process even by an appeal panel set up by the party’s national leadeship. But it is foolhardy to embark on that using the lives of Benue people to play politics.
“When the APC violated the electoral law in conducting their “yahoo yahoo” governorship primaries in the state, the Benue Youth Forum called for a reverse of the undemocratic move. But they wouldn’t listen. Now that the appeal court has cancelled the shenanigan, they prefer to go to the market naked and dance on the graves of innocent people.
“We once again advise the APC to channel their self-inflicted frustration elsewhere and stop playing dirty politics with the unfortunate security situation in the state.
“The Forum calls on the good people of Benue to utterly reject the party which has no value for their lives and has resorted to mocking those killed by Fulani terrorists. We reiterate our support for the Benue State Community Volunteer Guards and the Livestock Guards in the discharge of their duties.
“We urge them to ignore those elements of darkness who are bent on discouraging them by painting them black and falsely accusing them of cattle rustling.”