By Ismaila Chafe
Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari has called on the government and people of Benue to exercise restraint following the recent attacks on some communities in the state.
The President made the call on Monday when he received a delegation of political leaders, traditional rulers and elders of the state led by Gov. Samuel Ortom at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He assured that all the perpetrators of violence in the state would be made to face the full wrath of the law.
Buhari emphasized that all those involved in the conflict that culminated in loss of lives would not escape justice, including any illegally armed militia in the state.
“Your Excellency, the governor, and all the leaders here, I am appealing to you to try to restrain your people. I assure you that the Police, the Department of State Security and other security agencies had been directed to ensure that all those behind the mayhem get punished.
“I ask you in the name of God to accommodate your country men. You can also be assured that I am just as worried, and concerned with the situation,’’ he said.
Buhari commiserated with all the victims of the attacks, and the families who lost loved ones and properties, noting that the government would make efforts to ameliorate the situation of all the victims.
According to him, all relevant agencies had been directed to start catering for the humanitarian needs of victims of the crisis.
The President told the delegation that his administration had already begun a process of finding lasting solution to the perennial challenge of herdsmen conflict with farmers and communities around the country.
Buhari said the Inspector General of Police had been directed to relocate to the state to provide security for lives and properties.
He, therefore, urged all Benue indigenes to trust the security agencies and report all suspicious cases of movements in the state.
In his remarks, Ortom expressed the hope that the tension would be reduced with the Federal Government’s intervention to find a lasting solution to the herdsmen attacks.
He said: “We will leave here to rebuild confidence in our people.’’
The Tor-Tiv, Prof. James Ayatse, said his entire domain had been thrown into mourning due to the incessant attacks.
“We want you to put an end to the gruesome situation,’’ he added.
Present at the meeting were Benue State Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu, former Senate President, David Mark, former Benue State Governor, Sen. George Akume and Sen. Barnabas Gemade.
Others include Sen. JK Waku, Gen. Lawrence Onoja (rtd), Brig. Gen. John Atom Kpera (rtd), former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Michael Aondoakaa and the Speaker of Benue State House of Assembly, Terkimbir Kyambe.
Members of the National and State Assembly from the State were also at the meeting. (NAN)