George Okoh in Makurdi
Paramount ruler of Tiv people of Benue State, Professor James Ayatse, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to visit the state and placate the people who are grieving heavily over the death of more than 50 persons killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
The Tor Tiv who said this yesterday while speaking with journalists in Gboko Local Government Area, reminded the President that Benue people voted massively for him and as such, it behooves on him to identify with them at a time they have been brutally attacked and are mourning.
He said: “I am expecting that the president will come but if he doesn’t, then that means he is not treating us as friends. Even if he comes and waves at the people and say I feel your pain and sorrow, it will do a lot of good. When he comes himself, his whole being will be here and the impact on the people will be greater than sending representatives.”
The monarch described the attacks as ‘barbaric’, calculated and coordinated genocide on the Tiv nation, decrying that it was done in a merciless manner and has continued unabated.
He said the federal government reacted too slow to the warnings given by the state Governor, Samuel Ortom, of impending attacks by the herdsmen, stating that he is not satisfied with the efforts made so far by the government in deploying troops to stop the attacks as well as the comments made by the Inspector General of Police (IG) describing the killings as ‘communal clash’.
“I am yet to understand the reason for the slaughtering of our people. We feel very unhappy that it is happening to us as citizens of Nigeria. We sacrificed for the unity of this country. There is no household that you go to in Tiv land that you will not find a soldier who fought for this country. The killings have continued even as I talk with you.
“The federal government has made some efforts but I am not satisfied with the efforts. For the IG to describe it as communal clash is not fair. We do not share border with Fulani people so why would anyone say that it is a communal clash.
“Anarchy and impunity have taken over our country. I hoped with the coming of the IG, Ibrahim Idris, we would see more seriousness.. We will see their action and the kind of mandate they have. If they (herdsmen) stop killing my people, then I will know the government is serious,” Ayatse maintained.
Commenting on the proposed establishment of colonies by the federal government, he said the practice is alien especially to an area where the people are not cattle rearers, averring that there is already an existing law in the state.
“I do not know if it is a federal government law which should be domesticated in the states. I do not know the import of the pronouncement. I have not been briefed adequately on it,” he added.
The traditional ruler explained that the Council of Northern Traditional Rulers has set up a committee on the crisis, adding that individual member of the council has meditated in ensuring an end to the crisis.