The Chairman of the Southern Senators’ Forum (SSF), Senator Hope Uzodimma, has urged Nigerian politicians to always speak out on burning national issues to save the country’s thriving democracy from collapse.

He said as the major beneficiaries of democratic process in Nigeria; it is expedient on all politicians irrespective of their political leanings to speak out objectively on issues threatening the survival of Nigeria’s nationhood to keep the country’s democracy alive.

Uzodimma who spoke with journalists in Abuja yesterday in the wake of the tension generated in the country over the gruesome killings in some Benue communities by suspected herdsmen condemned the killings and sympathised with the families of the dead and people of the state.

The senator urged security agencies to step up patrol in the affected communities and the border towns of the state to nip in the bud; a recurrence of the dastardly act.

Uzodimma who is also the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariffs, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for directing the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to promptly go to Benue to personally take charge of security operations in the affected areas.

According to him, though the attack was painful as several lives were lost in gruesome manner, commentaries on the issue should be moderated to avoid the escalation of the already tensed situation and reprisal attacks, stressing that “those blaming the president for not speaking out and accusing him (president) of backing the alleged perpetrators of the heinous crime are only fanning the embers of hatred and putting him on the spot.”

He said the president had done what was constitutionally right by ordering the deployment of the police, led by the Inspector-General to quell the situation as it is only the police that are statutorily empowered to take charge of affairs in such situations.

“It is regrettable that in this country, everything is heaped on the doors of the president whereas there are statutory organs and institutions that are responsible to handle every situation. When a person in this country has an issue with the judiciary or security agencies, the president is accused of having a hand in it. We must move away from this to make progress as a nation,” he cautioned.

“The attitude of our politicians on national issues must be that of unity and national interest because we should always have it at the back of our mind that it will be one person at a time,” he noted.

Uzodimma condemned those calling for the deployment of the military to Benue as the state was not in a war situation.

”The police are trained to handle civil matters. Calling for the deployment of the military will compound issues as they may intend to use maximum force which will not be good for the people.”   

The senator urged security agencies to liaise with the Benue State Government and other relevant critical stakeholders in the state to identify the culprits and areas of challenges to put an end to the crisis.