Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
A group, the Foundation for Truth and Justice, has condemned Benue state Governor, Samuel Ortom, for allegedly arming militias following the recent attacks carried out by Fulani herdsmen.
It said that several persons operating as Civilian JTF in Benue states arrested by the military have confessed that they are answerable to the governor and some of his senior officials.
The Coordinator of the group, Martins Nwaiwu, at a press conference yesterday in Abuja stressed that the existence of the Civilian JTF has worsened the mutual suspicion between farmers and herders.
Nwaiwu stated: “Nigerians need to know all the truth about the role of the Benue State Governor in the Herdsmen/ Farmers’ crisis in the State. What we found out has been corroborated by the confessions of the members of the (Benue State) Civilian JTF on national television.
“Members of the Civilian JTF received weapons from the state governor Governor Ortom and his aides replenish ammunitions for these firearms whenever they are depleted “Members of the Civilian JTF had no prior training in the use of firearms but have been promised training by the state government. While members operate under the name Civilian JTF their actual modus operandi is that of an ethnic militia,” he noted.
The group also demanded that the federal government orders a full investigation into the activities of Benue State Sponsored Civillian Joint Task Force (CJTF) identified to be in the middle of recent crisis between herdsmen and Farmers in Benue State.
“Furthrmore, in the face of this mutual suspicion and considering the sanctity of lives of the citizens of the State, we are calling for deployment of the military to the affected communities to maintain law and order.
“We also demand that a state of emergency be immediately declared in Benue State and any other states where crisis between herders and farmers may break out in the nearest future so as to forestall any further deterioration of the crisis anywhere in the country.