•  Says it’s working to prevent recurrence

Adewale Ajimotokan

The Federal Government has made a passionate appeal to the media and public commentators to exercise utmost restraint in their coverage of the fallouts of the recent farmers/herders’ clash in Benue State in order not to further inflame passion and worsen the situation.

Also, the Presidency has alerted Nigerians about a fake Twitter handle purportedly belonging to President Muhammadu Buhari which had been posting spurious messages.

Making the appeal in a statement on Saturday, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said while the Federal Government was working hard to address the situation with a view to preventing a recurrence, not just in Benue State but everywhere across the country, it was incumbent on the media and public commentators not to engage in actions that could aggravate the crisis.

The said: ”Lest we are misunderstood, we are neither saying the media should not cover the crisis nor asking public commentators to desist from commenting on it. All we are saying is that both must be circumspect.

”The current poisoned atmosphere of incendiary comments, unrestrained use of pictures and footages that offend human sensibilities as well as finger-pointing can only exacerbate the situation and complicate ongoing efforts to end the crisis.”

Mohammed said government was “absolutely saddened by the loss of lives and the destruction of property resulting from the crisis.

He recalled that President Buhari, while commiserating with the Benue governor over the killings, “unreservedly condemned the killings and also assured of the necessary security measures to prevent further attacks and bring the perpetrators to book.”

Assuring of the government’s strong determination to find a lasting solution to the farmers/herders’ clashes, the minister said the Federal Government had also mapped out short and long-term solutions to the incessant clashes between farmers and herders, including a planned conference of stakeholders,

Meanwhile, the Presidency has also alerted Nigerians about a fake Twitter handle purportedly belonging to President Buhari.

The president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the parody account had been posting spurious messages justifying the attacks by herdsmen, saying they were only defending themselves.

“Evil doers and enemies of our country are obviously at work, seeking ways to further advance their pernicious acts. The message is denounced in its entirety, and President Buhari stands by his earlier condemnation of the killings in Benue and other parts of the country as dastardly and unacceptable before God and man.

“Those behind the concocted message are also enemies of God and man, who have no place in a decent society. The President stands by his earlier directives that all those behind wanton killings in any part of the country must be brought to book”, Adesina added.