President Muhammadu Buhari has described the attack on some Benue communities, where more than 50 people were killed, by suspected herdsmen, as criminal and painful.
The president stated this, yesterday, during a condolence visit to Governor Samuel Ortom, at Government House, Makurdi.
He expressed sadness over the incident.
“We feel your pain, especially our mothers, who bore us in their wombs. Government will not sit down and watch people being killed and their property destroyed. Anyone found wanting deserves maximum punishment,” he said.
Represented by the Minister of Interior, Lt. General Abdulrahman Dambazzau, Buhari advised Nigerians against politicising the killings and noted that many people are already cashing on it for selfish political reasons.
The president noted that the attack had no religious or political colouration and urged all Nigerians to see it as purely a criminal attack and nothing more; even as he assured that the Federal Government will liaise with the state government, to find a lasting solution to the incessant crises.
“We should exercise restraint. The federal government will put heads together with the state government, to find a lasting solution to the crises. The attack has nothing to do with religion but criminality. Benue State, as food basket of the nation, needs a lot of security,” said Dambazau.
Asked during a chat with newsmen why the federal government did not act on early warnings issued in writing by the governor, to the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, the Interior minister, who said he was yet to be briefed, reiterated that the attacks were unacceptable in a civilised society.
“This is a sad period in our nation’s history, but, I assure you that security agencies are doing a lot to contain the situation. We will stop at nothing in fishing out perpetrators of these acts and deal with them,” he stressed and also disclosed that over 5,000 Agro Rangers are already being trained by the federal government to handle incessant herders, farmers clashes.
On his part, Ortom, who had earlier taken the minister and his entourage to the morgue of the Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH and also, to see wounded victims who were receiving treatment at the hospital, urged president Buhari to match his words with action by directing the immediate arrest of the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore (MAKH).
Also speaking on the occasion, a former governor of the state and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army, George Akume, expressed confidence in president Buhari’s ability to handle the situation.
Senator Akume urged the president not to allow the issue of herdsmen dent his hard-earned image.