Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has warned those raising false alarm and making inflammatory statements regarding the security situation in Makurdi, the State capital, to desist from such acts or face arrest.
Governor Ortom, who described as ‘unfortunate’, the tendency of some persons to exaggerate the situation thereby causing fear in the minds of the people, maintained that such alarms could create panic and give hoodlums the opportunity to harass, rob and even kill innocent people.
In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Terver Akase, the governor said the protests witnessed in Makurdi last week, had since been brought under control, even as he urged the police to apprehend anyone found to be fomenting trouble.
Governor Ortom, while also reassuring Benue people of the state government’s commitment to preventing further invasion and killings by herdsmen, appealed to residents of Makurdi to go about their normal activities without the fear of molestation.
He also called on them to further assist security agencies with timely and useful information to enable them perform their duty of safeguarding lives.
In another development, a group known as Movement Against Fulani Occupation (MAFO) has called on the Federal Government to declare the Miyetti Allah a terrorist organisation and ensure the arrest and prosecution of its leaders whom the group said had owned up to the Benue killing.
Speaking at a press conference, on Monday, one of the spokespersons of the group, Dr. Sam Abah, who read the position of the MAFO urged the federal government to step up the current security presence inside Benue to include active search for and flushing out of all Fulani terror gangs that are openly roaming across the state.
The group also enjoined the federal government to set in motion a machinery for the reconstruction, bill tattoo and compensation of Benue communities that have been ravaged by the over 47 separate attacks from 2011 to 2018.
Also speaking, another MAFO leader, Pastor Dave Ogbole, while reiterating the group’s support to the anti-open grazing law in the state said the state will not bend the law to accommodate criminality.
“We will not bend the law to accommodate criminality. There is no going back on the law. MAFO is questioning the order where justice comes before peace. We are not bending or going back on the law.
On his part, another leader of the group, Nat Apir maintained that there was an agenda by Miyetti Allah to take over Benue land and render the people homeless while trying to build up their economic base.
In the words of Apir, “Miyetti Allah said their own breed of cattle cannot be confined to ranches in Nigeria. Miyetti Allah is pursuing an agenda of islamising the country. We must remain within the narrative. The Fulani had an opportunity to make inputs to the law but they failed to do so. We I’ll not reverse this procedure, we will not reverse this process.”