The Federal Government is doing its best to end the recurring attacks by armed herdsmen in various parts of the country, President Muhammadu Buhari says.
Speaking during a Town Hall meeting in Benue State on Monday,the President also appeals to leaders of various groups in the state to convince their constituents that a lot is been done to resolve the security issues.
Responding to remarks by various stakeholders in Government House, Makurdi,the President also urged them to show restraint and allow the security agencies to handle the untenable situation.
According to him, “The governor and I, and others here know that we will leave one day, but the relationship between farmers and herders will continue.
”I urge you to keep in touch with them and advise them to live peacefully.
”Nigeria has over 250 ethnic groups with different cultures and nobody can question God for putting us together.”
Recalling his Civil War era memories with military officers from Benue State, he notes that his nostalgic experience with such persons would never allow him to do harm to the state.
According to the President, his government is deeply worried about incessant attacks on Benue’s rural communities and vowed to end the menace very soon.
“I cannot overlook the killings in Benue or any other part of Nigeria. I cannot do that.
He adds, ”I am genuinely worried about the attacks in Benue and we are doing everything to end them.
Surprise IGP Disobeyed Him
According to the President, he is surprised that the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris did not spend 24 hours in the state, when he was directed to relocate until peace is restore.
“I am getting to know this in this meeting. I am quite surprised,” he says.
Mr. Buhari while noting that he was not in the habit of publicly rebuking his appointees as many would desire, says that he preferred to quietly “read the riot act” as he did to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) when the Benue attacks began.
The President discloses that he even shared the IGP’s security report on the Benue crisis with Senators George Akume and Barnabas Gemade from the state.
The President while thanking God for the good rains, the successful efforts of the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, an indigene of Benue State, whom he described as “a great asset in my government,” says his administration would continue to empower farmers with loans by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Expressing delight that the agricultural policy of his administration has led to 90 per cent reduction in rice importation, he commended Ebonyi, Lagos, Kebbi, Jigawa and Benue States for “doing extremely well.”
Reacting to what he called a “shopping list” by some stakeholders, the President enjoined them to pray for the economy to improve, noting that he would not make any promises during this trip.
He, however, stressed that, “When coming back on campaign, if coming back on campaign, I may promise.”
Governor Samuel Ortom Speaks
Governor Samuel Ortom thanked the President for visiting and listening patiently to the representatives of socio-cultural groups, farmers, herdsmen, national and state legislators, former leaders and elder statesmen, among others, described him as “a father known for his integrity and fight for justice.”
Noting that the attacks by armed herdsmen predated the current administration, the governor said the recent attacks had displaced 170,000 people with children of school age constituting 60 per cent.
He called for support for ranching, compensation for victims of the attacks and rebuilding of destroyed houses and farms, as well as the upgrading of the current military exercise to a “military operation.”
Governor Ortom also appealed to the Federal Government to fix some major roads in the state and take over the state polytechnic and college of education among other demands.
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