By Olusegun Emmanuel, Abuja.
Former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP and Benue Senator, Mr. Barnabas Gemade has described the last weekend attack and murder of some indigenes allegedly by Fulani’s herdsmen as an orchestrated attempt to foment trouble and disrupt the relative peace in the state.
Gemade who represents Benue North-West told journalists at the National Assembly today that the recent attacks were purely political rather than a mere fight over land as suggested in some quarters.
According to him: “The situation is becoming very critical and it is a big shame. I think this is an orchestrated action by some enemies of government and enemies of the country who want to bring disturbance in the land in order that they can achieve certain purposes.
” I do not think that this is a situation of genuine fight over land as they claim. It is indeed a political development where certain people have taken it upon themselves to deal with the relative peace that existed in Benue state by coming to provoke a set of people.”
Gemade warned that if decisive steps are not taken to nip the crises in the bud, it may escalate into a full blown war in the middle belt region of the country, adding that, the key players in the crises are immigrants from neighbouring countries such as Chad and Niger Republic.
“I think they really want to see some war fought in the middle belt part of the country which is a very big shame. Otherwise how can you see an insurgence taking place in the middle of the country and the people who are doing this are coming from neighbouring countries such as Chad, Mali, Cameroun, Congo and many others.
While calling on security agencies to intervene in the matter, Gemade cautioned the herdsmen against provoking indigenes of the affected villages into taking laws into their hands.
“It is a matter that needs very urgent action by a combination of all the security agencies in this country to fish out the people behind this. The TiV and Idoma people are not the only people who have fertile lands in this country. There are many other tribes living in the Benue region where the land is very fertile and full of grass for animal.
“But why are they not fighting those tribes? Why are they insisting on fighting the people who are in Benue state? That tells you clearly that there is a motive behind it and this motive is not just addressed to the people living on fertile land but against the peaceful existence of Nigeria.
” We are calling on people in this country not to allow our people take laws into their hands. You know that every community in Nigeria can raise an army if they want to do so and it is not right for us to begin to raise an army for ourselves and that is why the national defence forces need to do their jobs. Let them not push us to a point where we will have to raise an army.”