The Middle Belt Conscience Guard (MBCG) says it has uncovered sinister plots by some communities in Benue State to upscale arms build up in order to torment the peace of others and heightened the state of insecurity in the State.
It described as frightening the deliberate attempt by stakeholders in the state to ignore peaceful approaches in resolving communal clashes but resorted to using sophisticated guns to kill innocent citizens whilst the State and LGAs all watch with amazement.
Paul Itodo, General Secretary of the group addressing newsmen on Monday, faulted the so-called leaders for worsening the situation instead of finding a lasting panacea to it.
Itodo lamented that it was unfortunate because the latest killings in the state were as result of communal and no longer herdsmen.
His statement reads full.
We have elected upon ourselves to alert relevant stakeholders to troublesome issues, potent enough to cause anarchy, large scale outbreak of violence or skirmishes and its concomitant deaths and displacements of people within communities in the Benue valley.
Emphatically therefore, the MBCG is again perturbed and distressed at the glaring replacement of the waning herders/farmers clashes, in the Benue valley with communal clashes.
The Nigerian Army has worked relentlessly, day and night to subdue the herders/farmers imbroglio and it is unacceptable and insane for anybody or group to scheme its replacement with inexplicable communal fracas and politically induced violence or killings in hitherto peaceful and law abiding communities. More irritating is its active backing by unscrupulous traditional rulers, detractors and politicians who profit from such crisis.
Everyone is aware of the imposition of horrifying magnitudes of political violence, orchestrated by unconscionable politicians in conspiracy with vulnerable community leaders at the eve of every general election year, more pronounced during electioneering campaigns. This dreadful era is with us again.
The hot and competitive scramble for elective mandates by politicians often exhume ancient land disputes and allied disagreements, such as family feuds which have been forgotten for ages. These controversies are now elevated to the level of conflicts between opposing communities, leading to unprecedented violence and deaths in the quest to promote partisan and clannish interests for the benefit of election mandate seekers of rival communities.
It is sad that the same scenario is replicating in 2018 and it appears to be Benue’s heaviest cross now. We have accessed intelligence reports which suggest that rival politicians have plotted various evil schemes to set their communities on conflagrations, which would later be blamed on the herders/farmers skirmishes.
We stand to make the distinction and bear witness that some communities have already been visited with violence, deaths and displacements of people in communal clashes in the last few weeks in Benue state. The immediate and remote causes of the violent squabbles are within the confines of the aforementioned.
In Ukum, the Mbagwa and Mbagen clans in Torov district recently exercised this satanic might in bloodbath, in communal clashes that had political undertones. Likewise, in Konshisha, the Ugambe and Mbamaa clans in Shangev-Tiev district have locked horns in communal dispute.
And in other LGAs of the state, the songs and drums of communal clashes are excitedly chorused and skillfully planned. Enough havoc has been wreaked already with terrifying magnitudes of violence and deaths on the local populations.
And the obnoxious and predetermined evil actions have not only been sustained, but are spreading to other parts of the state, with the speed of a tornado. It is reportedly evidenced in amazing arms build-up to empower feuding parties in the crude and barbaric display of strength in extermination of selves.
Kwande, Katsina-Ala and Apa LGAs of Benue state have also come under the latest furnace of communal clashes and some communities have continued to arm locals against their neighbours or themselves. Unfortunately, politicians are allegedly responsible for the arming and persuasion of natives into violent confrontations for selfish political reasons, instead of amicable resolution of disputes, if any.
We have gathered that land dispute has just rocked Mbachom clan in Kwande LGA, which is the cradle and symbol of Tiv traditional and cultural essence. Again, scores have lost their lives or wounded and others displaced by the fracas. This is completely unnecessary and retrogressive.Conversely, in Katsina-Ala LGA yesterday, June 3, 2018, unidentified armed gunmen attacked a family in Tse-Adoor village. The assailants killed seven people and injured another six persons during the attacks. Insider sources have confirmed that the attack was politically motivated and targeted at a specific family over a subsisting land dispute and other economic factors involving two families in Tse-Adoor village.
Though, the situation has been brought under control by the Nigerian Army and, assisted by sister security agencies. But it is extremely unreasonable and questions our sense of humanity and justice to seek to aggravate the already tense security situation in the area with violent reprisals over a family feud.
The MBCG is equally concerned by the boldness of the Ugbobi community, which is audaciously plotting a reprisal attack on Edukwu community in the narrow-mindedness of self- defence. In June, 2018, Ugbobi sons and daughters domiciled in Makurdi converged in North Bank, with the sole agenda of raising funds to purchase ammunitions to battle their neigbouring clan of Edukwe.
Similar meetings of the community members outside of Benue state were reportedly replicated Lagos, Abuja, and other towns. And the monies realized for this destructive agenda were immediately transmitted to arrowheads in the village for ammunitions. That’s the level of bestiality we have become and proudly brandish.
We are thoroughly bemused and stunned by this show of shame. It is senseless, destructive and condemnable in all gradations by men of good conscience. Those who think, warring is the best option out of disputes are making grave mistakes; that’s why they are easily lured into combatants either against themselves or neighbours by satanic minds.
Benue vallay has had enough share of violence and it is disservice to these communities for the political elite and these agents of darkness to continue to arm them for avoidable wars, instead of preaching peace and harmonious co-existence to attract the much needed development to these communities.
This easy resort to violence has serious consequences and astonishing implications on the communities figured in the communal disputes. Apart from worsening the already prevailing crises between herdsmen/farmers; it would exacerbate the burden of securing these communities, by forceful enthronement of peace on our conspicuously and needlessly sapped or already stretched military and other security agencies.
And in the midst of these rising tensions and escalating violence within our borders, Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom and his indoctrinated Local Government chairmen prefer to hold tightly to sumptuous monthly security votes instead of deploying it to its useful statutory function of nipping crisis in the bud, and securing lives and property of the citizenry.
So, killings in Benue and its environs have become normal and oddly celebrated with mass burials and philanthropic donations of cash and relief materials by sympathetic Nigerians. The joy they derive from it remains to be seen; but it is quite odd, to say the least.
It mocks sound reasoning that we gleefully set the stage of violence, atrocious and other heinous crimes against ourselves and thereafter search for scapegoats to pass the bulk of blame. The Fulani herdsmen have become weeping children to blame for every action of violence and deaths; we pleasantly initiate and execute to protect a name we do not deserve.
We cannot continue to destroy ourselves in this brazen manner, while other regions of the nation have embraced peace and experiencing the dividends of democracy under President Muhammadu Buhari.
We shall continue to suffer neglect and abandonment, unless these aberrations’ cease forthwith. Let’s allow reign peace among ourselves and with our neighbours. The traditional rulers and council chairmen must wake up from their slumber and burden themselves to end this nonsense.
From our findings, we have been able to establish that the Nigerian Army and other security agencies have put in their very best these past years and in the last months, particularly, to quench the wildfires of bloodletting in some of the areas, the agents of darkness have caused considerable confusion and destructions.
It behooves on us to conduct ourselves in a manner we shall not be wrongly seen and adjudged as expanding the frontiers’ of battle and combat, rather than peace and harmony for the unity and development of all components of Nigeria, including the Middle Belt
It is frustrating to national government and a shame to us that we have confirmed in public domain the speculations that this time, it is not herdsmen invading, burning, killing and displacing us. But sadly, by the latest developments, Benue people have loudly proclaimed to Nigeria that they have armed themselves against themselves and their lands.