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Benue youths urge FG to designate armed herdsmen as terrorists

The Benue Youths Forum, BYF, an umbrella body of indigenous youths in the state has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declared armed Fulani herdsmen unleashing violence and killings in Benue state and other parts of the country as a terrorist group.

The call is coming two days after a similar call was made by Governor Samuel Ortom who last weekend also urged the federal government to designate armed herdsmen as terrorists after the attack on Chembe community that claimed seven lives and left scores injured.

The President of BYF, Comrade Terrence Kuanum in a press briefing Monday in Makurdi decried the spate of herdsmen killings in the state in recent time ascribing it as part of the plot by Fulani herders to forcefully take over the Benue valley.

Comrade Kuanum who questioned the failure of the federal government to designate armed herders as terrorists while it wasted no time to label the Indigenous People of Biafra IPOB, as such, observed that several strategies had in the past been adopted by the herders to stop the implementation or ensure the repeal of the Benue Grazing insisting that the resort to killings was a well orchestrated plan.

He said, “we are much aware of the antics of these groups either by direct confrontation, blackmail or the use of proxies to compel Governor Ortom to repeal the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law.

“Even at peace and security meetings, Miyetti Allah representatives and their allies always push for the amendment or outright repeal of the law.

“Sensing the determination of the Benue State Government to continue with enforcement of the law, those merchants of death have deployed their plan B which is to visit the state with more killings.

“A direct manifestation of the orchestrated plan is the ongoing unprovoked attacks on our communities by the Fulani terrorist groups who have been killing scores of people and destroying farmlands as well as other property worth billions of Naira.

“Last week‘s attack on Tse Chembe community near Anyiin in Logo Local Government Area where the armed herders slaughtered seven persons and injured many others quickly comes to mind.

“Being the proactive leader that he is, Governor Samuel Ortom wasted no time in calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare the killer herdsmen as terrorists.

Continuing, Comrade Kuanum said, “as the umbrella body of Benue youths, we want to put it on record in unmistakable terms on this day the 13th of July 2020 that, we are solidly behind our Governor in his call on President Buhari to declare Fulani herdsmen in Benue as terrorists.

“The Federal Government has foot-dragged for too long on this issue. We recall that it took President Buhari just a matter of hours to designate IPOB as a terrorist organization even when the group had done nothing compared to the heinous crimes Fulani herdsmen have committed against Nigerians and Benue people to be precise.

“We therefore expect Mr. President to speedily make the declaration of armed herdsmen as terrorists so that the arrest and prosecution of their leaders can commence, to avert further loss of Benue lives in the hands of those mindless groups.

“We must also make it abundantly clear to whoever wants to listen that we will not let anyone take our land from us. We will defend our ancestral homes within the ambit of the law. Enough of impunity and intimidation.

“Any attempt through any forceful means or sponsored terrorist attack on our people will be met with commensurate resistance.We equally appeal to security operatives to uphold the highest professional standards in handling the herdsmen crisis.

“If security agencies remain true to their professional calling regarding the herdsmen crisis, those merchants of violence who are desperately trying to twist the narrative and absolve herdsmen of complicity in the killings even when the herders boldly come out to take responsibility, will be put to shame.

“The latest attack in Logo where some elements tried to blame members of Chembe community for killing themselves even before police could conclude investigation into the killings was most unfortunate. This is an act of blaming the victim.

“The people of Benue State will continue to stand behind Governor Ortom to enforce the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law and will always report strange movements within their communities to law enforcement agencies and other constituted authorities.

“The international community is hereby invited to beam its searchlight on Benue to unravel the planned attacks by Fulani terrorists whom the Global Terrorism Index rated as the fought most dangerous terrorist organization in the world.

“We youths of Benue are determined to see our people free from the constant fear of herdsmen attacks, and our determination is anchored on the timeless words of Martin Luther King Junior when he said and I quote:

“We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

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