A group of women known as the Anxious Benue Mothers (CBM) called on President Muhammadu Buhari to address the people immediately and warn Fulani shepherds to stop the killings.
Benue Analar, who is from the state’s three senator counties, made the call while speaking to reporters in the state capital, Makurdi, on Monday.
The group, led by former federal lawmaker Rebecca Apedza, called for a National Ranching Policy when President Buhari called for the abolition of planned pasture resources for Nigerians.
“We urge President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently address the people and warn Fulani shepherds to stop killing. We know that if he addresses Fulanis directly and expresses every word he says, they will listen to him. “
“The president must immediately announce the cancellation of the plan to provide Nigerians with pastures and instead develop a National Ranching Policy.
“The federal government must also focus on the Southern Governors’ declaration of Asaba against open grazing.
“President Buhari must motivate the security forces and direct them to be professional and impartial in the performance of their duties.”
WHO IS PRESIDENT BUKHARI SOMEONE, NOT EVERYONE
Be the text of the Anxious Benue Mothers Press Conference on Monday, May 31, 2021.
Ladies and gentlemen of the press
Benue Mothers, who are of concern to us, as a nation, the State of Benue and Nigeria as a nation, we are here with very heavy hearts to address you on issues of concern. As mothers of this state and nation, we have a duty to express our feelings when we see our children go wrong, and those who have to speak have chosen the path of silence.
When it becomes clear that the leaders we have chosen are not doing the right thing, we owe it to this country to call its leaders to order and advise them. We have no other country than Nigeria.
You know very well that the security situation in the country is deteriorating and is being perpetrated by Fulani shepherds and other provinces who have killed thousands of Benue people. You are equally aware of the attitude of the Federal Government led by President Mohammed Buhari, who is not worried about seeing women and children being killed by Fulani shepherds every day. As others have said, we have no choice but to think that the President is happy to watch his relatives turn Benue and other parts of the country into slaughterhouses.
A few days ago, we reported that President Buhari had promised next month to create pasture routes and create pasture resources in 36 provinces of the country, whether someone likes it or not. Announcing the president’s decision was Garba Shehu, his chief special assistant for media and publicity. We wonder if this is the same democracy we fought for in 1999 and led to the election of Mohammed Buhari in 2015. Mr. President, have you forgotten that this country is now governed by the Constitution, not by decrees? What is the Land Use Law that governs all lands in state governors? Has the law been repealed? Where does President Buhari get the authority he feels he can pursue a tough and dictatorial policy against Nigerians and expects us to welcome him?
On the other hand, the Buhari presidency recognized the Cow Colonies and encouraged patriotic Nigerians, such as Benue provincial governor Samuel Ortom, to stand up and reject the conquest agenda. The president then cleared the program and named it Ruga, but again our eagle-eyed Governor and other patriots saw the curtain and kicked Ruga. The president reluctantly canceled the Ruga program.
Today, the whole country speaks with one voice against the open grazing of cattle, while covering the livestock that Benue has been leading this campaign since 2016. The Governors of all Northern and Southern Nigeria have taken a united stand to ban open grazing. Shockingly, President Bukhari has come out to ridicule the governors and threaten the country’s population with pasture resources. The words of Media Adviser Femi Adesina last year about people choosing between seizing their land and dying are still in our minds.
This is unacceptable! Nigeria does not practice despotism. Ours is a country built on the principles of federalism and democracy. As president, we did not vote unjustly. We believed that we had voted for someone who would have the right experience and discipline, who would be there for all of us, and who would protect us, not just the ethnic group. Now our love for President Buhari with hatred, what crime have we committed by going under the sun in large numbers to vote for President Buhari, whom we have chosen to reward our ballots with bullets?
By all accounts, contrary to what President Muhammadu Buhari said when he was sworn in on May 29, 2015, it is for everyone, not for everyone.
We want Mr. President to remember that our children and grandchildren also deserve a decent future; in the future they will not be afraid to sleep with the thought of breaking and killing the shepherds. The humanity and conscience of President Bukhari should make him think of the thousands of children whose parents were killed by shepherds and who were orphaned for four years in IDP camps! Don’t such children deserve to live in a country they call themselves? What about the hundreds of widows whose husbands were killed by shepherds and thrown to birds for food? Isn’t it worth going back to their lonely homes to start life in a way that dehumanizes them?
The last Benue had more than a million IDPs!
We were worried that we would say no to any policy like the Benue Mothers’ pasture reserves and enslaving our people and giving our lands to the murderous Fulani shepherds!
We have also seen a disturbing trend in which the Fulani militia is attacking our people, but the Federal Government is rapidly emerging to free them from any crime. A recent example was Governor Ortom’s attack on his farm by those who said he was on his way to conquer Benue and other parts of Nigeria. Fulani, a terrorist group known as the Fulani National Movement, has claimed responsibility for the assassination attempt on the governor. Again, the Nigerian Police Forces released the group. Police High Command sent an investigation team to Benue to verify the identities of the culprits, such as armed Fulani shepherds. Police arrested and took the suspects to Abuja, only a few days later went to Aso Villa, the Chief Police Inspector and Governor Ortom announced that those who wanted to kill were not Fulani people! What a shame! This can be blamed. The Nigerian Police is now the Fulani Police Force and no longer for the protection of all Nigerians?
We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to address the people immediately and to warn Fulani shepherds to stop the killings. We know that if he addresses Fulanis directly and expresses every word he says, they will listen to him.
The president must urgently announce the cancellation of a plan to allocate pastures to Nigerians and instead develop a National Ranching Policy.
The federal government must also focus on the Southern Governors’ declaration of Asaba against open grazing.
President Buhari must motivate security agencies and direct them to be professional and impartial in the performance of their duties.
We also expect Mr. President to call on the people he has appointed to stop violating the sensitivity of Nigerians. Justice Minister Abubakar Malami’s comparison of the open pasture ban to the spare parts trade was a sensitive, reprehensible and crisis-like affair. Another presidential aide, Garba Shehu, condemned anyone who spoke out against the president. This is a gross denial of the foundations of democracy. In democracies where the government is the people and the people, the leaders of such countries listen to constructive criticism in order to thrive.
We call on the international community and peacekeepers around the world to take an interest in what is happening in Nigeria, especially in the Middle Belt region, where the killing of innocent people by shepherds has become commonplace.
Benue, for example, is Nigeria’s food basket, and for many years, farmers have been displaced from their ancestral lands. The ugly scenario has resulted in food crises and is now preparing to take a more dangerous measure if not stopped.
We expect the Federal Government to fulfill its promise to help the Benue State Government relocate the displaced people to their homes. The longer the IDPs stay in the camps, the worse their situation will be.
We call on our sons and daughters, who are still sitting on the fence, to wake up and speak out against the evil done in our lands. This issue is not only related to Governor Samuel Ortom. The sons of Benue, who think that they are not affected by the crisis at home and abroad, should know that we all lose, whether we are at home or not. They must raise their voices to condemn the injustice done to us. This is not the time to make policy. They should send aid materials to those in IDP camps and ask for support from international donor organizations to help our people.
Finally, we call on Nigerians who love justice, peace and equality to rise up and condemn what happened to the innocent people of Benue State. The killer shepherds are still with us. They started a guerrilla war. Now they are attacking our people in their sleep and leaving the familiar death mark.
Thank you all and may God protect Nigeria.