Benue may cut alignment with North over killings

Disturbed by the recurring attacks on Benue communities and the attendant large death tolls, leaders of the state have mandated the state government to cut socio-political alignment with the North, if the killings continued.

Some youths protesting the killings Pained that it took northern governors three weeks to visit the state after the killing of 73 people by herdsmen and even up till now President Muhammadu Buhari is yet to visit the state, the leaders said it was time to revive the old Middle-Belt of late Joseph Tarka or seek alignment with the South.

Various Benue stakeholders, including serving and former elected leaders, elder statesmen and leaders of ethnic nationalities in the state echoed these views at an expanded stakeholders’ meeting held  at Government House, Makurdi. Unanimously, the stakeholders called for the restructuring of Nigeria to address the numerous challenges facing the country.

Speaking at the meeting, former Minister of Steel, Wantaregh Paul Unongo, urged Benue families to defend themselves and not allow herdsmen slaughter them like chicken. His words: “I am urging you because I know that under the UN chatter, if your government fails to protect you, you can protect yourself; it is no crime. Our people should, therefore organise, themselves around the traditional rulership to defend yourselves.

“And I also state categorical on our alliance with the North, that if in time of need your own friend is not going to help you, you are under bounds to make new friendship that will be mutually beneficial.” The elder statesman insisted that President Buhari should come to the state to condole with the people, noting: “It was for this reason that I refused to be part of the delegation to the President.”

On the part of the ethnic leaders, Chief Ode Enyi, President-General of Omi ‘Yi Igede, said: “We have given the state government ultimatum to pull out of the Northern Governors’ Forum and the Northern Traditional Rulers Council if the killings in Benue persisted and after issuing that ultimatum the killings are continuing. So, the wishes of the people must be obeyed.”