President Muhammadu Buhari has once again called on farmers in Benue State to learn to live together with herders in peace, adding that it was no mistake that God put over 250 ethnic groups together in Nigeria.
Buhari said this during his visit to Benue State, where he held a meeting with representatives of farmers, herdsmen, as well as government officials, including members of the Senate, National Assembly and State Assembly.
He told the people that politics and political office holders would come and go but the relationship between farmers and herders would continue.
“The Governor and I, and others here know that we will leave one day, but the relationship between farmers and herders will continue,” he said.
“I urge you to keep in touch with them and advise them to live peacefully. Nigeria has over 250 ethnic groups with different cultures and nobody can question God for putting us together.”
Buhari also expressed surprise on learning that Ibrahim Idris, Inspector General of Police, did not obey his directive to relocate to Benue State days after suspected herdsmen killed over 80 persons in the State on New Year Day.
“I’m not aware that the IG did not spend 24 hours in the state as directed by me, I am getting to know in this meeting,” Buhari said.
“I cannot overlook the killings in Benue or any other part of Nigeria. I cannot do that. I am genuinely worried about the attacks in Benue and we are doing everything to end them.”
Responding, Governor Samuel Ortom appealed to the President to upgrade the ongoing military exercise in the state to an operation in order to effectively tackle the criminal herdsmen.
“If the exercise is upgraded to an operation, it will assist greatly in ending the incessant attacks and senseless killings by herdsmen,” Ortom said.
He maintained that the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore was responsible for the killings and that the leader should be arrested and prosecuted.
But Shettima Mohammed, leader of the Benue State chapter of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), denied the allegations, saying that the association is a peace-loving group.