Herdsmen Crisis: President Buhari Visits Benue After Criticism

By Abdul Tukur

President Muhammadu Buhari has visited Benue state, after receiving much criticism from two elder statesmen over his slow reaction to the killing of 73 people by Fulani Herdsmen on new year’s day.

The President, who arrived at Makurdi, the state capital at exactly 10:43 a.m. on Monday morning, meet with stakeholders and affected communities in order to assess the security situation.

His failure to visit the north-central state before now has been heavily criticised by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida.

A notable christian theologian, Tunde Bakare has also spoken out about the President’s “failure” in securing the lives of the people in Benue.

Pastor Bakare in a statement given in January 2018, lambasted the 75-year-old President, saying: “Nothing indicts the current government greater than its failure in one key performance area that ought to be its strength: security.

“Despite recent setbacks, we acknowledge the gains in the war against Boko Haram, but highly disturbing is the mayhem being continually unleashed by herdsmen on communities in different states across the country, including Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Adamawa, Kaduna, Enugu, Edo and Ogun States, leaving trails of weeping and wailing.”

Pastor Bakare of Latter Rain Assembly stated that “the recent killings in Benue State are akin to the last straw that is set to break the camel’s back.”

“Not only has the government failed to stop these killings across the country, it has done so against the backdrop of conspiratorial silence, choosing rather to label such attacks ‘an issue of communal misunderstanding’, as the Inspector General of Police recently did in respect of the Benue attacks; it has treated the menace with kid gloves even after the Global Terrorism Index 2015 described ‘militant’ herdsmen as ‘the fourth most deadly group of 2014,” the religious cleric adds.

However, today, a senior media aide to the President, tried to reassure Nigerians on the measures taken by the Government to stop the crisis.

Garba Shehu also insisted that his principal’s visit to the state today was not about “politics.”

He told Channels TV: The President “thought now is the best time to go there and see things on the ground and make important decisions.

“I would have thought that if he had intended to inject politics into it, he would have been on the plane the morning after the incident (in Benue).

“But he chose to act, rather than to talk and as you have seen yourself over this period of time, there was intervention by law enforcement, there was intervention by NEMA and aid agencies.”

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