– The convener of the One Idoma Initiative, Paul Edeh said Benue state governor’s statement that the crisis in Agatu was caused by Chadians, Malians and Ghanaians is deceptive
– Edeh said the state governor lacks knowledge of what is happening in Benue state
– He also said a resolve have been reached between the Idomas and the Fulanis’ to ceasefire
The people of Idoma through the One Idoma Initiative have called on the Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom to desist from deceiving Nigerians on the situation of things in Agatu local government area in the state.
Speaking to NAIJ.com, the convener of the One Idoma Initiative, Paul Edeh said the governor’s statement that the crisis in killings in Agatu was perpetrated by Chadians, Malians and Ghanaians and not Fulani herdsmen is deceptive.
“My response to Ortom is simple, we had a town hall meeting on Tuesday, March 24, where a communique was released to the effect to let peace reign in Agatu; and there was a directive for a ceasefire by both parties,” Edeh said.
Edeh said the directive given by a combined team of notable Idoma people and the leadership of Myetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) have so far led to a ceasefire with the Fulani herdsmen leaving Agatu.
“Except if Ortom is saying that the people that gave the directive are also Chadians and Malians, but he should acknowledge that we have made an effort and an impact to bring a lasting end this crisis rather go about and be deceiving people that it is Chadians and Malians that have been causing the mayhem,” he added.
Edeh further added that the Benue state government have been insincere to Nigerians since the crisis erupted in Agatu.
He said: “Yes, the government is not sincere in tackling the issue of the Fulani herdsmen, Ortom should have known by now that after our town hall meeting, a directive have been given which have also been complied with.”
“And that the root causes of these crisis should be tackled headlong rather than go about beating about the bush; every right thinking person would know that there is peace now in Agatu. Is he (Ortom) now saying that between now and then that the directive was given, the Chadians have left?” Edeh asked.
Also, contrary to the governor’s claims, the national president of MACBAN, Othman Ngelezerma in Abuja during a joint press conference with the One Idoma Initiative on Sunday, March 27, while accepting responsibility of the attacks and damages done by the Fulani herdsmen said both parties have been affected by the crisis.
“We must work towards peace, of course both parties have had their losses, the Fulani herdsmen also lost their cattle,” Ngelezerma had said.
However Edeh continued saying that the peace agreement reached by the Idomas and the MACBAN is an indication that the governor lacks knowledge of happenings in his state.
“That goes to say that the governor is not sincere in tackling this issue, it exactly clear that Ortom is not aware of happenings in his state because for those of us who have been on ground, and have seen and noted what is on ground, we have a better understanding than the governor,” Edeh said.
“Because if the inspector general of police can stop in Markurdi and come and few days later to say that the figure of the killings that happened in Agatu was exaggerated, it means that was what the governor fed him with.
“The IGP said he went on ground, but the truth is that he stopped in Markurdi, interacted with the governor and came up with the statement he made.
“It is a clear indication that the IGP was informed by the governor who is not informed by what is going on in Benue state. As a chief security officer of the state, if he was informed, he should have known all that has been happening in the state so far,” he said.
The crisis that rocked most communities in Agatu local government on Saturday, March 5, led to the killing of many and destruction of property in the area.
Also, thousands of Agatu residents were displaced following the March 5, invasion of Fulani herdsmen in Agatu.
However, the chairman of the peace and reconciliation committee, Agah Idu had told NAIJ.com that the committee have been able to reach a peace process that led to the exit of the Fulani’s from Agatu, another contradiction from the Benue state governor’s statement.