IRKED by sustained killings of their kinsmen by suspected herdsmen, major stakeholders in both Plateau and Benue states have dragged the Federal Government to the International Court of Justice in Hague, Switzerland.
Leaders of ethnic nationalities from the states and members of professional bodies such as the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) have either forwarded petitions to the Court or are penultimate collating relevant documents and other evidence to accompany their own petitions over alleged act of genocide against indigenes of the two states.
Close to 200 persons were killed by suspected herdsmen about two weeks ago in parts of Plateau State with the attendant outrage within and outside the country.
Piqued by the persistent killings in four local government areas of Plateau State, an umbrella body of all the ethnic nationalities in the state, Plateau Initiative for Development and Advancement of the Natives (PIDAN) said it had sent a petition to the ICJ over the alleged killings of the natives.
Similarly, the Berom Educational and Cultural Organisation announced its plan to forward a separate petition detailing the killings in the state.
The chairman of PIDAN Dr Madaki Aboi said such organisations as the North Central Youths Assembly and others had sent their petitions to the ICJ and the United Nations on the gruesome killings in Plateau State.
“We want the ICJ to intervene because of the excessive killings in Plateau and continuous injustice against our people. An injustice to one tribe is an injustice to the entire Plateau State. We are calling on the ICJ to ensure that justice is done on the Plateau; the killings are too much,” he said
Dr Aboi, who called for an overhaul of the nation’s security architecture, stated that if Amnesty International could posit that the attackers operated for seven hours last week Saturday without intervention from the security agencies then there was the need for total overhaulling.
On the number of displaced people over the recent killings, Dr Aboi said in Barakin-Ladi and Riyom local governments alone, 13,000 persons were displaced while 11,164 were also displaced from other affected local governments adding that the displaced people were in 10 different IDP camps across the state.
Speaking with Sunday Tribune, Secretary General, Berom Educational and Cultural Organisation, Mr Davou Choji said there were enough and clear grounds for the petition.
Association of the Middle Belt Ethnic Nationalities (ASOBEN), in a statement by its chairman Sule Kwasau and Secretary, Reverend James Pam respectively, said from all indications, the Fulani were allegedly waging a war on Nigerian communities in the Middle Belt, South-West, South-South and South-East zones in pursuit of an ethnic-cleansing and land-grabbing agenda.
“We can conclude that the Federal Government is supporting this agenda, in view of its several attempts in the last three years to pass a Grazing Law a federal river banks authority, create cattle colonies in states and, most recently, the gazetting of 94 transition cattle ranches in 10 select states at a cost of N179 billion.
“The Nigerian state is slowly drifting into anarchy, as government is not ready to call a spade a spade and adopt appropriate steps to solve our fundamental problems,” he said.
The association called for immediately restructure the architecture of the Armed Forces in order to make them more professional.
It suggested that all Fulani herdsmen currently occupying the 45 invaded villages in Plateau, should be ordered to leave and return to their states of origin where they should be assisted to adopt a sedentary style of integrated animal husbandry.
The association alsocalled on the Federal Government to make sufficient funds available for the feeding, rebuilding of houses and places of worship and the resettlement of all displaced persons in Plateau and other affected states adding that hunger is a looming danger.
Group, NBA consider legal action
The president general, Mdgzou U Tiv, Chief Edward Ujege has said the group was already collating materials detailing the activities of herdsmen attacks on Benue valley.
Ujege, who did not want to explain the details for security reasons, lamented the loss of lives and property following herdsmen’s attacks on the state since New Year day.
Ujege who is the spokesman for Benue cultural group, which comprises Mdzough U Tiv, Idoma National Forum and Omi’Ngede said the group suspected federal government complicity in the whole crisis.
He described the recent attacks on the state as pure ethnic cleansing, ‘because the whole attacks have been on Tiv ethnic group of Nasarawa, Taraba and the whole Benue, and we have compiled all the attacks and the attendant casualties and destruction of property in all these areas, which we are attaching to our report.’’
Also speaking, immediate past chairman, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Makurdi branch, Emmanuel Agbakor, said he was leading a team of lawyers to pursue a legal action against President Buhari.
He said the process was at the implementation stage beganwhen his term expired few weeks ago, stating that he had handed over the process to the new executive members.
When asked of the prayer in the case, he said, “we want to tell the court that the act of killings amount to genocide; because it is evident that the president and his security chiefs are unwillingly to protect the people of Benue state.
“What is happening in Benue is genocide; a crime against humanity, which is an international crime among many others, being perpetrated across the state and in the country,” Agbako alleged.
Saraki, Tambuwal want state police,
Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, condemned incessant killings in parts of the country, saying that the situation requires a drastic action from both the National Assembly and the Presidency, just as Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal called on governors to be fully in charge of security in their states.
Saraki, said that the National Assembly, under his leadership, would not shy away from its responsibilities.
Speaking with journalists in Ilorin at the weekend after an assessment tour of some ecological prone areas in the metropolis, Saraki said that “the National Assembly under my leadership, many months ago, had seen the danger.
“We had called for security summit to address the issue of security architecture. We had seen the need for us to review the security structure. We had invited service chiefs on the matter. You are all very aware that some service chiefs decided in their own wisdom that there is no need for them to work with the NASS to address these issues.
“We on our part at the NASS, we will not get frustrated but we have been sounding this alarm. A society where gunmen could go in, shoot for seven hours and nobody is caught. That is not a normal society.
“As we resume we will continue on our part as parliament to ensure that those who have the responsibility of protecting lives and property are accountable to the people. It cannot continue, it is not something to be politicized. If somebody is not capable he should give way for others that are competent. We have heard that security personnel are working at cross purposes. A is not talking to B and B is not talking to C. They don’t attend meetings jointly. Things need to be done.
Governor Tambuwal, speaking at the opening ceremony of the National Executive Meeting of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Sokoto on Saturday, said: “There is seeming justification for a state police in view of the security situation in Nigeria. “Even if it is community policing or a minimum level of control on security agents by a sitting governor.
‘‘That is why Zamfara State governor, Abdulaziz Yari had, out of frustration, recently said he is no longer the chief security officer of his state. If as governor, you have unfriendly commissioner of police or commander of civil defence, there is little you can do
“So, there is need for governors to have some level of control on security agents. The responsibility of maintaining security is the primary responsibility of any government
“Mr President should listen to the voice of the general public and do something about the security architecture of the country,” he stated.
Let Buhari face his responsibility —PDP
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), described a diversionary allegations by Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) that it sponsored the killings in Plateau State as callous, wicked and obtrusive.
In a statement in Abuja, by its national publicity secretary, Hon Kola Ologbondiyan,the Party advised the BMO to stop its hallucinations and tell its principal, President Muhammadu Buhari, to live up to the responsibility of his office by stopping the bloodletting and callous murder of innocent citizens in various parts of the country.
The PDP described as “unfortunate and highly condemnable that members of the BMO, if truly they are citizens of Nigeria, could seek to politicize the gruesome killings of compatriots in Plateau and other states, instead of confronting President Buhari and charging him to live up to his billing or assisting him in finding solution to the gruesome daily bloodlettings”
According the party, “the BMO, out of frustration of its inability to further beguile Nigerians into believing that Buhari is our 21st century Messiah, is resorting to baseless, lame and political accusations against the PDP
“Thus, the BMO has further confirmed the fears of Nigerians that the Buhari administration is groping and has no concrete plans or strategy to apprehend the killers, safeguard the lives of our citizens and protect the territorial integrity of our dear nation
“We, therefore, urge Nigerians to note the desperate, concerted and sustained moves by the Buhari Presidency, as well as, its chorus boys to politicize the killings and engage in utterances that tend to derail investigations, provide cover for culprits and scuttle efforts by security agencies to apprehend those behind the dastardly act
“Nigerians may recall that on June 25, 2018, immediately the news of the Plateau killing broke, the Presidency, before any security investigation, issued a release wherein it attempted to offer explanations on the killings and tried to blame some persons it referred to as ‘locals “On Thursday June 28, 2018, while Nigerians were mourning and urging security agencies to track down the killers, the Presidency, without exhibiting any form of empathy to the bereaved, issued yet another statement, attempting to politicize the killings by making morbid comparisons of those killed under various administrations and stating that “wanton killings had been with us for a while”, a comment that tended to weaken the morale of the security officers.
“Nigerians may further recall that President Buhari had, in March this year, directed that anybody who attempted to play politics with the handling of security would be dealt with. We now wonder why his presidency and support group have resorted to attempts to politicize the Plateau killings, a development that has raised suspicions that they have something to hide
“The PDP is compelled to urge security agencies to invite the members of the BMO to provide information as principal witnesses to the carnage that have taken place across our nation
“On our part, the PDP will not deter on its stance to continue to speak out against the bloodletting and killings of innocent Nigerians and to, on behalf of the citizens, hold the Buhari administration accountable in the discharge of the duty vested on it to ensure security of lives and property of our citizenry”.
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