Coalition of Civil Society Groups for Peace and Security, CCGPS, yesterday urged the Federal Government to declare state of emergency in Benue, Taraba and any other state where the governor, as the Chief Security officer wilfully allows the security situation to degenerate to the point where mass murder take place.
Addressing newsmen in Lagos, National President of the group, Otunba Kola Salau said that such declaration will allow for full scale investigation and also stop armed militias from further harming any ethnic group to cause unnecessary crisis in the polity.
Salawu noted that they have followed recent events in Benue state, where the state government has been in a tussle with rampaging herdsmen.
He said: “With keen interest, we are genuinely worried that the situation is being manipulated to make it fester. We also note with concerns the revived hostilities on the Mambila Plateau, which has now been proven to be part of a larger plot by some politicians to pave the way for their wealth with human corpses.
“We do not in any way condone the atrocities committed by those that have taken the laws into their own hands and engaged in wanton destruction of human lives and property. The extra-judicial execution of even one person is condemnable under any circumstance, so we condemn the killing of scores of Benue State indigenes as abhorrent and reprehensible.
“We warn that what happened is unacceptable and must never again be repeated irrespective of the provocation.”
The group, however, accused the Benue State governor for spending more energy in stoking the fires of division as opposed to delivering the dividends of democracy to those that elected him.
He said: “Instead of empowering the people of his state by creating economic opportunities he has brought the hapless people a harvest of deaths, avoidable deaths. He seems to have succeeded in using the farmers/herders’ crisis to divert attention from his failure to deliver governance to the people of the state arising from his dearth of ideas.
“Our group is in custody of credible information that the Benue State Government through its arming of the State Civilian Joint Task Force after passing a law to restrict open grazing is responsible for the renewed hostility between the Fulani herdsmen and Farmers across the State.
The group disclosed that Benue Governor was not alone in brash behavior that cost human life, “Gentlemen of the press, recall that it was earlier reported that the Taraba State Government through the Governor, Mr. Darius Ishiaku, used the state’s security agencies and armed militias commit the Mambila genocide, killing members of a particular ethic group in large number.
“Till date this atrocity too has not been investigated in order to see that justice is done to the victims of this crisis. Taraba has is consequently an inspiration to Benue state governor.
They however urged federal government to show leadership since the blame will grow to become its own if it allows ethnic militias to fester unchecked.