Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has observed that it was the Myetti Allah Kautal Hore that gave ethnic colouration to the farmers/herders crisis and not the people of Benue.
However, Senate President Bukola Saraki has said he would give maximum support to security agencies in the country to ensure the safe return of Internally-Displaced Persons (IDPs) to their homes.
Saraki made this known in Benue where he went to celebrate the Children’s Day with IDPs at Abagana camp, Makurdi, on Sunday.
He was of the opinion that the herders group gave it the ethnic and religious colouration it has now taken when they talked about occupying the land and waging a jihad against the people of the Benue valley.
Ortom stated that Myetti Allah had vowed to resist the anti-grazing law, hence the lingering crisis and killings in the state has persisted.
“If we talk about ethnic cleansing, if we talk about jihad, they (Myetti Allah) are the ones that said it.
“We are in no way trying to bring religious colouration into this matter; we don’t want to say this is a religious matter; we don’t want to say that it is a fight between the Benue people and the Fulani people or any other ethnic group in Nigeria.
“When we talked about jihad that these people are out to effect a jihad it’s because they said it and we are quoting them and no one has come out to dispute this fact,” he pointed out.
“They (herders group) are insisting that they would continue to disobey the laws of the land.
“Just last week, a communiqué issued after their meeting in Kaduna was centred on Benue State and the governor, and they said they would not respect the laws of the land.
“I am happy that you are here yourself. I don’t think you will allow this to continue because if you do that, the legislature at the federal, state and local levels will have no job staying in Abuja, Makurdi or the local government.
“It is our constitutional responsibility (to enact laws for good governance) and no one has come to challenge that what we did was wrong in enacting this law in which we followed due process.”
He however appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for upgrading the military exercise in the state to an operation, adding that though the killings have not stopped, there has been a measure of difference.
In his response, Saraki said the legislature would continue to engage with stakeholders and security agencies in the country to end the killings and ensure that IDPs returned to their homes.
He said, “We have since the beginning of this crisis been engaging the security that they must get to root of the situation.
“At the Senate, we will stop at nothing and must continue and engage, stakeholders, security and all concern to ensure that the killing stop.
“We will make sure to hold service chiefs accountable and must do everything possible for them to return here and end the killing.
“Whatever happens to Benue is to the entire of North Central. What I have seen here is a pitiable situation and I don’t think anybody will see the killing going on in this place and the entire country and will be happy.”