Benue killings: We may raise our own Army if…, says Unongo

Ancestral leader of the Tiv nation, Wantaregh Paul Unongo, has said that if President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to fulfill his mandate of protecting lives and properties of Benue people, the people of the state may be left with no option than to train their own Army in the state to defend them.

Unongo said this during a requiem church service for the burial of 73 deceased victims of the Fulani herdsmen attacks in the state. He also disclosed that a large number of Benue sons and daughters have contributed to the greatest contingents that fought wars across the world.

“Benue people have sacrificed enough blood for the unity of this country and would not allow a section of Fulani terrorists to come and kill our people in cold blood.

“I am begging Nigerians that my people cannot continue to be cannon fodder of this country. If government can’t protect us, we will mobilise and train our people into army to defend us. We are 100 per cent in support of what Governor Ortom has done. I am the spiritual leader and ancestral leader of the Tiv nation and I am saying enough is enough.”

Unongo, who is the convener and chairman of Northern Elders Forum (NEF), posited that the entire people of the state are watching President Buhari and have joined in the persistent calls by Governor Samuel Ortom on the need for the Federal Government to take drastic steps to urgently address the killings and also arrest the leader of the leaders of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hire (MAKH).

“If the Federal Government cannot stop or arrest those behind the killings, in two weeks, we shall raise an army of our own because we cannot allow people to colonise us again. We have all it takes to do that,” Unongo emphasised”.

On his part, Gen. Lawrence Onoja, who supported Unongo’s call, described the killing in the state as genocidal conspiracy against Benue people, stressing that, “this killings must not continue.”

“Some of us in 1966 fought the Nigeria war. Benue has contributed to the unity of this country, therefore If FG refuses to address the killings in Benue and if we decide to raise our army as advocated by our elders to defend ourselves, l will not mind to command that army despite my age.”

He, however, appealed to the federal government to replicate operation python dance or Fulani dance in Benue as being done in other states of the federation, while also enjoining sons and daughters of the state to rally round the governor for the successful enforcement of the anti open grazing law.

Also speaking, former member of the National Assembly, Sen. Joseph KN Waku, maintained that Benue people are known for creating peace, loved peace and honoured peace, averred that the people have endured peace for too long despite the fact that peace is the only answer and dialogue to entrench true democratic dispensation.

”It is unfortunate that someone would oppose a law that is legally enacted and begin to kill innocent people and the federal government would refused to make arrest in a quest to end the canage. This is enough provocation. Nobody has the monopoly of killing. Therefore enough is enough”.

Speaking on behalf of Benue State House of Assembly, Benjamin Adanyi regretted that president Buhari came to Benue during electioneering campaign to beg for votes and was overwhelmingly voted for by the Benue people and after he was voted into power, his brothers began to kill Benue people with reckless abandon.

Former governor of Benue state, Sen. George Akume, lamented that the primary aim of government was to protect lives of the citizenry, even as he appealed to the FG under President Buhari to proscribe the faction of the Miyietti Allah Kautal Hire as a terrorists group because their actions are treasonable as only terriorst that killed.

Akume, however, appealed to Benue communities not to take the laws into their hands but embrace peace and reconciliation as well as continue to pray together as one indivisible family to over come the present situation.

Representative of the United Nations, Dr. Mathins Ejibike, commiserated with the government and people of the state for the loss of their loved ones saying that what is happening in Benue demand international attention.

“We want an enlightened approach to this matter. We should continue to pray that these kind of killings shoud be the last in the Benue state.