— The immediate past Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, has condemned in strong terms, the decision of Benue State government to cede Adapati Island in Agatu Local Government Area to Fulani herdsmen for grazing.
Moro’s condemnation of the action of the Benue State government was contained in a press statement he personally issued and signed in Abuja on Friday.
According the ex-Minister, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has yet again failed the leadership test for not standing by the people of Agatu in the on-going feud with the Fulani herdsmen.
Comrade Moro wondered what would have made Ortom to change his earlier position that no part of Benue land would be ceded to Fulani herdsmen, stating rather that ranches would be built for Fulani cows barely few months ago.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain from Idomaland was of the firm view that signing agreement with the sole aim of allowing Fulani to graze in Adapati Island was a betrayal of the trust of the people.
His words: “It is no longer lost on anybody that Governor Ortom has set out to punish the Agatu people because he claimed that they did not vote for him in the 2015 general election. Otherwise, how does one explain the rationale for singling out the Agatu community for signing an agreement ceding the Adapati Island for grazing out of the numerous other communities in Benue State with whom the Fulanis have had some conflicts? This certainly is another hope betrayed. So sad.
“It is funny how the Deputy Governor of Benue State, Engr. Benson Abounu is spiritedly defending the Governor, Samuel Ortom, the Sole Administrator of Agatu Local Government, Mr. Michael Inalegwu and the Government of Benue State. If the Governor and the government of Benue State did not authorize Michael Inalegwu to sign the agreement ceding Adapati Island for grazing, let the government publicly disown the agreement that is already in the public domain because the Agatu people have said publicly that they did not authorize the signing of any agreement.”
The PDP stalwart further said: “It is interesting to note that while he is defending the agreement, the Deputy Governor was recently quoted as saying ‘the state government had alerted the Nigerian Army to monitor the implementation of the agreement and escort the Fulanis in their grazing adventure’. This is dangerous and an unprecedented militarization of Agatu Local Government Area with dire consequences. The State government is painting the Agatu people as the belligerent group who should be mowed down should any further conflict arise. This is unacceptable and condemnable. The world must hold the government of Benue State responsible for any further killing in Agatu.
“The purported agreement between the Agatu people of Benue State and the Fulani herdsmen of Nasarawa State was signed by the Sole Administrator of Agatu Local Government Area. If the Governor and government of Benue State want to be believed and trusted in the denial of ceding Agatu land for grazing, let the State government disown the agreement publicly and query the Sole Administrator, Mr. Michael Inalegwu, himself an appointee of the government who signed the agreement on behalf of the government of Benue State.
“To all intents and purposes, the so called peace which the purported agreement seeks to achieve is at best the peace of the graveyard. The government of Benue State has denied it; the Agatu people have denounced it and men and women of good conscience have described it as treacherous and despicable fit only for the dustbin of history. The only path of sanity for the government of Benue State elected by the people is to take urgent steps to rehabilitate the helpless people of Agatu and ensure the security of their lives and property. Anything to the contrary is unacceptable and will be resisted.”
FROM MICHAEL JEGEDE