President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to the government and people of Benue State to exercise restraint following the recent attacks on some communities in the state.
The President, who asked the people to accommodate their countrymen, also assured them that all the perpetrators of violence in Benue would be made to face the wrath of the law.
He made the appeal on Monday while receiving a delegation of political leaders, traditional rulers and elders of the state led by Governor Samuel Ortom, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
“Your Excellency, the governor, and all the leaders here, I am appealing to you to try to restrain your people,” President Buhari said in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.
“I assure you that the Police, the Department of State Security and other security agencies had been directed to ensure that all those behind the mayhem get punished.
“I ask you in the name of God to accommodate your countrymen. You can also be assured that I am just as worried, and concerned with the situation,” he said.
President Buhari vowed that all those involved in the conflict that culminated in the loss of lives would not escape justice, including any illegally armed militia in the state.
He further commiserated with all the victims of the attacks, as well as the families who lost loved ones and properties, saying the government would make efforts to ameliorate the situation of all the victims.
The President informed the leaders that his administration had already begun a process of finding a lasting solution to the perennial challenge of herdsmen conflict with farmers and communities around the country.
He said the Inspector General of Police had also been directed to relocate to the state to provide security for lives and properties and urged all Benue indigenes to trust the security agencies and report all suspicious cases of movements in the state.
On his part, Governor Ortom was hopeful that the tension would be reduced with the Federal Government’s intervention to find a lasting solution to the herdsmen attacks.
He also told the President that the leaders would depart the Aso Villa to “rebuild confidence” in the Benue people.
The Tor-Tiv, Professor James Ortese Ayatse, informed President Buhari that his entire domain had been thrown into mourning due to the incessant attacks and asked him to “put an end to the gruesome situation.”
Also present at the meeting were Benue State Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu; former Senate President, David Mark; former Benue State Governor, Senator George Akume; and Senator Barnabas Gemade.
Others include former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Michael Aondoakaa; as well as the Speaker of Benue State House of Assembly, Terkimbir Kyambe, among others.