Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed sadness over the gruesome murder of Benue people in their homes by Fulani herdsmen, describing the development as shocking and senseless.
Obasanjo, who was received at the Makurdi Airport by Governor Samuel Ortom and members of his cabinet yesterday morning, was led straight to the graveside of the Benue 73 who were massacred by herdsmen on new year day in Logo and Guma Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state, located at Genabe village, along Mobile Barracks/Welfare Quarters Road. While noting that a Nigerian life lost is a loss to all Nigerians, the former president said he was in the state to pay a condolence visit and to express his sorrow over the killings.
“It is sad beyond description and that is why I have taken it upon myself, having been to Maiduguri where we had a meeting of Zero Hunger Forum. If circumstances were normal, the Benue governor would have been with us. So, I am here to pay a condolence visit and share the sadness of Benue people with them.
“I felt coming to the graveside and laying a wreath will express my sorrow and my sympathy and empathy with the family, the Governor, all the people of the state and indeed, all Nigerians without any exception. A Nigerian life lost is loss to all of us.
“Hearing that aside the 73 buried here, more than 80 others have been killed in different parts of Benue is even more shocking to me. I believe it will be more shocking to all Nigerians who will be hearing that.
“There is no doubt that we haven’t got it right. We haven’t got it right because whatever is behind this, normally in any civilized society, we must get to the root of it. And until we get to the root of this we will be burying victims.
We will be assuming what is not assumable, because we must know why this is happening and how we must put an end to it. And somebody must accept the responsibility to put an end to this. If it has to be a collective responsibility, then so be it. But there must be an end to it,” Obasanjo said.
He charged the Federal Government to seek ways of unraveling the cause of the incessant killing of Nigerians across the country, stating that the call had become necessary so that the country could be free and secure enough for investors to come in.
“We cannot talk of a free country, a secured country, a country where we will want development to take place, where we will want to invite investors from outside and from inside and we are suffering this type of senselessness. “I do hope that there would be an end to this. Governor, please accept my condolence and do not give up trying to work with men and women that have the interest of this state and the interest of Nigeria at heart to find a permanent solution. “This to me goes beyond what is on the surface. And we need to find out what is at the bottom of it. And that is the responsibility of leaders and of course, they must leave no stone unturned to find what is the root cause of this and put a stop to it.
“Nothing can be worse than what we have seen here; graveside of innocent people who should not have died. The living still has hope but those who have died are gone forever. Those who lost their loved ones, what do we say to them? Since I have taken time to come here, I will try to see anything that is worth seeing but finding solution is paramount,” Obasanjo said.