Rose Ejembi, Makurdi; Felix Ikem, Nsukka
The Benue State Government has made adequate preparation to receive President Muhammadu Buhari to the state today.
Governor Samuel Ortom disclosed this yesterday. He added that during the visit, the president would pay a courtesy call on the Chairman of the Benue State Council of Chiefs, Tor Tiv the fifth, Professor James Ortese Iorzua Ayatse.
The statement, which was signed by his Special Adviser on Media and ICT, Tahav Agerzua, added that President Buhari would, thereafter, hold a meeting with major stakeholders at the Benue Government House and visit one of the eight displaced persons’ camps in the state.
Meanwhile, last minutes arrangements, including patching of potholes along the Makurdi-Gboko Road were being made to ensure a smooth drive for the president and his entourage from the Makurdi Airport and back.
Commissioner for Works, Transport and Energy, Emmanuel Manger, disclosed that the state government, through his ministry, was working on the portion of road from Air Force entrance gate to the Wurukum Roundabout in Makurdi.
On his part, Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in the state, David Mendie, told newsmen that all measures have been taken on the part of the command ahead of the planned visit as adequate personnel had been deployed to ensure free flow of traffic during the president’s visit.
Mendie, however, appealed to all road users to obey traffic rules before, during and after the visit.
In a communique issued after a press conference in Nsukka at the weekend, a group, under the aegis of Concerned Benue Indigenes Resident in Southeastern Nigeria, has condemned alleged continuous killing and destructions of property by the Fulani herdsmen in Benue State.
The group said: “Mr. President, in your inaugural speech, you said ‘I belong to everybody, I belong to no one….’. We are now wondering whether you are still in control of this wonderful philosophy. We don’t need a ceremonial visit; we need peace and justice in our land.
“The people of Benue State voted for you enmass with expectations to receive good dividends of democracy; but, today, we are being killed, slaughtered and rendered homeless in our ancestral homes by herders. It is hard to know that cows are valued in Nigeria more than the sacred lives of our people.”
Remembering Late Major Gideon Orka, the group apologised to the people of Southeastern Nigeria who saw the act of intolerance 50 years ago.
“We, hereby, offer our unreserved apologies to our brothers and sisters from the southeast, who saw this act of intolerance over 50 years ago. We equally remember our son, Late Major Gideon Orka, who identified the incompatibility of the people and cried out. We want the coexistence of Nigeria as an entity only where everyone will be given full rights to live in peace. We call on the United Nations, ECOWAS, USA and UK to come to our rescue before herders, in collaboration with their sponsors, eradicate the people of Benue State. We urge Mr. President to suspend his planned visit to Benue State for now and ensure that perpetrators of these evil acts are punished in accordance with the law.”
The communiqué, jointly signed by chief convener and lecturer at University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Dr. David Wayas and Isaac Ojepa, respectively, called on the state governor and leaders in the state to unite and continue to defend the people of the state.