‘Why Benue monarchs met Buhari’

Nigerian Concord Newspaper

The Benue Traditional Council led by the Tor Tiv, Professor James Ayatse, today met with President Muhammad Buhari in Abuja to resolve the issues surrounding insecurity and plights of the Internally Displaced Persons , IDPs, in the state.

This is contrary to reports coming out from the main opposition party in Benue state, APC, that the monarchs were at the State House in Abuja to beg President Buhari to stop the party’s governorship candidate in the March 23 governorship election, Mr. Emmanuel Jime, from appealing Monday’s Tribunal ruling which upheld the reelection of Governor Samuel Ortom of the PDP.

According to a statement signed by the president’ Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garbage Shehu, there was no point where the Benue monarch discussed the legal battle between Ortom and Jime at the meeting.

Recall that the Benue APC media handlers had thrown the entire Benue state into confusion with fake reports that Governor Ortom was the one that took the traditional rulers to Abuja in order to help him beg Buhari to stop Jime from his appeal.

Meanwhile, the traditional leaders were in the meeting to urge the president to support the state governor’s efforts to stop insecurity in the state.

Tor Tiv Ayatse specifically told the president to consider the plights of the IDPs who had been thrown into their present state as a result of Fulani attacks on Benue communities.

Ayatse who spoke for the Benue monarchs at the meeting implores President Buhari to use his good office and the Chief Security Officer of the Federation to ensure a peaceful coexistence between the Fulani and Benue people.

Responding to the narration of the Tor Tiv on the plight of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the recent conflicts in the State, the President said he was aware of that, and all that obtains in the Northeast, the Northwest and the South-South.

He noted that it is in realisation of the foregoing and the urgent need to ameliorate the plight of the IDPs that he created the new Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, “so that we have a ministry that coordinates their demands, and we avoid duplication of resources

President Buhari expressed delight with the leadership of the Tor Tiv and other traditional rulers in their various communities as well as for their strong support for his administration.

He promised to look into the “long list” of the delegation’s demands, and thanked the royal fathers for showing appreciation for what his administration has done in the State in terms of projects and appointments.

The President however declared that he is fully committed to the unity of Nigeria, and will devote all his time and energy to promoting it for the benefit of Nigerians.

He also called for better appreciation of the historical relationships among various communities in order to sustain the nation’s unity.

Stressing that ties between the Tiv and his own ethnic Fulani stock, which predated him and the current generation, helped in ensuring peaceful and harmonious co-existence among the people, he expressed optimism that such cordial bonds will continue to endure among various groups and serve as a strong unifying force in the country.

President Buhari decried the misunderstanding of internal conflicts by many people at home and abroad, citing the farmer-herders clashes which in several places had been misconstrued as religious, when in fact they arose from social and cultural factors.

He restated his appeal for better understanding of the nation’s diverse cultures in order to engender a healthier co-existence among the people, while fortifying and strengthening the unity of the country.

On the delegation were the Tor Tiv and Paramount ruler of Tiv People and Chairman Benue State Council of Traditional Rulers, The HRH Prof James Ortese Iorzua Ayatse,, Och’Otukpo/Ohimin, HRH Emmanuel Oche Okochi representing the Och’i Idoma, The Tor Jemgbagh, HRH David Afatyo, The Tor Kwande, HRH Ambrose Pinne Iyortyer, The Tor Sankera HRH Abu King Shuluwa, The Tor Jechira, HRH Clement K. Uganden.