Akase: Why FG should immediately declare Fulani herders in Benue as terrorists

Nigerian Concord Newspaper

Chief Press Secretary of Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state, Mr. Terver Akase, has explained that the Federal government should immediately heed to the call of the governor that Fulani herders killing people in the state should be declared as terrorists.

Akase said this today with Mrs Josephine Habba, National Coordinator of Jireh Doo Foundation Nigeria, while featuring live on Benue TV programme titled: “Renewed Herdsmen Attacks in Benue”

According to Akase, when a group is identified as a terrorist group, the are laws that govern how government should treat such people.

He added that declaring them as terrorists group will enable the Nigerian military to move against them as backed by the law.

His words: “Declaring the Fulani herdsmen in Benue as terrorists will help the state to curb insecurity a lot because they will not be treated with levity. The military will be enforced to confront them.

“When the federal government declares them as terrorists, the military will use their own ways to attack them. Declaring them as terrorists will turn the war to a frontier war between the group and the military. Even other security agencies may be asked to step aside”

The CPS continued that the attacks which the herdsmen had carried out in Benue state are more than the ones which other groups that had been declared as terrorists did.

He said: “If you look at what the Fulani herdsmen are doing to hurt the people of Benue, it is much more than what other groups that had been declared as terrorist groups were doing.

“Nothing should stop the federal government from declaring the Fulani herders in Benue as terrorists because if you look at the Global Terrorism Index of few years ago, the killer Fulani herdsmen were rated as the fourth deadliest organization in the world because they always destroy the economy of any community where they operate.

“If you see where they operate, they will kill a pregnant woman, remove the unborn child in her and put it on her. Their attacks are organized attacks because once they get to your house and you manage to escape, they will make sure that they destroy everything which you can think of coming back to, and it is only a terrorist organization that can operate like this”

Mr. Akase pressed further that going by the heinous crimes which the Fulani herders in Benue had commmited, nothing should stop the Federal government from declaring them as terrorists as demanded by Governor Ortom.

His words: “The federal government should compare the heinous crimes which the Fulani herdsmen are committing with the ones being committed by other groups that had been declared as terrorists. With this comparison, the federal government will see no reason not to quickly declare the killer Fulani herdsmen in Benue as terrorists.

“As a government, we feel saddened over what has been happening to our innocent people in Benue state over the years. We thought all the herder groups would respect the Anti Open Grazing law which was signed in 2017 by Governor Ortom but the continued attacks from them indicate that they had vowed never to respect the law of the land.

“That was why the governor put a call across to the president two days ago to declare the herdsmen operating in Benue state alone as terrorists. The governor was specific and that was why he didn’t generalize. He only said the herdsmen operating in Benue state.

“The herdsmen’s attacks are not about what their cows will eat but it is about their plan to take over Benue’s lands with force. The Fulani herders have an agenda and that is why we want them declared as terrorists by the President.

“These people don’t give up easily and they can allow the killings to go on for more than one hundred years. They said it themselves that the attack was the continuation of the Jihad thing. When they kill, the mode of killing will be the same, and this is to notify the world that they are the people doing these things, and that is why they must be declared as terrorists immediately by the federal government.

“They have never denied any of these killings and that is why we wonder why no one has asked question about why they are killing innocent people. That is what Governor Ortom who is a patient leader has done. Yes, the governor is a patient leader who gives time to people to correct their mistakes and that is why it has taken him time to make this call to the president”

The CPS also made it known that Nigeria has one of the best military formations in the world and declaration the killer herders as terrorists can make the military face them in a military fashion.

In her own speech, Mrs Josephine Habba, National Coordinator of Jireh Doo Foundation Nigeria, said that there is no argument that the killer herders in Benue are terrorists, stressing that Governor Ortom’s call to the Federal government to declare them as terrorists was late.

Her words: “There is no argument that the Fulani herdsmen are terrorists and should be declared as same. The governor was even late to call on the federal government to declare these killers as terrorists, and i think he delayed the call to this level as a result of his love for peace.

“Fulani herders had been operating as terrorists in Benue even before Governor Ortom became governor. They had been declared as terrorists in the Global Terrorism Index even before he became governor so his call for them to be declared as terrorists by the federal government should be applauded.

“What the Fulani herders have been doing in Benue state is a perfect description of a terrorists group. Why should anyone deny the fact that these guys are terrorists with the level of damages they had done and still doing in Benue state.

“The president always claims that he doesn’t know so many things and that is why he hasn’t been responsible enough to have declared the killers herdsmen in Benue as terrorists long time ago. The president was supposed to have declared them as terrorists long time ago but i think the governor’s Call is now a reminder and he should be backed by the international community if truly we are in a sovereign nation.

“The people of Nigeria should now wake up to analysis the call by the governor to the president that the killers should be declared as terrorists. The attack on Benue state by the killers herders is a menace on the whole world and not just a Nigeria thing and that is why the international community must rise up to support the call by Governor Ortom.

“The attack is a global pandemic. It is worse than Coronavirus scourge because since February 11, COVID-19 hasn’t killed up to 5000 people but in Benue, these killers have killed several thousands of people in the last one year.

“These Fulani herdsmen are irresponsible persons who Have come to ruin our state all in the name of rearing cows. It is a pity that the federal government has refused to understand that Benue state was designed by God to salvage the hunger of the people in this country”