MINDA group accuses Akume of suffering Benue people for selfish interest

Nigerian Concord Newspaper

The MINDA Strategic Contact Group, MSCG, has accused Senator George Akume, Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs of insensitivity to the suffering of Benue people for his selfish gains.

In a press statement issued at the weekend in Makurdi, the Benue State capital which text was read by Dr Tivlumun Nyitse, the group also accused Akume of being out of tune with reality in his postulation that the Fulanis had lived peacefully with the Tiv.

The statement is coming at the heels of the 30th August, 2021, Akume’s “vague and uncouth conference which did not fulfill any measure of statesmanship, but rather exposed his insensitivity to the suffering of Benue people.”

MINDA Strategic Contact Group said the briefing by Akume “is a juxtaposition of mundane issues that are very injurious to any Benue man that has the interest of the state at heart and is pained by the decades of horrified bloodletting in the state occasioned by Fulani herdsmen militia unprovoked aggression against farmers, which the world has risen against; the bloodletting that Senator Akume’s very people of Tiv are most devastated and are still-suffering every passing day with no end in sight.”

According to the group, it is sad that rather than use his position as special duties minister to the advantage of his people, Akume “tends to have manifest joy in snuggling in the blood of his people.”

It added that the former Benue State governor’s “insinuation that Governor Samuel Ortom used discourteous language against President Muhammadu Buhari was nothing but a pretext to unveil his incubated acerbity against the Governor for his firm stance against the genocide in Benue State.

“While the Senator is playing politics and dancing over the graves of his people, Governor Ortom sees it differently, vowing that as the Chief Security Officer of the state, he has a responsibility not only to protect his people but also demand for protection for them from the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

The group explained that “to view Governor Ortom’s security concerns as effrontery and disrespect to Mr President meant that the Senator preferred dereliction to diligence and service to the people. This is outrageous.”

It further explained that Ortom’s concerns are borne out of live for his people and the truth relating to the security changes in the state. “These two fundamental factors permeate Governor Ortom’s assertions on the security situation in Benue State and throughout his remarks on Channels Television, which led to the shocking reaction by Senator George Akume,” the group went on.

“Perhaps, Senator Akume needs a reminder that the insecurity Saga in Benue State occasioned by the genocidal Fulani militia invasions started when he was Governor, as he himself has admitted in his press conference.

“This portends self-indictment because if his administration had tackled the situation and nipped the problem in the bud, it would not have snowballed into this magnitude and straddled three administrations, namely Akume 1999 – 2007, Suswam 20007 – 2015 and now Ortom 2015- (date).

“Governor Ortom did not originate the Fulani herdsmen malaise in the state, he inherited it. The issue is, before Ortom assumed the reins of power as governor of the state, the conflict became fully developed and the expansionary agenda of the invaders was no longer in doubt. This therefore gave rise to the conspiracy theories such as “revival of the1804 Sokoto Jihad” “Islamization and Fulanization” of Nigeria, etc,” the group asserted.

According to MINDA Strategic Contact Group, “Senator Akume seems more convinced that fostering cordiality between Benue and Fulani meant conceding all Benue land to the nomads; or Benue farmers given themselves up for murder in cold blood.

“The Senator’s postulation that The Fulani had lived peacefully with the Tiv is out of tune with reality. The Fulanis that Tiv people purportedly lived with over the years were presumably peaceful and friendly which is in sharp contrast to the present Fulani who have promoted open hostility and animosity through the use of lethal weapons such as AK47 which they use to kill innocent Benue farmers.

“We challenge Akume to take up farming business whether crop farming or animal husbandry in the states of origin of the Fulani and let the death of even a harebrained Fulani link to the operation of his farm and let’s see what the reaction would be.”

The group is concerned that land grabbing is the major goal of the “the well-planned genocidal invasions on Benue farming communities by Fulani herdsmen militia, which are executed with military precision.”

The group chides Akume for cladding “in armoury when he visited home after the infamous press conference, thus obliterating the free interaction his people enjoy with him. That action betrayed Senator Akume’s latent premonition of love lost between him and his people that fondly venerated him, the consummation of which was the electoral reward showered on him which culminated in his election as two-time governor of Benue State and three-time senator and yet, through well-wishing, now occupies the high position of minister of the Federal Republic.”

The rest of the statement reads: “Senator Akume’s seeming justification of the genocide on Benue people as the workings of economic determinism is most fallacious.

“Economic determinism is out of tune with modernity which abhors stifling of the freedom of others. Akume’ attempt to use economic determinism to explain the genocidal attack on Benue by Fulani herdsmen militia is tantamount to the belief that Fulani herdsmen militia are at liberty to crush all Benue farmers to death under the guise of the so-called economic determinism, a mask term for usurpation or outright expropriation of the natural God-given wealth of the people of Benue State.

“How can there be peace between Fulani herdsmen and farmers when the former willfully herd cattle into crop farms and kill the farmers while carrying out their farming activities, burn their villages, markets, and murder them in cold blood in the IDPs camps. Yet, Senator Akume wants us to believe that there has been an age long affinity between the two divides.

“The mythical affinity between the nomadic Fulani and the Tiv, the two ethnic divides Senator Akume fondly narrowed the herdsmen/farmers conflict in Benue State to, is an artificial contrivance that has been used overtime to mask the lack of cordiality between the nomads and the Tiv.”

According to the group, “there is no doubt that his synergy with Governor Ortom in this struggle would have produced remarkable outcome, but tended to abandon his people.

“Ortom has stood firm, saying the truth and insisting that there should be an end to these killings and mayhem melted on his people. His government enacted the Anti Open Grazing and Ranches Establishment Law. The law did not shut the state against Fulani herdsmen doing legitimate business in the state.

“What the Governor and the people of the state stand against is the open grazing of livestock and the brazen attempt by a few criminal elements to overrun the state by exterminating the citizens, and destroying their only means of economic livelihood (farming).

“The anti grazing law seeks to prohibit the practice of open rearing of livestock and promote the establishment of ranches in line with the global best practices in animal husbandry as its preferred policy strategy for addressing the conflict between herders and farmers in the state. This is because as an agrarian state, the Federal Government’s roadmap of (RUGA, Cattle routes and open grazing) is inconsistent with the peculiarity of the state whose predominant preoccupation is farming (90% of the population are farmers). However, the law was vehemently resisted by Miyetti Allah and other Fulani umbrella bodies, who rather vowed to kill, destroy and cause unrest to the people of Benue State. This was the turning point in the incessant killings in the state by Fulani herdsmen militia who do the killings and own up on air for doing so.”

In expressing “solidarity with the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, the government and people of Benue State,” the group demands that “President Muhammadu Buhari should rise up to his duties as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to protect all Nigerians from whatever form of insecurity irrespective of tribe, religion, or sex, and in particular farmers in Benue State from the hands of Fulani herdsmen militia because this is the primary responsibility of the federal government as enshrined in the constitution for which he also swore on oath to do.

“That as a stakeholder in Benue state and a statesman, Senator Akume should endeavour to contribute his own quota in addressing the herders/ farmers conflict and that as a true representative of the people at the national corridors of power the Senator should join forces with Governor Ortom to usher development to the Benue people other than align with devious elements to ruin the state he once ruled as Governor for 8 years.”