The Concerned Benue Mothers (CBM) have enjoined the Federal Government to throw its weight behind Southern Governors’ Asaba declaration against open grazing as well as motivate and direct security agencies to be professional and neutral in the discharge of their duties. Led by Mrs. Rebecca Apedzan, a former federal lawmaker, the group also urged the President to as a matter of urgency, announce the cancellation of his plan to impose grazing reserves on Nigerians instead, should evolve a National Ranching Policy.
The Mothers decried the rising spate of insecurity in Benue and in the country and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently address the nation and caution Fulani herdsmen to stop the killings.
The mothers’ group equally urge the President to call his appointees to order to stop assaulting the sensibilities of Nigerians, recalling that what the Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami said by comparing the ban on open grazing with spare parts business was insensitive, condemnable, and akin to fanning embers of crisis. Same with Garba Shehu who denigrates anyone who holds an opinion contrary to that of the Presidency. The mothers describe this as a gross negation of the tenets of democracy. Noting that in democracies where government is of the people and for the people, leaders of such countries listen to constructive criticism to improve.
The Benue Concerned Mothers also called on the international community and lovers of peace across the world to show interest in what is happening in Nigeria, particularly in the Middle Belt region where killings of innocent people by herders have become a common sight.
“Benue for instance, is the food basket of Nigeria and for many years, farmers have been displaced from their ancestral lands. The ugly scenario has resulted to food crises and is set to take a more dangerous dimension if not stopped now.
“We expect the Federal Government to fulfill its promise to assist the Benue State Government in resettling the displaced people back to their homes. The longer the IDPs stay in the camps, the worse their plight will get”, the women decried.
While commending Governor Samuel Ortom for standing on the side of the people to be the first to accent to and commence implementation of an anti-open grazing law, the mothers urged other Benue sons’ home and abroad to support him and speak with one voice against the forceful occupation of the Benue valley by Herdsmen, stating that this is no time for politicking.
The Mothers appealed to Nigerians who love justice, peace and equity, to rise and condemn what is happening to the innocent people of Benue State, stressing that, “the killer herdsmen are still here with us. They have resorted to guerrilla warfare. They now attack our people in their sleep and leave their familiar trademark of death. Enough is enough!”
The Benue Mothers who were drawn from the three Senatorial districts of the state made the call while addressing newsmen in Makurdi on Monday.