By Tahav Agerzua
We read with consternation a statement credited to the Caretaker Chairman of Wukari local government Area in Taraba State, Mr Daniel Adi, that the Benue State Government may be sponsoring attacks on communities in the state.
We state categorically that the Benue State Government has never, and will not sponsor attacks on any community not just in Taraba State but also in any other state.
What the Benue State Government does is to collaborate with security agencies and other stakeholders within the state and with its neighbours to find peaceful resolution of crisis through dialogue.
This has been the strategy deployed to solve the crises between border communities of Benue and Taraba States as well as neighbouring Ebonyi in recent time.
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, his Deputy, Engr Benson Abounu, have led the state security council, traditional rulers, and prominent indigenes from the state to hold several meetings with their counterparts in the neighbouring states aimed at addressing security challenges.
The delegations have also inspected flashpoints particularly in the neighbouring communities of Benue and Taraba States.
Last Friday when Governor Ortom received reports of attacks on Rafinkada and Kente in Wukari local government he promptly directed investigation to be made to find out whether the attackers came from neighbouring Ukum local government in Benue State.
He publicly gave Ukum chairman and second class traditional ruler a three day ultimatum to identify and report the attackers to security agents for arrest if it was confirmed that they came from their area.
Rather than commend Governor Ortom on this directive, it is surprising for the Wukari chairman to rather accuse the Benue State Government of sponsoring the attacks.
It is to be observed from the comments attributed to the chairman of Wukari local government that he considers all Tiv people as indigenes of Benue State contrary to the historical fact that many of them are indigenes of Taraba State.
The chairman’s mindset might be responsible for his attribution of what is a crisis within Taraba State to attackers from Benue State.
However, without prejudice to what anyone thinks or says, the Benue State is committed to peaceful resolution of crisis through dialogue and will never resort to sponsoring attacks on any person or community.
Moreover, the Benue State Government has nothing against the Jukun many of who are indigenes of the State.
Governor Ortom once again calls on the people of Benue and Taraba states, particularly those in border communities to sheath their swords and support the peace efforts being made by the two state governments.
He urges security operatives to apprehend anyone found to be formenting trouble.
Agerzua is the Special Adviser to Governor Ortom on Media and ICT.