Alia and coverups, lies about security in Benue

Alia and coverups, lies about security in Benue

…Gov Suppressing Reports On Killing of Nearly 1,000 People

The group known as Defenders of Democracy, DoD has accused the Benue State Governor, Hyacinth Alia of engaging in coverups and falsehood to prevent Nigerians from knowing the level of insecurity in the state, as rampaging armed herders kill more Benue people.

In a statement by its President Amos Uchiv, DoD in reaction to the latest killings in parts of Benue, the group said contrary to Governor Alia’s constant claim that there is relative peace in the state, nearly 1,000 people have been killed in the last six months.

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DoD described as insensitive, Governor Alia’s decision to accommodate Fulani pastoralists instead of resettling the displaced indigenous people and urged the governor to account for the state’s share of the N50 billion released by the Federal Government to states badly hit by insecurity in the northern region.
The statement reads:

“We are sad and disappointed in the posture of the Benue State Governor Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia who is doing everything to ensure that the truth about the attacks and killing of Benue people by terrorist Fulani herdsmen is not reported in the media.

The Governor has crafted a narrative which he has been pushing through the media with the following words:
“Farmers are getting back to farm in Gwer West, Gwer East, Guma, Makurdi, among others and the people are enjoying relative peace.”

“We want President Bola Tinubu and other Nigerians to know that Benue people are not getting back to their farms as falsely claimed by Governor Alia. Our people have been turned to slaves and refugees in their own land. Our people are being killed on a daily basis by armed herders and Governor Alia is doing nothing to stop the killings.

“We want Mr President and other Nigerians to know that in the last 6 months only, Benue State has lost not less than 700 innocent lives and property worth billions to herder attacks.

Most parts of Kwande, Gwer West and East, Guma, Agatu, Logo, Ukum and other areas in the state are no longer accessible to our people. Schools have been shut down, while homes and farm lands have been destroyed and deserted.

“Benue State is facing a humanitarian crisis with over two million people displaced, yet, our Governor doesn’t want the world to know.

He was in America for two weeks on a jamboree of lies and coverups.

He told Benue people in the United States that their home state is now very peaceful owing to his efforts.

That was the worst way to mock the dead and other victims of herdsmen attacks.

“Governor Alia has visited the Presidential Villa a number of times and told State House Correspondents that there is peace now in Benue State.

This means he also does not tell President Tinubu the true situation of security in the state.

“The other day, Alia accused the people of Gwer East of rustling Fulani cows and selling the meat in wheelbarrows which he claimed was the cause of the attacks and killings in Mbalom early last month.

That was not even the first time that the Governor was accusing our people of being their own attackers.

“We want Mr President and other Nigerians to know that herdsmen have taken over many parts of Benue State with their cattle crazing all over the place.

The 14-day ultimatum that the state government said it had given to the herders to leave the state was a fluke and mere pretense.

The day that Governor Alia traveled to Sokoto and met with the Sultan, he returned and reversed the ultimatum.

“We want Nigerians to know that Governor Alia has suspended the Anti-open grazing law of Benue State. He started by suspending the state livestock guards which is the enforcement agency of the law.

Now, Fulanis operate freely and encroach on people’s farms and homes with no one to ask them a question.

“We have it on good authority that Mr President released N50 billion to five states including Benue, to enable them tackle insecurity, but Governor Alia has not uttered a word regarding the money.
The Governor has failed us on all fronts.

He is clueless and inept and does not seem to bother even if half of the people are massacred by Fulani terrorists.

“The Fulanis are very happy to hear that governor Alia of Benue State is ready to give them lands to own and occupy. If this is part of the agreement he was said to have with the Fulani before they supported his election with billions of naira, we want governor Alia to know that he will have us to contend with.

We will mobilize our people in the 23 local government areas to resist the plan to impose Fulani on us.

“Since Alia became governor, he has not bothered to pay a visit to the camps housing thousands of IDPs. What about his campaign promise to return the IDPs to their ancestral homes within the first 100 days in office? He failed to fulfill the promise.

“No day passes without people being killed in Benue State under the watch of Governor Alia. He also does not meet with heads of security agencies in the state. He does not hold security meetings. What manner of governor is that?

“We must remind governor Alia that Benue people voted for him to protect them, not to be flying in private jets across the world and spending their money on wasteful personal luxuries like buying expensive cars, buying houses in choice locations in Abuja, Lagos etc.

He promised us that he would provide good governance, but what we have so far seen is a misfit in power.

“Lastly, we demand that governor Alia should fulfill his promise to resettle the over 2 million people who are displaced in the state by Fulani herders.

He has received enough money from the Federal Government for that purpose.

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“The Governor should also desist from peddling the narrative that Benue is peaceful. We are in tears and many of our people are sleeping in the bush with no roof on their heads”, the group stated.