Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura and other stakeholders in Nasarawa State have refuted the allegations by Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state of harbouring killers herdsmen in Tunga, Awe local government area of the state.
Al-Makura, while making a presentation at a stakeholders’ meeting convened by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris in. Lafia, dismissed the allegation describing it as “grievous, unacceptable and terribly speculative”.
He said the Benue state governor threw caution to the wind through his accusation of Nasarawa state camping killer herdsmen to attack his state saying the statement was a stigma, an aspersion on the state that inputs negative motive.
“This is an unfair comment to make of Nasarawa state, especially that we enjoy very cordial relationship and can always be reached with any evidence in that regards.
“In any case, the onus of proof lies with the accuser and I would appeal to my colleague to avail security operatives with the details of where he thinks the killer herdsmen are being camped.
“I can assure you as the chief security officer of the state that we would give the police all the necessary support to comb every part of the state to ascertain whether there is any such thing,” Al-Makura added.
He maintained that he had never received any security reports from the state either from security officer or his administrative detail of the existence of such killer herdsmen camping in the state.
Al-Makura pointed out that in Awe, where the killer herdsmen were allegedly being camped had become a sanctuary for displaced persons, mostly of the Tiv extraction from both states.
Similarly, the Emir of Tunga, Alhaji Bala Galadima express worry over the allegation by the Benue state governor.
He said there was no such camp in Tunga as the people in the area have a security apparatus in place to detect strangers amongst them.
Galadima said most of the Tiv people fleeing their homes was as a result of panic over the attacks in Benue, adding that the farmers and herdsmen in the area have been living peacefully over the years.
Emir of Lafia, Alhaji Mustapha Agwai I, in his submission described the statement credited to governor Ortom as hate speech and urged the stakeholder to condemn it.
He charged leaders to desist from making unguarded statements capable of breaching peace in the country.
The Emir of Azara, Dr Ibrahim Musa said there is no crisis in Nasarawa state but panic attack orchestrated by poor implementation of the anti-open grazing law in Benue state.
He called on the federal government to investigate the implementation of the law to ascertain the provision of ranches and other facilities as spelt out by the law in Benue.
However, Some stakeholders of Tiv extraction acknowledged that some of their kinsmen were killed following threat of attack by herdsmen as result of the implement ion of the anti-grazing law in Benue.
Mr. Gabriel Aka’aka, Nasarawa state commissioner of environment wondered why the Tiv people in Nasarawa state should be attacked when they have nothing to do with the anti-open grazing law in Benue.
He therefore stressed the need for security reinforcement along the border communities to apprehend the “mysterious killers” and allay the fears of displaced persons in the area.