Federal lawmaker representing Buruku Federal Constituency, Benue State, Hon. Orker Jev on Tuesday appealed to the Sultan of Sokoto to extend his peace campaign to the farmers/fulani crisis in Benue, Nasarawa and other parts of the country.
The lawmaker said during an interview in Abuja that the Sultan has been a renowned and respected peace campaigner in the country, especially in the north, thus became imperative to intervene in the situation.
The lawmaker, who admitted that the Benue people has lived peacefully with the Fulanis for years expressed surprise why they suddenly started attacks on their host.
Jev said: “The sultan has been making proclamations about wanting peace of the north and the country. If those are not mere proclamations, i think this is the time to stand up to be counted as somebody who wants peace.
“He is a fulani man. He has a lot of influence in the north even beyond let him seat together with his kith and kins together and find ways because you cannot always have your way at the expense of peace in this country. What is happening is not just in Benue but it is threatening the peace of the country because today is in Benue, tomorrow it could be Enugu and next could be in Ekiti and so on. So the Sultan of Sokoto and other prominent Nigerians associated with the Miyetti Allah have a responsibility to seat and fashion best way as long as this issue is concerned.”
Describing the recent attack as the easiest, he explained that interventions from prominent northern leaders meeting the aggrieved herdsmen would go a long way to restoring peaceful coexistence across the nation.
Jev who is the House Committee Chairman on Rules and Businesses condemned tagging of the persistent attacks as a communal clash.
He stated that the Miyetti Allah repeatedly held media briefings warning of plans to converge in Benue to resist the anti-open grazing law, alleging that there were security informations prior to the recent attack which led to the killings of victims who were attacked late at night in their sleep.
“I hate it when it is called clashes. You come most times in the dead of the night to attack them and run back and you talk about clashes. Who is clashing with who? These are not people who reside in the environment. The word clashes itself gives me a lot of offence,” he said.
According to him, it behoves on President Muhammadu Buhari to take drastic decision as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces by ensuring the establishment of military base in the state as a good measure to providing sustainable solution against the persistent killings.
Jev said during a meeting with the Governors of Kaduna and Kano states, El Rufai and Ganduje respectively, the duo maintained that the herdsmen were not indigenous fulanis residing in the country, adding that they migrated into the country.
“If you have foreigners, just because they share cultural or tribal affinities with Nigerians and you look the other way, i think we have more serious problem on our hand than we prepare to admit and that is why anytime i have the opportunity to talk, i will say the president is not sincere in resolving this matter.
“Maybe because he is the patron of this Miyetti Allah group that oversees the herders, more profoundly because he shares the same cultural affinity because we know he has been responding to other security challenges like Boko Haram, like in the South South and elsewhere. He is decisive when it comes to tackling such but when it comes to the issue of Fulani herdsmen, you start seeing some wavering around and turning the blind eye.
“You could say that after the attack, he sent the interior minister there and the Inspector General of Police. In my opinion, those are not firm steps.
“Whether we like it or not, it is the President that is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, no matter well meaning the Governor is, he lacks that control over the security forces. You can call him chief security officer of the state, he can sit in the same security council meeting but if he gives an order, will they take it? They can only take those orders if they coincide with that of Abuja, otherwise, they ignore him,” he added.
Speaking on the anti-open grazing law, he blamed the security operatives especially the police for not enforcing the law since it was enacted by the State House of Assembly.
He said the Governor has been rendered helpless on the enforcement stressing that the state does not run state police, thus need for the federal government to show active interest.
“The military moving in is one way but there are several other ways the federal government can go about trying to resolve this problem. So far i see that lack of political willingness,” Jev said.