A renewed effort to find a lasting solution to the incessant farmers/ herdsmen clash suffered a setback on Monday in Abuja as the peace meeting convened by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris with governors and stakeholders from Benue and Nasarawa States ended in a deadlock leading to the meeting being postponed indefinitely.
The postponement was to give room for an enlarged meeting that will have more stakeholders in several theatres of conflicts in attendance.
Speaking earlier at the meeting the Inspector General of Police appealed to all parties to refrain from making inflammatory statements that is capable of aggravating the situation. He urged them to do everything that will promote peace, unity and progress in the area adding that all hands must be on deck to for peace to reign.
In his own remark the Secretary to the Benue State Government, Anthony Ior called for the postponement of the meeting given that those who are supposed to be at the meeting were not present. He stressed that the governors of Benue and Nasarawa, Samuel Ortom and Tanko Almakura ought to have been in attendance as well as the chairmen of local governments and traditional rulers in areas where the incidents occurred. The SSG noted that no meaningful discussion could be made without the presence and input from these stakeholders.
Also speaking at the meeting, Senator Jack Tilley-Gyado said that both the Tivs and Fulanis do not to be in the meeting noting that they have never needed anybody to come in between them because they have been friends and brothers for decades.
In his words “We are playmates, where is this thing coming from. We must get to the root of this matter. We must ask ourselves what cankerworm is trying to eat into our body and we must remove that cankerworm with surgical operation that's necessary."
He went down memory lane of how the Benue State gave the former President Shehu Shagari the highest votes in 1979 and they were rewarded with five ministerial slots. He explained further that the same thing was repeated during the administration of late Umaru Musa Yar'adua and they were compensated with Minister of Justice and Chief Justice of Federation. He said that the entire justice system was in their hands, he jokingly said that if they were bad people, they could have "jailed everybody."
"Now we have voted massively for the President Buhari; I want you (IGP) to ask him, what is the problem ? What is the disconnect? Why this thing is happening just like that? Let him sleep, dream and think about it. "
He called for concerted effort to identify the enemies that are pitching them against each other. He called for the postponement of the meeting given the absence of their real leaders.
On his part the Secretary to the Nasarawa State Government, Abdullahi Mohammed said that the Nasarawa State is not at war with Benue State as being speculated in some quarters.
"Ordinarily i see no reason why we should be here, but out of respect to your office, the governor directed that we should come and anything that will require sustenance of peace we should be part of it,” He remarked.
He noted that Benue State have the right to make laws for good governance and they have no objection to that but they are neighbors to the state and feel the impact and bear the brunt of the effects of the application of the laws and that is why they are vulnerable.
Mohammed asked the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom to apologise to Nasarawa State because of the statement he made claiming that Nasarawa State is providing camping a "militia" that go into Benue to attack them and retreat back to Nasarawa State. The comment led to a shouting match between the people from the two states before the Inspector General of Police intervened and calmed frayed nerves.
The IGP urged the warring factions to sheathe their swords and desist from making any inciting statements and also refrain from addressing press in the interest of peace. He promised to meet with the governors of the two states and agree on the new date and venue of the next meeting and convey it to all major stakeholders.
Before the commencement of the meeting it was gathered that the Benue state Governor, Samuel Ortom had a closed-door meeting with the IGP and was ready to be part of the meeting but left in annoyance when he noticed that his Nasarawa State counterpart will not show up for the meeting.
The meeting which was held on the 7th floor of the Force headquarters had in attendance Emirs, traditional rulers from the two states, it also had in attendance representatives of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Tivs, Idomas and other ethnic nationalities.