WE WILL NOT FOLD OUR ARMS & WATCH CRIMINAL ELEMENTS CONTINUE THIS SENSELESS DESTRUCTION OF LIVES & PEOPERTY IN GUMA: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!
By Bar. Mike Utsaha
We received with mixed feelings, & with grave concerns and deep sadness too, news reports of renewed destruction of lives & property in Mbadwem Council ward in Guma, & the resultant displacement of huge populations, including women and children, fleeing their ancestral homes and in urgent need of temporary shelter!
Coming barely more than a year after a similar incident perpetrated under similar circumstances and style, this recent attack is not only regrettable but is equally condemnable by all people of good will and good conscience.
Consequently, we call on the government of Benue State to immediately take urgent steps to provide security cover for displaced persons to rapidly return to their deserted homes. This is particularly against the backdrop of the impending planting season which our people can ill afford to miss out on!
It is rather curious that in the face of Army bases/patrols in Yelewata, Umenger and Gbajimba this dastardly attack still occurred.
We have reason to believe that the Army is complicit in this attack, or is guilty of dereliction of duty, or both, and it is only against the background of this conjecture that the recent attack may be appreciated! Accordingly, we call on the Nigeria Army high command to institute an inquiry into the circumstances under which this attack occurred with a view to meting out appropriate sanctions where necessary.
Furthermore, we call on the Army high command to consider in the medium and long term the possibility of permanently stationing an Army base within the disputed area particularly on the border between Benue and Nasarawa so as to forestall skirmishes and recurrent break down of law and order!
We call on Governor Tanko Almakura of Nasarawa State and Dr Samuel Ortom (re-elected and elected respectively on the platform of the APC) to jointly set up a commission of inquiry to ascertain the immediate and remote causes of this recent attack with a view to guiding government on measures that need to be put in place to guard against re-occurrence of this recurrent situation.
We are aware that the defunct National Conference deliberated extensively on this recurrent crisis and made far reaching and meaningful recommendations towards providing long lasting solutions to this unfortunate situation. We therefore call on the incoming government of Benue State and the Federal Government of Nigeria to revisit this particular segment of the Confab report with a view to adopting its recommendations geared towards bringing this situation under control.
We will liase with the Governor elect of Benue State with a view to putting together a team of lawyers that will consider the desirability or otherwise of lodging a formal complaint to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) not only with a view to seeking compensation for affected families but also to consider the possibility of involving an international observer group in the quest for permanent solutions to this recurrent situation!
While calling on the people of Guma not to take the law into their hands we like to assure them that gone are those dark days of senseless, despicable and consistent destruction of the lives of the people of Benue people or the people of Guma in particular.
Surely, we will not fold our arms and watch criminal elements under whatever shape or form operate wilfully in our communities.
Enough is just enough!