The Benue Youth Forum, BYF, has lambasted the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, over his recent comment against the state governor, Samuel Ortom.
A viral video had captured Atiku attacking Ortom for anticipating the proscription of Fulani herdsmen over incessant attacks on the Benue people.
Reacting, the BYF lamented that the former vice president never condemned any attack on Benue people by the Fulani herdsmen who have been wreaking havoc in many parts of the state.
A statement by the group’s President, Terrence Kuanum, insisted that the PDP candidate must be stripped of his Zege Mule U Tiv title.
The statement reads, “We, the Benue Youth Forum, BYF are disappointed and disillusioned that the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is totally unconcerned about the incessant killing of innocent Benue people in their communities.
“Just two days ago, over seventy people, including two police personnel, were killed by Fulani militiamen in Gbeji, Ukum Local Government Area and Udei and Yelewata in Guma Local Government Area with over one hundred others injured and thousands of people displaced.
“This is in addition to the killing of thousands of people, destruction of property worth billions of naira and displacement of over two million people by those terrorists, a situation that has created a humanitarian crisis in Benue State.
“In all these, Alhaji Atiku has not uttered a word to condemn the heinous acts or comfort the government and people of the state, to show that he is with them in such difficult moments.
“That loud silence from a man who claims to be a friend of the Tiv people and holds the traditional title of “Zege Mule U Tiv” is grossly irresponsible and unfortunate.
“That Atiku keeps mute over the killing of innocent Benue people by his kinsmen just to be good in the eyes of the terrorists and their sponsors, while openly declaring his annoyance with Governor Ortom for standing up for the people clearly shows that curbing the carnage in Benue state is not part of Atiku’s plan even if he wins the 2023 presidential election.
“One even wonders why Atiku would accuse Governor Ortom of profiling Fulanis as bandits and terrorists, when Katsina state governor, Aminu Masari and other northern leaders had openly agreed that most of those causing mayhem across the country, especially the North, Benue Valley inclusive are Fulanis.
“The Benue Youth Forum, however, wants to know what are Atiku’s plan for the state if given the mandate to lead Nigeria, because, as it stands, he hasn’t shown any signs that he would call his kinsmen to order if he succeeds President Muhammadu Buhari whose indifference to the plight of the Benue people has aggravated the security situation in the state.
“The BYF also reiterate its call on the Tiv Traditional Council to review the chieftaincy title bestowed on Alhaji Atiku, as his disposition towards the Tiv people is clearly disdainful and snobbish.
“The youth forum urges security operatives to go after those who carried out the dastardly attacks on the Ukum and Guma communities and arrest them”.
BYF restated its support for Governor Ortom and encouraged him to keep standing tall in the defence of the people despite efforts by “Fulanis to capture the state and annex its land for cattle grazing”.