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Rukubi killings: We expect justice to be done, says Emir of Lafia as Benue governor absolves self


By Anthony Maliki

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has absolved himself and his administration of complicity in the recent drone attack on Fulani herders in Rukubi, Doma Local Government Area, where over 40 people were killed.

Ortom, who visited the Lafia Government House to condole with his Nasarawa State counterpart, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, who lost his son recently, Monday, blamed the military for the attack.

This is just as Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, said as law abiding citizens, the people of the state expect justice to be done in the wake of the wrong perpetrated against the state.

The Emir of Lafia, HRH Justice Sidi Bage Muhammad (rtd), who stood in for the Gudi royal family, as well as the Nasarawa State Council of Chiefs, said the people of the state would rather not engage in loose talks regarding the incidence, but will expect justice to be done by the authorities.

The royal father added that, since the incidence that occurred in Rukubi, leaders of the state have prevailed on the people not to take decisions of their own, not to spread falsehood but to remain restraint and have self control.

“And that is exactly what happened. We are people of the rule of law and we believe in justice and fair play. We believe that justice will be done because we were wronged one way or the other. I want to go by the rule of law not making loose statements,” the Emir stated.

Tracing the relationship between the people of Benue and Nasarawa State to the colonial times, the royal fatger explained that Nasarawa State has always been part of the old Benue Province before being merged with Plateau State and finally being a distinct entity.

“Difference between Nasarawa and Benue States is just an artificial boundary. Because, I always said that, as you travel, you will not see where a wall is erected separating us. The Almighty made it possible for us to be one. But just as His Excellency has said, for administrative convenience and to make it easy for management, that’s why you have the Benue and you have the Nasarawa States.

“It’s still one entity because, we are agreed with my brother, that all of us that belong to the Benue Valley are one people because we share common blood, inter marriages, everything that you can think about, that is what the Almighty has decided. We will continue to remain as friends as brothers and as neighbors now that there is the artificial creation of boundaries,” he said.

While commiserating with Engineer Sule on the recent passing on of his first son, Hassan Abdullahi Sule, Benue Governor, said the Rukubi incident must have caused pains and grief to people of Nasarawa State, especially that more than 40 people lost their lives.

Ortom discloses that, he tried to enquire from the military what really led to the massacre in Rukubi but he is yet to get a feedback.

He used the opportunity to employ Nigerians to restraint themselves from making utterances that will aggravate the problem and create confusion and apportion blame to people.

“I am really not happy with some utterances coming from very responsible people instead of trying to find out. As governors our lines are at the disposal of the public. People can access us through our aides and security personnel, to try to find out.

“People can find out from me since we share a common border with Nasarawa State. And the same thing with my brother the Governor, you can find out from him instead of making statements that are not verifiable,” Ortom stated.

Ortom noted that, human life is sacred and as such must be respected, stressing however, that there is a general security problem in the country.

“Human life is sacred and most be respected. In Nigeria today, we have a general security problem. And we have left a lot in the hands of the president alone to solve it or we governors. It involves collective strong will for all citizens of this country to work with the leadership to ensure we surmount it. Because without security, there cannot be meaningful progress and development. We must join hands together irrespective of our feelings, we must ensure the rule of law and respect for human dignity at all times,” he stated.

The Benue Governor called on the authorities to fully investigate the Rukubi incidence.

“I am here also to condole or to sympathize with families of those people who were killed in that incident. There is no prohibition of open grazing in Nasarawa State but there is prohibition of open grazing in Benue State.

“This, we have understood ourselves. And I tell my people not to get into the territory of Nasarawa State and he too have told those who are rearing cattle not to go into Benue. This we have been managing.

“Our people should pray for us for greater wisdom to be able to manage the complex situation that we have found ourselves between Nasarawa and Benue States. So far, we have been doing well, we speak at the right times and try to manage and where it’s necessary to do meetings, we do it. Benue State and Nasarawa State are neighbors and brothers and sisters and at all times, we must manage ourselves,” he added.

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