In response to the directive of the Governor of Benue State Samuel Ortom outlawing the activities of Fulani Herdsmen, the Benue State Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama, has said no one has the right to banish Fulani Herdsmen from any state.
Following the incessant clashes between residents of the state and the visitors, which had resulted to loss of lives and property, the governor few days ago ordered them to leave.
Reacting however, Makama faulted the directive by the governor, insisting that nobody has the right to banish anyone from any part of the country.
Makama explained that the constitution permits everyone to reside anywhere in the country.
“The herdsmen should have been advised to leave. And if they discover that the people are not receptive to them, they would have left quietly rather than push them out. The state belongs to all Nigerians,”
He assured that the police would do everything to protect lives and property in the area.
Speaking earlier on Thursday at the end of the national economic council meeting at the Presidential Villa about his decision to oust herdsmen Ortom said he took the decision because his primary responsibility was to ensure safety of lives and property.
The Governor said:
“I ordered armed herdsmen out of my state. They are not friendly to my people. They are killing them and I cannot tolerate that,”
“My job as governor is to provide security for lives and property. I cannot watch people being killed unprovoked. It is not right.”
“The only thing my people are living on is farming. When you go to their farmlands and destroy their crop and then when they complain, you kill them. That will never be acceptable. I will not fold my hands to watch this happen.”
“I have told the security men to ensure the arrest of all those who have arms. You are aware that through my amnesty programme, I was able to disarm the criminal elements in my society because I believe in the rule of law and due process.”
“Without the rule of law, there is no way we can govern. A stronger person will come and take over the affairs of the state from where ever you are. And so, we must abide by the rule of law.”
Meanwhile, a group under the aegis of Vanguard Against Tiv Massacre, VATIM, has claimed no fewer than 500 people have been killed and 300,000 displaced across the state by suspected Fulani herdsmen.