Former Nigerian Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd) has expressed sadness at the security situation in the country, particularly the killing of innocent unarmed villagers by armed herdsmen, which has continued unabated.
Gen. Gowon, who said he is disappointed at the handling of the security situation called on the security agencies to invite and question the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore who had threatened to unleash violence on Benue State and later justified the killings for their role in it..
He spoke yesterday at the Benue People’s House, Makurdi when he visited Governor Samuel Ortom to commiserate with him, the government and people of the state on the killings in the state. The former Head of State who said he was out of the country when 2 priests and 17 worshipers were killed in a church in the state during morning mass expressed the condolences of his group, “Nigeria Prays” to the government and people of Benue state.
Gen. Gowon said he is sad and worried at the religious dimension the killings is assuming and called on the authorities to redouble their effort to deal with the security situation; warning that if that is not done, the country could descend into a religious war, with no one coming out victorious.
The former Head of State who commended Governor Ortom and the Benue State government for its admirable handling of issues concerning the killings and devastation of communities said that for us to survive as a nation; we must learn to live together as one regardless of ethnicity or religion.
Welcoming the elder statesman, Governor Ortom, represented by his deputy, Engr Benson Abounu thanked him for coming to commiserate with them and adding his voice to the call on the federal government to take decisive actions to end the orgy of violence plaguing the state and the country.
He said the magnitude and frequency of the killings and devastation of communities have defied every logic with over 185,000 people internally displaced, and living in camps; far away from their ancestral lands and their farms. He disclosed that though the killings in the state have come down a little due to the change of tactics by the military who upgraded their operation in the state from “exercise cat race” to “operation whirl stroke”, the threat is not yet over as killings still go on in many places.
He said that the country is at crossroads, with complaints coming from all sections of the nation state. According to him, the present structure of the Nigerian federation is sick and defective; and in need of injection which must be given intravenously for reasons of its urgency.
Governor Ortom said he agrees with the calls for restructuring, explaining that restructuring would eliminate many of the contradictions and imbalances that have limited the capacity of the federating states to flourish and maximise the benefit of their existence.