Governor Nyesom Wike has added his voice to the call on Benue people to defend themselves against attacks by bloodthirsty herdsmen to stop the unending killings in the state.
The Governor who spoke yesterday when he led a high-powered delegation to commiserate with the people and government of Benue state over the new year day killings in Guma and Logo local government areas that claimed over 70 lives decried the level of killings in the state. Wike who also visited the graveside of the slain persons also made a donation of N200m to assist the government cater for the needs of the displaced and affected persons.
According to him “We came to commiserate with the government and people if Benue state because when you have a brother who has problems you must identify with him. “This has nothing to do with party, we are talking about problems that affect Nigeria and us as human beings. ‘The South South and the Middle Belt share one thing in common. Benue is part of the Middle Belt and Rivers is part of the South South and we are known as minorities, but by the special grace of God we are not minorities.
“Anybody who has in the last few weeks listened to the electronic media or read the newspapers must urgently come and identity with the people of Benue state even if you hate them. “You must recognise the fact that they have lost lives and you have no choice but to commensurate with them because we cherish live and know what it means to lose loved ones not to talk of when they did not commit any offence. People who were either sleeping or doing one thing or the other to help themselves were killed like cows and ordinary animals.
“We just visited the graveside and it is quite touchy, you should take heart God will fight for you. But let me say that God fighting for you does not mean that you will not defend yourself. The problem we Christians have is that we like to misinterpret the Bible. Which says that when you are slapped you will turn the other chick. “Assuming that you don’t have the other chick to turn to. God will only fight for you when you are ready to fight for yourself. “I was shouting this from the onset. I shouted that they were after me and nobody believed. Now they are going everywhere.
At this time you must stay and identify with your people. Don’t stay away from your people because they will be your foot soldiers. They will be your police. This is the time to look inward knowing that you have no other but Benue people.
“For us we should know that what affects a state affect others. This is the time for us leaders to put our heads together to fight this crime. “There is no way anybody can justify the unnecessary loss of one life not to talk of many lives. Whether the Governor is doing right or wrong that is not enough justification for the killings. “Moreover the Governor has not done anything wrong. So the people of Benue state must rally round the Governor because he needs you now.
“Though we are not of the same party so I am not here to condemn the APC as a party, no. But they know that I know that they are not doing well. “I am here to say what happened to you has affected me. They were killing my people before and I cried for help and they say I was playing politics. Now see deaths everywhere, nobody is free again.
“People don’t seem to know the level of the magnitude of injury inflicted on the people of Benue. 73 persons at a go, leaving orphans and widows behind. “The country must sit down and proffer solutions of how this menace must be tackled. “We must not engage in blame game but sit down and accept that we have failed and something must be done. If we don’t do that, it means that we are not serious.
“Though the unfortunate incident has happened, we must not take the laws into our hands, but that does not mean that if you see an armed robber coming to your house you should run. You must defend yourself when you see an armed robber coming. That is not taking laws into your hand. “If someone knocks on your door at 2am do you kneel down and ask God to help you?. It is my house, so I will ensure that I prepare myself.
“Today people have been rendered homeless with unnecessary IDPs everywhere. We are supporting you with N200million to help the government buy drugs, food and other essential items for the affected people. Though I must acknowledge that this support will not bring back the lives of those killed or property destroyed but it will assist in a little way to lessen the burden of the government. I know what your government is passing through.
“I know Governor Ortom is a man of peace, I’m also a man of peace but be peaceful and watchful as well. We must keep our eyes open. “Even this our visit today may create problems for you. That is the problem we are having in Nigeria, everything is politics. You cannot go and symphysis with a colleague. I’m sorry if I have created any problems for you by my visit. I did not bring problems but assuming they say I brought problems, I’m sorry.”