Group under the aegis of Sankera Youths Vanguard for Democracy and Good Governance, SYVDGG, has caution the All Progressive Congress, APC, in the state to desist from aggravating the security situation in the state in the name of politics.
The group warned that the activities of the party in recent time was tantamount to dancing on the graves of thousands of innocent Benue families that lost their lives to marauding militant herdsmen who laid siege on the state since the beginning of the year. Addressing the media in Makurdi, President of the group, Prince Tyodoo Livinus and secretary, Comrade Dan Mashin regretted that the recent outburst of the state Publicity Secretary of the APC was most uncharitable to the innocent people who died in the Benue pogrom.
According to the leaders of the group, “.our attention has been drawn to a press statement credited to the Acting Publicity Secretary of APC in Benue State who, in a bid to redeem the image of the party and its leadership, ended up dancing on the graves of victims of the Sankera crisis and insulting the sensibilities of the entire Sankera people. “We wish to first and foremost completely distance the entire Sankera intermediate area from APC leaders’ show of desperation and insensitivity to the pains of Benue people as we have seen in recent times in the celebration of the people’s misfortune with political rallies and decamping ceremonies in IDPs camps.
“We state unequivocally that the event of Sunday 12th November, 2018 at St. Dominic Quasi Parish, Gbishe in Mbayongo clan of Shitile, Katsina-Ala local government was a thanksgiving service organised by an APC House of Assembly flagbearer for Katsina-Ala East constituency with other APC members in the area. “We however wonder how an APC event metamorphosed to a peace meeting to mediate between Ukum and Shitile.
“We strongly believe that the APC-organised thanksgiving service did not in any way have correlation with the peaceful coexistence of Sankera people neither did it have bearing on crisis resolution in the area. “We must state here that the misunderstanding between youths of the two communities which gave rise to the security situation in the area has been nipped in the bud following peace initiatives by the Benue state government in collaboration with prominent sons of the area led by former Governor Gabriel Suswam. “
There is no time in the history of Benue State and particularly the Tiv nation that Shitile and Ukum were involved in communal clashes. The lingering insecurity in the area has been traced to a struggle for supremacy by some youths in the area.
“It is therefore ridiculous that APC and its leadership whose voices were never heard during the period of the misunderstanding are now posturing as peace makers. This, for us is a mockery of the highest order. Continuing, the youth leaders said, “You will recall that the present administration in Benue State led by Governor Samuel Ortom in line with global best practices on assumption of office initiated an amnesty programme for the youths of the state.
“Sankera youths wholeheartedly and willingly embraced the programme and surrendered arms and ammunition but unfortunately some of the youths after embracing the programme and surrendering their arms betrayed the good intentions of the state government and opted out. This gave rise to a rebirth of criminality and insecurity the area.
“That not withstanding, the Governor relentlessly reingaged traditional rulers and other relevant stakeholders from the axis in several peace meetings at his instance in Government House Makurdi, Katsina-Ala and Ugba in Logo local government. “The above meetings in addition to the reunion of the Governor with his friend, former Governor Gabriel Suswam gave rise to the final peace meetings in Tor Donga on October 27, 2018 and another in Sankera, the headquarters of Ukum local government on October 28, 2018 where the angry youths and stakeholders from Ukum and Shitile unanimously agreed to embrace peace.
“We advise APC in Benue to stop playing politics with security matters to score cheap points. Our people have suffered enough in the hands of armed militant herdsmen and do not deserve the crocodile tears of APC. “We equally advice Benue APC to change their campaign tactics and stop dancing on the graves of our loved ones. “We also find absurd, the chieftaincy title of Nyamkyume 1 Tiv purportedly bestowed on the leader of the Benue APC, Sen. George Akume at the event without taking into cognizance the laid down procedures established by the Tiv traditional council in awarding such titles to deserving sons and daughters.
“It is pertinent to advise the leadership of APC in Benue to desist from desecrating and insulting the person, office and stool of the Tor Sankera, the entire Sankera Traditional Council and indeed the Tiv traditional institution. “It beats our imagination that a party that cannot resolve its internal crisis to be able to produce a running mate for their gubernatorial candidate is boasting of mediating between two communities to resolve their crisis.