Benue State Governor, Mr Samuel Ortom, has urged the Federal Government to carefully study the report of the Amnesty International on herdsmen’s killings in the country and draw some lessons from it to improve on the security of lives and property.
Also, a socio-political and cultural group, Jukun Development Association of Nigeria, has described AI’s report, indicting the military as accomplice in the destruction of lives and property by some Fulani herdsmen, as a vindication of an earlier allegation by Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (retd.).
The governor said the report should not be discarded in its entirety because there were a few lessons the military and indeed the nation could learn from it to make the country safer.
Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, in an interview, Ortom said although the military’s efforts should be appreciated, the AI should also be hailed for moving round to talk to the affected people before coming up with the report.
He stated, “The Amnesty International couldn’t have set out deliberately to embarrass Nigeria. It is their duty to do assessments of this nature to help countries of the world to develop and protect human rights. This is not their first report; they did reports when the previous government was in power.
“For us, we feel that the Federal Government should look at the Amnesty International report dispassionately and keep the areas that need to be improved upon and work on them. In the areas they disagree, they have the right of reply.
“However, the Federal Government and all of us in Nigeria can learn some lessons from the report of the Amnesty International on killings by herdsmen. The whole country has a lot to learn from the report.”
He added, “When somebody looks at your operations and tells you that although you have done well, you still have to look at these areas; then, you have to do a self- examination. Nobody can say that the report is entirely bad. It is incontrovertible that killings have taken place and are still taking place. It is also a known fact that these people were killed by some people; they didn’t commit suicide.”
The JDAN’s National President, Chief Benjamin Bako, while speaking with newsmen in Lagos, said the report was a welcome development.
He said Danjuma and JDAN had been vindicated and described the allegations of “collusion by the Nigeria Army and Fulani herdsmen in the wanton killings in the Middle Belt and parts of Igboland as accurate after all.
Bako stated, “As an elder statesman, Gen Danjuma’s intervention was to help the institution which has given him fame and prominence to rediscover itself, thereby purging itself of bad elements that are bent on destroying the good reputation and excellent tradition of the military institution. Rather, Gen Danjuma was called all manner of names and hunted like a commoner.”