The Benue Proactive Initiative, a civil society group has condemned in strong terms what it tagged as the barbaric, wicked and malicious killing of a personnel of the Nigerian Army in Naka, Gwer West Local Government Area of the State on Wednesday.
The state government, through the Special Adviser to the Governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Titus Zam, said the attack followed,”the act of lawlessness perpetrated by some restive youths in Gwer-West Local Government Area of Benue State.”
He said some youths in Naka had attacked troops, who were on a peace-keeping mission in the area, thereby triggering reprisals from the army.
Reacting to the incident in a statement issued on Thursday night, Comrade Terkaa Jam, Convener, BPI, said the unfortunate incident was highly regrettable and condemnable.
Jam noted the soldiers deployed to Benue State on Peace keeping have been making frantic efforts to curtail the incessant crisis between herders and farmers in the country.
He said, “We wish to boldly attest to the fact that until last night when these restive youths decided to kill and bury an officer after disarming him, the people have had a very cordial relationship with the Nigerian Army and do appreciate all their efforts towards restoring peace to the various communities in the state.
“We understand that these acts were carried out by miscreants whose past time is cheap drugs and have nothing to offer the society and regrettable that this led to the burning down of houses by the soldiers who had once conducted themselves peacefully. As much as we submit that the anger was well understood, it is our desire that the military does not turn its table against us or stop being of immense assistance to us because of these criminal elements.
“The Benue Proactive Initiative wishes to make it abundantly clear that the action of these few disgruntled elements in the state doesn’t represent our relationship with the military neither does it portray our appreciation of their numerous sacrifices to the peace project in Benue State. It is therefore clear that the actions of the youths were aimed at jeopardizing the peace gradually returning to the local government.
“We extend our condolence to the President and Commander-in-Chief, the Nigerian Army and families of the deceased over the unfortunate incident, and also call on them to halt any action that may demonstrate the bitterness of the Nigerian Army and its Personnel towards the people.”