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Alia, we’re disgusted at your Fulani herdsmen massacre remarks, Masev people blast Benue Governor



Benue State governor, Hyacinth Iormem Alia

The people of Masev, who were devasted following the gruesome attack on their community, Wandor Mbaikyor area in Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue State, by a marauding band of Fulani herdsmen, have expressed their disgust at His Excellency, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, the Governor of Benue State.

Masev people, under the auspices of Masev Development Association Worldwide, made their feelings known in a press release signed by their President-General, Prof. Vearumun Tarhule, dated March 10, 2024.

It could be recalled that a band of Fulani herdsmen, on March 7, attacked and burnt down at least eleven Benue settlements.

What did Governor Alia say?

Reacting to the attack and the attending murder of at least seventeen persons, Governor Alia blamed his own people for the massacre meted on them by murderous Fulani gang.

Speaking during a requiem mass held in the state, Alia said:

“Our children who are fighting for power, will now move all the way out of the state to invite the armed herders to come back into the state to help them fight for supremacy.

“And the end result is what we have at hand, numerous deaths of the citizenry.

“On my way to this requiem mass, I received some news that some young people in Gwer East numbering 15 were killed last night by invaders.”

Alia added: “We now tried to find out properly what caused it. The other youths now rose to move to find out what the problems are.

“Some members of the youths rustled some cows, slaughtered them and they have them in the wheelbarrow and are selling around.

“When these acts are done, they come with a cost of loss of life,” he concluded.

Watch the video clip of the remarks by Governor Alia below:

What is the response of Masev people?

Reacting to the governor’s unpalatable remarks, the Masev people expressed their disgust o0n what they considered ‘added insult to an injury’.

In the statement entitled “Disappointment and anguish echo from the hearts of Masev people“, the people expressed “dismay, distress, and disillusionment following the recent pronouncement by… Alia”.

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The statement, made available to Diaspora Digital Media (DDM), reads in full:

“The Masev nation, represented by the Masev Development Association, stands united in its dismay, distress, and disillusionment following the recent pronouncement by His Excellency Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia, the Governor of Benue State.

“The assertion linking the tragic loss of lives and destruction of property in Wandor, Mbaikyor, within the Mbalom Council Ward of Gwer East Local Government, to cattle rustling, has left our community further shattered and demoralized.

“But for the trending video on all social media channels, we would not have believed that Gov. Alia whom the Masev people massively voted for could have said such a thing.

“Gov Alia’s irrefutable pictorial and audio evidence in the form of video stared us in the face.

Masev people assert

“The Governor’s unequivocal assertion has churned out quite a number of issues:

1. By his own mouth, the Governor said he was informed of the incident on his way to the requiem Mass. Without any security personnel or the Governor himself visiting the horrific scene, the Governor miraculously knew that it was some Masev youth that rustled cows, killed some and were marketing them in wheelbarrows! It looks to us that someone sold a poorly crafted story to the Governor who rushed to gleefully announce the verdict.

2. Assuming without conceding that what the Governor said was true, does rustling or killing cows justify the massive killing of 18 people as at today? Is this good justification? What happened to the Anti Open grazing law which the Governor said was in force and the two weeks ultimatum given which has expired?

3. In our respective view it is statements (justifications) such as offered by Governor Alia that further embolden the herders. Such statements ought not and should never have come from Gov. Alia or any elected or appointed Government official.

4. It is the constitutional responsibility of Governor Alia to secure the lives of Benue people, not for him to be threading blame, offering excuses which even children will not believe, and consequently playing politics with the lives of Benue People.

5. Having justified the slaughtering of 18 innocent Masev sons, wives and daughters, Gov. Alia then announced that the perpetrators would be brought to book. This to us was strictly politics as the Governor had already justified the wanton killing and destruction of properties by the herders.

What does Masev people want?

“In response to Governor Alia’s declaration, the National Executive Council of the Masev Development Association convened an emergency meeting and resolved to vehemently reject and challenge the unsubstantiated, biased, and premature conclusions drawn by the Governor.

“It is evident that the rushed judgment lacks due process, fairness, and adherence to principles of justice.

“We express deep concern and apprehension over the Governor’s inclination to apportion blame without thorough investigation and unbiased scrutiny.

“At a time when lives are lost, and properties worth millions are razed, it is disheartening that the Governor chose to cast unwarranted accusations upon the youths of Wandor, Mbaikyor.

“Our people, who have already endured the brunt of external forces, now face unjustified condemnation.

“The Masev community finds it bewildering that while the Governor extends condolences and promises to pursue the perpetrators behind this heinous act, his office, through his Chief Press Secretary, shifts blame onto local youths.

“This conflicting stance not only undermines the gravity of the situation but also exacerbates the pain and frustration felt by our people.

“We question the effectiveness and integrity of the security intelligence apparatus under the Governor’s purview.

“If indeed there is evidence against the alleged perpetrators, why have they not been apprehended and subjected to legal proceedings?

“The failure to act decisively raises doubts about the coherence and efficacy of security operations in the state.

“Let it be clear: the Masev people do not condone criminal activities within our community.

“However, we vehemently reject any narrative that portrays us as perpetrators of violence against our own.

“Such baseless accusations not only defame our integrity but also divert attention from the real perpetrators who threaten our safety and livelihoods.

Has Alia failed Benue people

“Governor Alia was entrusted with the mandate to safeguard the interests and security of all Benue State residents.

“Regrettably, his recent statements have betrayed the trust and confidence vested in him by the Masev electorate.

“It is imperative that he revisits his stance and upholds the principles of fairness, accountability, and justice.

“In light of recurrent attacks by Fulani herdsmen militia, including the recent tragedy in Wandor, Mbaikyor, we urge the Governor to fully enforce the Anti-Open Grazing Law without compromise.

“Additionally, we demand swift action against both the alleged cattle rustlers and the herders responsible for wanton destruction and loss of life.

“The Masev people call for immediate rehabilitation, resettlement, and compensation for those affected by the violence.

“As law-abiding citizens of Benue State, we demand that our rights to security, justice, and dignity be upheld without prejudice or discrimination.

“In conclusion, we reiterate our unwavering commitment to peace, justice, and prosperity for all.

“Benue State is not a lawless territory, and it is incumbent upon the security agencies to uphold the rule of law and protect the lives and properties of all its citizens, including the Masev people.”

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