President Muhammadu Buhari has dismissed insinuations that he abandoned the people of Benue State to Fulani herdsmen, noting that there was no way he could have abandoned them when he had friends in the state.
The president who was speaking during an official visit to the state on Monday, said he was surprised that the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris did not follow his instruction to relocate to the state with a view to curbing the ensuing crisis between herdsmen and local communities which had led to the killing of scores of people and destruction of properties.
“I did not know that IG did not stay in the state,” Buhari said, maintaining that the relationship between herdsmen and farmers “must.”
“I have friends here in the state, there is no way I can deliberately overlook what is happening here and other parts of the country.”
“Let me appeal to our people in the state to apply more restraint, the relationship between farmers and herders will continue, it behoves on us to keep encouraging ourselves to continue to live together peacefully,” the President counselled.
The president claimed that in spite of the challenges facing the country, some Nigerians were still not sympathetic with government.
Speaking Earlier, the state governor, Samuel Ortom told the President that the state had lost many lives after the mass burial of 73 victims of New Year attack and has continued to lose more.
“65 more people have been killed after the mass burial of 73 persons,” he said. “Also 26 more were killed in Okpokwu, with over 5,000 displaced in Mbatoho community.”
The president has been severally criticized for failing to take decisive action against the heavily armed herdsmen that have been wreaking havoc in the state.
Monday, a handful of protesters wielding placards reading “Buhari, every Benue youth is a Yusuf” had made attempts to register their displeasure with the president.