Ibos residing in Benue State have distanced themselves from the secessionist agitations by the Indigenous People of Biafra, tagging the group’s demands as needless, infantile and diversionary.
Leader of the Igbo Community in Benue, Chief Chuks Albert declared the position of the group today during a meeting between Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom and traditional rulers, as well as leaders of various communities in Benue at the New Banquet Hall of Benue People’s House, Makurdi.
Chief Albert who described IPOB as a baseless set of disgruntled youths looking for self recognition said the unity of Nigeria was sacrosanct and the Ibos in Benue State will never be part of such child’s play.
Speaking for the Hausa/ Fulani Community in Benue, Alhaji Mustapha Garba said the Hausa/ Fulani were ready to obey the provisions of the Open Grazing Prohibition Law by ranching their cows saying the peace of the state was greater than personal interest of the people and promised to cooperate with other tribes and groups.
Alhaji Mustapha who preached the message of one Nigeria promised to abide by the November deadline for the implementation of the law while Oba Kayode Odunuga who spoke for Yoruba Community and and Chief Godfrey Ogboro for South- South said they will live in peace with one another.
In their remarks, the Tor Tiv, HRM Orchivirigh Professor James Ayatse and the Och’ Idoma, HRH Dr Elias Obekpa thanked the Governor for his various peace efforts in the state. The Paramount Rulers insisted the unity of Nigeria could not be traded for selfish reasons and called on citizens of the state to report everyone trying to create trouble to law enforcement agents.
Responding, Governor Samuel Ortom thanked the traditional rulers and various communities in the state for agreeing to live as one, in one Nigeria.
The Governor said Benue has stood for peace and unity, not just of the state but that of the country for a long time.
He recalled that many Benue indigenes had paid the supreme price during the civil war to keep the unity of Nigeria and the state will not take it lightly with trouble makers who are bent on distorting the existing peace.
Governor Ortom pledged to boost security in the state using modern techniques restating the seriousness of the Open Grazing Prohibition Law which will take effect in November this year.
The Benue Chief Security Officer said he was committed to making Benue better for all. He called for prayers for the peace and development of the state warning that anyone who harasses innocent citizens of the state will be arrested and prosecuted.
By James Ornguga & Philip Philip Ankyhquwa