Military fliers raise fear in Benue

The Tiv socio-cultural group, Mzough U Tiv, has expressed fear over the fliers being circulated in Benue State where troops have been deployed to keep the peace.

The circulation of the leaflets in the state followed the Tuesday launch of the Operation Cat Race (also known as Ayem a kpatema) by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai.

The President General, Mdzough U Tiv, Chief Edward Ujege, alleged that the pamphlet was a ploy to protect the Fulani herdsmen against Benue farmers.

But the military had earlier stated that the pamphlets were meant to ensure peaceful co-existence between herdsmen and farmers.

Ujege, who spoke to newsmen on Thursday, said, “We wish to express our profound displeasure at the emerging trends of the military operation tagged ‘Ayem a kpatema.’ The general public may recall our initial apprehension about the real mission of troops deployed in Benue State. True to our predictions, the launch of the exercise confirmed our fears.

“A pamphlet circulated by the Nigerian Army has defined the real intention of the military in Benue State. The pamphlet confirmed that the military had come to provide cover for armed Fulani herdsmen to take over our land.”

Ujege argued that the message on the flyer issued by the Department of Civil Military Affairs, Army Headquarters acknowledged the role the Fulani herdsmen played in the massacre of the people and destruction of properties in the state.

“Yet, without addressing issues of justice, reparation and compensation, they are compelling Benue people to accommodate the perpetrators of the heinous atrocities,” he observed.

Ujege also decried the failure of the leaflet to make reference to the provision of the Open Grazing and Establishment of Ranches Law 2017, which focuses on how farmers and the herders can coexist in peace.

But in his reaction to the observations, the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 707 Special Forces Brigade, Major Olabisi Ayeni, said the Army’s target was to educate both parties on the need to make herdsmen and farmers co-exist in peace

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