The Benue State Government has concluded arrangement to give a mass burial to the 59 victims of the New Year and Saturday’s attack on some communities by Fulani herdsmen on Thursday.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Terver Akase, disclosed this on Sunday during a telephone conversation with one of our correspondents.
He explained that there would be a memorial service for them by 10am on Thursday at the IBB Square, Makurdi.
Akase said that the 10 persons killed on Saturday would be buried along with the 49 victims deposited at various mortuaries in the state.
The chief press secretary added that the dead would be buried in their localities after the memorial service, meaning that 39 bodies would be buried at Guma while 20 others would be interred in Logo, all in Benue State.
“We have concluded arrangements to organise a befitting burial for the victims of the senseless killings on Thursday. His Excellency Governor Samuel Ortom has directed that the bodies of the 10 persons killed on Saturday be buried together with the 49 killed on New Year Day,” Akase said.
He added that the state government considered the deceased as heroes of the state who died for the safety of Benue.
Ortom had declared at the stakeholders’ meeting held on Friday that three days mourning would be declared in preparatory for the mass burial.
He added that the governor had given orders that those bodies that were currently found and already decomposed be buried immediately.
Meanwhile, the state Police Command spokesman, ASP Moses Yamu, said that more policemen had been deployed in the troubled areas, particularly, Logo, where more attack was recorded on Saturday.
“As I am talking to you now, more detachment of policemen have been deployed in the flash points, particularly, Logo Local Government Area which witnessed another attack on Saturday.”
Yamu said with the presence of policemen, normalcy had returned to the area. He expressed confidence that peace would fully return to the troubled communities.
Meanwhile, the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, on Sunday said some individuals were benefitting politically from the violence and killings in Benue, Adamawa and Plateau states.
He noted that their aim was to foist an ethno-religious crisis on the country.
Osinbajo, who noted that the individuals also “politicised for years the war against the Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East,” urged Nigerians to resist the politicisation of the tragedies in these states.
The Vice-President made these remarks at an inter-denominational church service for the 2018 Armed Forces Remembrance Day in Abuja.
The programme was attended by senior military officers including the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete-Ibas, who represented the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin.
Osinbajo said the Presidency in “daily security sessions” was working to find a solution to the crises in those states.
He said, “We must recognise that as dangerous, deadly and heartless as these killings are, there is also the danger of allowing politics to pour petrol into an already burning fire. We must not allow the politicisation of these tragedies. One of the reasons why for years, the Boko Haram thrived was because of the politicisation of the insurgency. There were those who were planning to benefit politically from the tragedy and painted the opposition as the perpetrator.
“Again today, we see some who want to benefit politically from the killings of women and children in Benue, Adamawa, and Plateau states, and several other places. They want to, by their hate speeches, blame the criminal acts of individuals on whole ethnic groups.
“They would want to create a religious crisis, if allowed. Our obligation is to stop them from playing dangerous politics that can threaten our unity and stability, just as we continue to enforce peace in the troubled areas.
“Our first obligation as a government and people is to vigorously pursue the unity and territorial integrity of our country by words and action. We must rebuke firmly those who threaten to break the bonds of our nationhood. Secondly, we must defend faithfully our freedom and rights which include the right to life, liberty, freedom of worship and others.”