By Chesa Chesa and Samuel Ogidan
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday condemned in strong terms the seemingly indifference of President Muhammadu Buhari on the killings in Benue, urging him to show empathy and visit the devastated people.
This came on the heels of a scheduled meeting with the Benue leaders by the president today. The meeting is coming some days after 73 persons lost their lives in the unfortunate incident.
The party called on the President to empathize with the Benue people and visit them to condole with the victims of the horrific killing by yet-to-be tracked marauders.
PDP, in a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, condemned the Buhari-led All Progressive Congress (APC) government for not sending a delegation to the burial of those massacred in Benue till date.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari will this morning, meet with political, traditional and opinion leaders from Benue State as part of efforts to find lasting solutions to repeated deadly attacks on communities in the state by suspected Fulani herdsmen and their militia.
The Benue delegation will be led by Governor Samuel Ortom, and is expected to comprehensively address security challenges and related issues.
A source in the Presidency explained last night that the Presidency had been embarrassed by the large scale loss of innocent lives caused by the repeated attacks, and subsequent reaction by majority of Nigerians.
It was learnt that discussions at the meeting a�?may go beyond the Fulani herdsmen menace to include issue of the arming, training and financing of militia groups allegedly by some state governments”.
It was further gleaned from the source that the recent arrest of some armed militia members by the army and their confession of being armed by the Benue State Government have added a new twist to the mayhem.
The source therefore added that “it should not surprise anyone if the Presidency seeks explanations from the Governor with a view to getting at the root of the security challenges”.
Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, confirmed the scheduled meeting with Benue leaders, but would not divulge the agenda having not been briefed.
But he said that security entails the collective participation of all and that those affected should come together to find solutions, instead of trading blames.
The PDP in the statement said: “The PDP is worried that while innocent Nigerians were still being slaughtered and families crying out for help, the President was busy receiving APC governors on orchestrated self-serving visit to Aso Rock to endorse his personal ambition for a second tenure; a time when a soothing word and practical action from his Presidency would have helped ease the pains and reassure the people.
“While we painfully note the failure of the Buhari-led government to provide adequate security in the endangered areas, despite early warning signs, his failure to visit Benue speaks volumes”.
PDP pointed out that the actions of the APC-led government is believed to have emboldened the marauders to continue their killing spree, divide and further plunge the nation into turmoil, like the attacks in Kaduna, Taraba, Adamawa and other states.
“It is imperative for Nigerians to note that no government, in the history of our nation, had formulated a divisive body language like this
APC-controlled federal government and the citizens are painfully bearing the brunt.
“We therefore urge the presidency to be more responsive to issues that concern the unity of our dear nation and the security of our people. Perhaps the President may need to study and emulate the measures used by the PDP to unite our nation for 16 years,” it said.
By Chesa Chesa and Samuel Ogidan