A group of protesters under the umbrella of the Vanguard Against Tiv Massacre (VATM) stormed the National Assembly, yesterday, in protest against killings by herdsmen in Buruku Local Government Area and other parts of Benue State.
The protesters, who came armed with banners and placards with inscriptions such “It’s only in Nigeria that cows are more important than humans”, “We voted you to protect us, not watch us killed-take action”, took over the main entrance of the National Assembly, leaving lawmakers, staff and visitors stranded for hours.
While some resorted to trekking in, others, who were informed of the protest drove through the entrance leading to the office of Secretary to the Government.
The protesters were dressed in black and and white ange Tiv attire and bluntly refused to listen to two members of the House of Representatives, Diri Douye and Alabi Mojeed, sent to meet with them by Speaker Yakubu Dogara.
The protesters insisted on speaking with either Dogara or Senate President, Bukola Saraki. After failing to get them to listen, Douye, who is representing Yenagoa/Okpokuma Federal Constituency replied that he would inform the Speaker of what transpired.
“We were sent here by the speaker and when the leadership of the National Assembly sends lawmakers and not a staff of the National Assembly, it means they are here, too. But, there is no reason for us to go back and forth, we will simply take your message back to the Speaker”, he said.
Speaking to Daily Sun, co-converner of VATM, Terso Akula, said the protesters will not leave until they were addressed by the Speaker or the Senate President.
Akula accused the Federal Government of looking the other way, while Benue indigenes are being killed and their farms destroyed.
He warned communities in Benue may resort to protecting themselves owing to the silence from the federal government and said the situation has gone beyond what the Benue state government can handle, hence the urgent need for President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene.
“We are concerned about the slow response of the Nigerian government to attacks in Tiv land and Benue State. We are totally dissatisfied with the response of the federal government to the crisis in Benue. It is over two weeks that people have been running around, following recent attacks and not one person has been arrested nor is there hope that anyone will be prosecuted and this kind of scenario has been recreated in the past 12 years in Benue state. These herdsmen travel thousands of kilometres to come to Benue state where they kill people and destroy their property. They go back the same way, yet, nobody has been apprehended. We believe there is conspiracy going on because Nigeria has some of the best security agencies in the world, how come they are not able to track these people who walk to and fro on foot to commit crime? In fact, sometimes they occupy the land after killing people and those alive flee the areas and yet no person is arrested. This is why we are here…” to speak to those who can take action. We are here to tell them that Benue and Tiv lives matter”.
(Source: The Sun)