“With these glaring claims, we are surprised and disappointed at the conclusion drawn by the DSS that the attacks were carried out by Islamic State in West Africa, ISWA,” Terrence Kuanum, President, Benue Youth Forum, said in a statement.
The forum noted that it received the news of the report Department of State Services, DSS, presented to President Muhammadu Buhari over the recent Benue killings with rude shock and reject the prejudiced script in its entirety.
The forum resolved, “Our stand is built on the fact that three different Fulani groups have claimed responsibility for the new year attacks on Benue communities which left 73 people dead. We therefore find the said report by DSS not only as a deliberate attempt to twist facts but also a dance on the graves of the innocent children, women, youths and the aged people massacred by armed Fulani herdsmen.
“A few days after the attacks, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore claimed that Benue people rustled 1,000 of their cows which was why they attacked and killed the people in retaliation. Similarly, another Fulani group, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association claimed that it was because of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law promulgated by Benue that they attacked the state.
“The third group, also a Fulani cultural association led by one Prof Usman said that the Benue valley belongs to them, that’s why they attacked the people of the state to “reclaim it”.
“With these glaring claims, we are surprised and disappointed at the conclusion drawn by DSS that the attacks were carried out by Islamic State in West Africa, ISWA.
“Another fact which borders on the sincerity of the nation’s security agencies with regards to the Benue killings is the statement earlier made by Inspector General of Police shortly after he met with Mr President that what is happening in Benue is a mere ” communal clash”.
“Resting on the strength of the IGP’s statement, the question to ask is; if security agencies knew that ISWA was responsible for the killings, why did the Police Chief blame the act on communal clashes? Are the security agencies implying that ISIS members are indigenes of this country and indeed engage in communal disputes in some states?
“We suspect that the federal government is using DSS to divert the attention of Nigerians from the pressure mounted by local and international commentators as well as groups that Miyetti Allah leadership should be arrested, the organisation proscribed and declared a terrorist organization.
“We demand that President Buhari should reject that report and sack the Director General of DSS without further delay for failing in his responsibility and abating genocide in the county.
“We demand the federal government to immediately deploy the military to the Benue valley to stop the killing of innocent persons as it has become apparent that the Nigeria Police Force lacks the capacity to cope with the sophistication of the weaponry used by Fulani herdsmen.”