A group, the Benue Proactive Initiative, BPI, has revealed that the attack on personnel of the Nigerian Army which led to the death of a soldier in Naka, Gwer West Local Government Area of Benue state was the handiwork of miscreants whose past time is getting high on cheap drugs.
Convener of PBI, Comrade Terkaa Jam made this known in a statement issued on Thursday night, stressing that until the youths turned aggressive, the Benue people have had “a very cordial relationship with the Nigerian Army and do appreciate all their efforts towards restoring peace to the various communities in the state”.
The statement went on to plead with the Army not to become hostile towards Benue people on account of the criminal elements, adding that the BPI pledges its continued support and cooperation until lasting peace is secured for all the citizens of Benue and neighbouring states.
Part of the statement read, “This unfortunate incident is highly regrettable in the most painful sense that the Nigerian Army since deploying its officers and soldiers to Benue State on peace keeping have been making efforts to curtail the incessant crisis between herders and farmers in the country.
“We wish to boldly attest to the fact that until last night when these restive youths decided to kill and bury an officer after disarming him, the people have had a very cordial relationship with the Nigerian Army and do appreciate all their efforts towards restoring peace to the various communities in the state.
“We understand that this acts were carried out by miscreants whose past time is cheap drugs and have nothing to offer the society and regrettable that this led to the burning down of houses by the soldiers who had once conducted themselves peacefully. As much as we submit that the anger was well understood, it is our desire that the military does not turn its table against us or stop being of immense assistance to us because of these criminal elements.”
The Benue Proactive Initiative asserted that the actions of few disgruntled elements in the state do not represent the people’s relationship with the military, “neither does it portray our appreciation of their numerous sacrifices to the peace project in Benue State. It is therefore clear that the actions of the youths is aimed at jeopardizing the peace gradually returning to the local government.”
“We extend our condolences to the President and Commander-in-Chief, the Nigerian Army and families of the deceased over the unfortunate incident, and also call on them to halt any action that may demonstrate the bitterness of the Nigerian Army and its Personnel towards the people,” Jam said.