“We need to assure Nigerians and the International Communities that the chemicals are not weapons of mass destruction.”
Gov. Gabriel Suswam of Benue on Thursday urged the Federal Government to investigate the composition of the chemicals allegedly used on Tiv farmers by herdsmen in the ongoing crisis.
Mr. Suswam said this when he received the Senate Joint Committee on National Security, Intelligence, Defence, Police and Interior.
The joint committee was in the state on a fact finding mission on the Tiv/Fulani crisis in Makurdi.
“We need to assure Nigerians and the International Communities that the chemicals are not weapons of mass destruction and also to know exactly the kind of danger we are likely to face if they are chemical weapons.
“They have used these chemicals in two different areas in the state so far killing innocent citizens in the process.
“As at now we don’t have the facilities to test the chemicals. We are likely to rely on the army or the UN to test its composition.
“I wish and hope that the Senate will also assist us to know exactly the chemical composition of the chemicals to ensure the safety of our citizens.
“However, if these are chemical weapons then, Nigeria is in a big problem as chemicals and weapons of such magnitude are not supposed to be in the hands of the wrong people.’’
He showed the committee the canisters of the chemicals used on his people by the Fulani mercenaries.
Mr. Suswam further said that the herdsmen attacking his people were camping in Nasarawa State.
“We share borders with Nasarawa State. It is understood that the people attacking and killing my people are camped in Nasarawa State.
“It is a mutual suspicion. Our concern now is that when they are through with my people they will attack their host state.
“Nobody is safe in this country anymore unless we act properly and quickly too.”
He said that the ongoing crisis in the country had touched various parts of the country, adding that all stakeholders must come together to ensure that it came to an end. He debunked the statement credited to him that he ordered Fulani people out of the state, saying that he only said herdsmen with AK 47 and other weapons were not welcomed in the state.
“I read stories credited to me that I have ordered Fulani herdsmen out of Benue. For the records I did not order them out of the state.
“I did say that the Fulani people who are carrying AK 47 and other weapons should move away from Benue.
“My people have enjoyed a close relationship with Fulani people. These people attacking us are not the Fulani people we used to know. These are insurgents who do not want to be treated as such that are adopting this new method of attacks.
“We have witnessed a lot of destruction in the past months in the state. The attackers spear no one. They kill everyone on sight,’’ he said
Mr. Suswam commended Barnabas Gemade, a senator, and National Emergency Management Agency for their efforts to end the crisis and provide relief materials to the displaced people in the state.
In his speech, the leader of the joint committee, Mohammed Magoro, said that they were on a fact finding mission to get to the root of the ongoing crisis in the state.
Mr. Magoro assured the people of the state that the Senate was ready to support the government to any length to ensure that the crisis came to an end.
He appealed to stakeholders, traditional rulers and all other relevant parties involved in the crisis to be honest and to be sure of all their facts.
NAN reports that the committee had nine members on the fact finding team.
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