The governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, on Tuesday urged the federal government to act in time to stop the killings in Benue State and others by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
The governor said the killings in Benue state have attained a frightening dimension beyond herdsmen-farmers strife.
In a series of tweets, Mr. Fayose said the federal government “must act now” as the herdsmen menace has gotten to the level of, “terrorism and ethnic cleansing.”
“Just now, we heard news of the herdsmen attacking the camp of Mobile policemen, Mopol 13 in Benue, killing two officers by slitting their throats. Do you call people who could invade the camp of mobile policemen in a guerilla manner and overpower armed Mopol, mere Fulani herdsmen?
“What is happening in Benue and other middle-belt States is more than a strive (strife) between herdsmen and local farmers, it has gotten to the level of terrorism and ethnic cleansing. FG must act now,” Mr. Fayose tweeted.
An invasion of Guma and Logo Local Government Areas of Benue State during the New Year by suspected armed Fulani herdsmen left at least 57 people dead.
The Presidency on Tuesday spoke on efforts by President Muhammadu Buhari to end the incessant killings in Benue and neighbouring states, denying the president is to blame for the farmer/herders crises that have cost hundreds of lives in the last two years.
Mr. Buhari has been accused of condoning the killings by Fulani herdsmen because of his ethnicity.
The statement, issued Tuesday by presidential spokesperson Garba Shehu, said Mr. Buhari was “conscious of his duty to Nigerians, not least because he is held accountable for everything that goes wrong”.
“He deeply sympathises with the families and all the other direct and indirect victims of this violence. He is determined to bring it to a permanent end,” the statement said.
The statement also revealed that Mr. Buhari had been advised to challenge the constitutionality of the anti-open grazing law passed by Benue and Ekiti States, ”a suggestion he rejected.”