Written by Scholastica JOSEPH

Obasanjo visits Benue, describes killings as shocking, senseless

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed sadness over the gruesome murder of people in Benue state in their homes by Fulani herdsmen, describing the development as shocking and senseless.

Obasanjo, who was received at the Makurdi Airport by Governor Samuel Ortom and members of his cabinet on Saturday, was led straight to the graveside of the Benue 73’ who were massacred by herdsmen on New Year's Day in Logo and Guma local government areas of the state.

Obasanjo who stated that a Nigerian life lost is a loss to all Nigerians, said he was in the state to pay his condolences and to express his sorrow over the killings.

"It is sad beyond description and that is why I have come straight from Maiduguri where I had attended a meeting of Zero Hunger Forum. If circumstances were normal, the Benue governor would have been with us. So, I am here to pay a condolence visit and share the sadness of Benue people with them.

"I felt coming to the graveside and laying a wreath will express my sorrow and my sympathy and empathy with the family, the governor, all the people of the state and indeed, all Nigerians without any exception. A Nigerian life lost is loss to all of us.

"Hearing that aside the 73 buried here, more than 80 others have been killed in different parts of Benue is even more shocking to me. I believe it will be more shocking to all Nigerians who will be hearing that. There is no doubts that we haven't got it right. We haven't got it right because whatever is behind this, normally in any civilized society we must get to the root of it."

"And until we get to the root of this, we will be burying victims. We will be assuming what is not assumable, because we must know why this happening and who we must put an end to it. And somebody must accept the responsibility to put an end to this. If it has to be a collective responsibility, then so be it. But there must be an end to it."

Obasanjo who charged the Nigerian government to seek ways of unraveling the cause of the incessant killings of Nigerians in across the country saying that the call became necessary so that the country can be free and secure enough for investors to come in.

"We cannot talk of a free country, a secured country, a country where we will want development to take place, where we will want to invite investors from outside and from inside and we are suffering this type of senselessness.

"This to me goes beyond what is on the surface. And we need to find out what is at the bottom of it. And that is the responsibilities of leaders and of course, they must leave no stone unturned to find what is the root cause of this and put a stop to it.

"Nothing can be worse than what we have seen here; graveside of innocent people who should not have died that have died. The living still have hope but those who have died are gone forever. Those who lost their loved ones, what do we say to them? Since I have taken time to come here, I will try to see anything that is worth seeing but finding solution is paramount," Obasanjo said.



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