The attack on the chief of army staff, Tukur Buratai, by some Benue ethnic groups have attracted condemnation by a community chief Chief John Apochi said the attack on Buratai is a clear indication that the Benue leaders were playing politics.

According to the chief, the leaders from Benue state are not ready to see the end of the ongoing crisis tearing the state apart.


A community leader in Benue state, John Apochi, has fired back at Benue clannish leaders over their recent attack on chief of Army staff, Tukur Buratai. Apochi said the attack on Buratai, a Lieutenant general over the ongoing clashes between herders and farmers in the state is condemnable.

He said the rejection of the advice rendered by Buratai is a clear indication that the Benue leaders were playing politics and not ready to see the end of the ongoing crisis tearing the state apart. In an open letter to the Benue leaders, Apochi said the attack on Buratai should end. Describing the chief of Army staff as an individual who is not an ethnic leader or politician, but a professional, trusted and time-tested soldier, the Benue chief said such delicate issue as the crisis in the state should be treated without any form of politics or sentiments to achieve peace for all.

Apochi said: “I am hardly interested in commenting on issues which have political and ethnic slant in my home state of Benue for obvious reasons. But I avoid it specifically because of the possibility of our people to easily misconstrue the genuine and good intentions by blending it with politics. But I have decided to voice out on the seeming and raging verbal tussle between the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai and Benue’s ethnic leaders led by Chief Edward Ujege under the auspices of the Mdzough U Tiv (MUT), the Idoma National Forum and the Omi-Ny’Igede, representing the three major ethnic groupings in the state. Briefly, the Army chief has counseled the government of Benue state to revisit the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law, 2017, which he believes has ennobled the violent siege of Benue state and opened the floodgate of killings in ceaseless crisis between herders and peasant farmers. But the Benue ethnic leaders are not comfortable with this advice from the Army boss and in their open rejection of it, they threw wisdom to the dogs, embarked chicanery and buffoonery in a manner that projects these elders and leaders as more interested in the bloodbath in the land rather than enduring solutions to ending the crisis. I beg to disagree with my elders and leaders on several scores. But first, let me repeat the obvious, a fact known to these leaders that the COAS, Lt. Gen. Buratai is not an ethnic leader or politician, but a professional, trusted and time-tested soldier, as the elders admitted of his character and personality.

It therefore mocks sound reasoning to have perceived and interpreted his honest advice from the restricted prisms of any of the aforementioned camps. It is even wrong and infantile, the insinuation that the Army chief’s advice may have sprouted from pecuniary considerations or his clandestine desire to protect any ethnic group. To this end, I wish to remind our elders and leaders that the carnage in Benue state is fast assuming the character of a war. And in war situations, feuding parties do not have their minds on fixated solutions as these tribal leaders are pontificating.

Several options are explored for peace to reign. And under the circumstances we have found ourselves in Benue today, no sacrifice should be deemed too great to make or concessions too precious to offer for peace. They say, peace is priceless, but war is expensive to fund and manage.

Tafawa Balewa In time past, we knew age comes with wisdom, but not in this generation anymore. When leaders begin to reason in this manner, it becomes apparent that wisdom has piteously departed from these elders. It is reflected in the current ridicule of the worthy advice from the Army Chief. It expresses the depth of our dilemma as a people. Or else, what is the essence of tenaciously holding onto something that is visiting death upon you? It does appear to me that these ethnic leaders are blinded by acerbic fury, so they have thrown the baby out, together with the bathwater.

The COAS didn’t call or even contemplate the suspension of the anti-open grazing law by the Benuestate government, as postured by the ethnic leaders. Rather in the spirit of “Live, lets live,” he canvassed for slight modification of the law to fairly accommodate the interests of all the feuding parties. I don’t think this is a bad bargain and the focus of the tribal leaders should have been on how to save lives, as against the promotion of crisis,” Apochi said. It was earlier reported that some indigenes of Benue state had stormed the Unity Fountain in Abuja to protest the killings in various communities of the state by suspected herdsmen.

The protesters in the scores said it is important for the world to see what has been happening in the state. They also called on the federal government to come to their aid by ending the carnage in communities in Benue state.