Former Sokoto governor, Attahiru Bafarawa, has advised both the Benue and federal governments to evolve a political solution to end the violence instead of trading blames.
Bafarawa who made the appeal on Friday when he paid a condolence visit to Governor Samuel Ortom stressed that it was time to move forward instead of finding who was right or wrong.
He said: “What is required to end the crisis is a workable solution that would be acceptable to all sides; trying to establish who is right or wrong is not what matters now.”
He opined that a military approach to tackling the crisis would not solve the problem.
He said: “A military approach will not solve the problem; the solution to it is political. We need to involve the traditional institution. This problem is not only a Benue problem, it is a national problem and we all need to come together to solve it.
“It is a problem we can solve with a sincere and open approach. We cannot afford the luxury of trading blames.”
He recalled the role played by former Benue governor George Akume in stabilizing the northern part of the country during its challenging moments, and called for unity among Nigerians irrespective of tribe, religion or political leaning.
Bafarawa blamed the killings on migrant herders, and declared that they were not Fulani herdsmen.
He said: “The Fulani herdsmen that we know carry sticks to guide their cattle and not Ak 47 Riffles; these migrants speak strange languages. They are not Fulani people.
“We must come together to fish out the people that are perpetrating these crimes against our people.”
He appealed to the governor to protect both Tiv and Fulani people living in Benue, and prayed for the repose of those killed in the violence.
Bafarawa donated N10 million to the families of the deceased.
Ortom, in his response, commended Bafarawa for condoling with the Benue people and also proffering solutions to the crisis.
He said: “Your visit is a demonstration of love and friendliness.”
He said that the attacks on Benue were strange, and blamed them on the influx of foreign nationals who had taken advantage of the country’s porous borders to smuggle arms into it.
The governor recalled the traditional ties between the Tiv and the Fulani, and wondered why the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, was opposed to the anti-open grazing law enacted to check farmers/herdsmen clashes.
Ortom said: “It is sad that in spite of the several legal options opened to those aggrieved by any government decision; the group chose to instigate crises through various utterances.
“The enactment of the law is the only solution to the persistent herdsmen/farmers crisis; we must all embrace it.
“The anti-open grazing law is intended to protect both the farmers and the herdsmen from attack; with land shrinking every day and population increasing, the only way to do animal husbandry is to ranch.”
He agreed that the problem between farmers and herdsmen was a national problem and called on the federal government to “act fast to save the country”.