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Buhari to meet Benue leaders on Monday

*To table herdsmen, militia issues

Faced with fierce criticism of inappropriate response to the ongoing Benue killing, n the aftermath of the recent violent attacks on communities in Benue State by Fulani herdsmen, political, traditional and opinion leaders from the state are expected to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari, Monday, to comprehensively address the security challenges facing the State.

An informed source in the Presidency explained that the urgent meeting was inevitable because of the frequency and scale of such violence and the reactions that have trailed the incidents.

According to the source, the Presidency has been embarrassed by the large scale loss of lives caused by such repeated violence against innocent people.

The source who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the discussions at the meeting will address the issue of the Fulani herdsmen, which is at issue but may go beyond their menace to include the issue of the arming, training and financing of militia groups by some State governments.

He recalled the recent arrest of some armed militia members by the army and their confession of being armed by the Benue State government has added a new twist to the Benue saga and the source said it should not surprise anyone if the Presidency seeks an explanation about this from the Governor with a view to getting at the root of the state’s security challenges.

When contacted on the development, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said although he was aware of the expected parley with Benue leaders, he had not been briefed about the issues being brought to the table for discussions.

He said that the government welcomes any initiative by any group that would provide lasting solutions to be country’s security problems. He explained that security entails collective participation of all and it was, in his view better for all to come together to find solutions instead of anyone trading blames.

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