Benue
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state.

The Benue State Government on Thursday said the Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Musur Dan-Ali (retd.), was responsible for the killings in the state on Wednesday.

The state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Lawrence Onoja Jnr, made the allegation at a press briefing in Makurdi.

Herdsmen militia had on Wednesday invaded Tse Zongu of Mbagwen where they killed nine people including two students who were at the village to sit NECO examination.

Onoja Jnr said that nothing could exonerate the minister because the attack came barely 24 hours after his utterance.

He said, “From the timing of these killings, the militia herdsmen must have been encouraged by the unfortunate statement of the defence minister, who had just two days ago suggested the suspension of the anti-open grazing law.

“The implication of such provocative statement is that the militia herdsmen could have been inspired in their attacks on Benue communities.”

He said that the state government would no longer take the ‘reckless statement’ of the minister with levity, adding that Governor Samuel Ortom had already directed security agencies to quickly mobilise to the affected communities.