The Benue Government on Thursday accused the Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Musur Dan-Ali (retd.), of being responsible for the killings recorded in the state on Wednesday.
Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Lawrence Onoja, made the allegation at a press briefing in Makurdi, the state capital.
Herdsmen militia had invaded Tse Zongu of Mbagwen where they killed nine people including, two students who were at the village to sit for NECO examination.
Onoja stated 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.”
The commisioner added that the state government would no longer take the ‘‘reckless statement’’ of the minister with levity.
He disclosed that Governor Samuel Ortom had directed security agencies to quickly mobilise to the affected communities.
The Minister had on Tuesday suggested that the anti-open grazing law be suspended.
Dan Ali made the recommendation during a meeting President Muhammadu Buhari had with Service Chiefs.
He said the law is responsible for tension in some states including Benue and Taraba.