Horrific details have emerged on a taped telephone conversation between a Fulani herdsman and the former aide to the immediate past Governor of Benue State Gabriel Suswam, Zakari Musa on the recent attack on the Riverine Abugbe community of Agatu.
The audio tape, according to a local media house in Benue, divulged an alleged complicit conversation between the cattle breeder and the Idoma man.
Though the validity of the tape has not yet been ascertained, however, if the content of the tape is anything to by, it means the recent crisis in Agatu is just getting started.
Read transcript of the conversation below:
Voice 1 (Herdsman): Inaudible
Voice 2 (Musa): its important that you people should inform them pls
1: What you people have been telling them is not exactly what they have been doing. Because it seems you people are the ones who have been sending them to kill our cattle or is it not you people?
2: No, no. No no. What is our business with Abugbe people?
1: You, you are from which tribe (ethnicity)?
2: Don’t you know Musa at panama kokoro?
1: I know you of course
2: Then why are you asking of my ethnicity again?
1: Ok, Ok
2: Is it not Audu Janga that is speaking?
1: Its Audu Janga of course.
1: I did not realise at first. So its you?
2: Its me.
1: Ok. Its your people that did not seek peace. They keep killing our cattle. So, our children… (interrupted)
2: Which people?
1: Abugbe people
2: We have no business with those people, they do not want peace. I am talking about kokoro, not Abugbe
1: Ok, Ok, Alright, Kokolo will not be touched
2: You know it is the hand that enters a hole that gets stung by a bee right?
1: Of course
2: So they are the ones who attracted the problem to themselves. That is why I said no soldier should enter into any water (water body). I mean, the navy should not enter into the water. I have talked to them several times to leave the Fulani train alone. But they refuse and go on to kill the Fulani cattle at Gungundi. So, let the soldiers leave. Please am begging you, do not go to kokoro
1: Listen to me, Kokoro will not be touched. But the people of Abugbe, ant the people of igwa… (interrupted)
2: For those ones there is no problem
1: Are you listening to me? And those ones of Kwasheni? They are the ones killing our cattle. And we know about it.
2: We know about it, We keep talking to them but they refuse to listen to us. I have withdrawn the soldiers. No soldier will go to talk to them
1: Did you hear of the incident at Abugbe the day before yesterday? Or did you not hear?
2: Yes we heard. They called for help from soldiers but I refused to allow deployment of soldiers.
1: Did you hear that our boys touched Kokolo?
2: They did not, that is why I am begging you because people are calling me from kokoro that I should please talk to you. You know I am not in kokoro
1: But if you don’t warn them, the people of Kokolo, Abugbe, Egba(Igwa), Gwajeni and Asheni, we have vowed to finish them all.
2: They are the ones who keep troubling you so it is their problem. I have talked to them several times, they refuse to listen. I will call their traditional rulers and lock them up and see if that helps. They are the ones instigating the problems
1: Of course they are the ones. They have killed over 300 of our cattle in this month alone.
2: That is not fair at all
1: And we, how many people did we kill?
2: That is not fair at all
1: At Abugbe the day before yesterday how many persons did you hear that our boys killed?
2: It is not fair at all
1: Is that peaceful coexistence?
2: It is not fair at all.
1: Listen to me…. (Interrupted)
2: The Governor is calling my other line, let me answer the governor ,,,,( interrupted)
1: No, wait and listen let me conclude my talk
1: To tell you the truth, I am not Abdu Janga.
2: Who is this?
1: Honestly it is just one boy. We are the ones that went and burnt Abugbe. Abdu Janga is not even aware.
1: Honestly I am not Abdu Janga. Abdu Janga is not even aware. Personally, I do not even know Abdu Janga. We went to take revenge because they killed our cattle. Our cattle that were killed were not as many as the figure I gave to you but it is close to that figure
2: Frankly, I and doing my best within the law to talk to them and am always scolding them
1: But they do not listen to your scolding. They do not want peaceful living ….(interrupted)
2: I have told you those people do not listen. Those people by the water side do not listen
1: So they want to destabilise the land for all? Honestly, I am a boy of only 15 years of age, the person you are speaking with. And am telling you that day we went to Abugbe, we drowned a lot of them in water. They died. This phone I am using to call you belongs to one of the persons who died on that day. I took the phone, I saw your number in it and decided to call you.
2: Please am going to call you again later. Kindly be patient.
1: Ok. ok, ok, But because of Allah, …( interrupted by voices in the background urging him to wait, lets hear him out)
2: Those traditional rulers, the things we have been telling them, some things are already happening to them. Kokolo has no hand in the matter at all at al. In the year to come cattle go all the way to Kokolo and nothing happens to them
1: Are you listening to me? We are the ones carrying out these activities. Me that you are speaking with, we are the ones carrying out these activities. But tell your people, those ones you don’t want their properties burnt, they should steer clear of this problem. We do not touch anybody unless he touches us first. But if they touch us, even if you are going to send soldier, it only means the soldiers will have to kill us. Because our government is our cattle.
2: They dare not get involved in what does not concern them
1: Yes. We will not enter your town if they do not touch us. Our government is our cattle. It pays our wages. If you kill our cattle, then we have no wages. So, how will we stand by and watch our cattle be wiped out. Its either we wipe out agatu or they stop killing our cattle.
2: No problem. No problem
1: Ok, you what is your name?
2: Zakari, Zakari, Zakari, Zakari Musa
1: Zakari Musa right? Ok, please you people should redouble efforts to stop this crisis. We too are tired of it. You know it is not right to kill human beings, but we have become used to it.
2: Me, I am the adviser to the governor on the deployment of soldiers. Such duties are my responsibility. I am the one that stopped deployment of soldiers to abugbe the day before yesterday, because I am not pleased with that they did.
1: Right now, are you listening? If they want peace, we too we want peace, but if they do not want peace, we here are young men (small children) we are the ones killing them. We are now used to killing human beings. If you do not stop this crisis we will not be tired of killing people up the land of bagaje will wake up. If this crisis does not end we will enter bagaje this time around.
Meanwhile, details have emerged today, Friday on why Fulani herdsmen invaded Agatu local government area of Benue state.
During a stakeholders meeting organised by the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Solomon Arase in Markudi, the Fulani leaders in both Benue and Nasarawa state claimed that over 10,000 cattle were allegedly killed by people of Agatu.
More details later..