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Cablegate: Nigeria: Letter From Benue State Governor

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ABUJA 003224

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE


DEPARTMENT FOR AF/W


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM OPRC NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: LETTER FROM BENUE STATE GOVERNOR
REGARDING EMBASSY PRESS RELEASE


1. What follows below is the text of a November 20 letter to
the Ambassador received from Benue State Governor George
Akume in reaction to the Embassy's press statment regarding
events in Benue.


Appreciation


I write on behalf of the Government and the people of Benue
State to express our profound appreciation to the Government
of the United States of America for its concern about the
violence and destruction of lives and property in the state
recently.


We are encouraged by this concern to believe that the Federal
Government will listen to the respected voice of the United
States to take appropriate measures to find a lasting
solution to the ethnic crisis in Nasarawa and Taraba States.
We are convinced that an "impartial and transparent"
investigation as suggested by the United States Government
will indeed provide the basis for such a solution.


It is regrettable that Benue State that is not directly
involved in the conflict between the Tiv and their neighbors
in Nasarawa and Taraba States had to bear the full brunt of
the crises in terms of army reprisal killings and management
of a large number of displaced persons. We however, consider
this as the necessary price we have to pay for good
neighborliness and the promotion of our nascent democracy.
We will continue to do our best to support the restoration of
peace, law and order in our zone.

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Once again, accept our sincere gratitude and kindly convey
same to the government of the United States


2. Comment: We were the only diplomatic mission to make a
public statement about the Benue conflict. According to
Akume, that statement may have given some solace to the
people of the affected area. More importantly, the GON has
established a panel of inquiry to investigate the situation
in Benue and its neighboring states. While far from the
decisive factor, our statement may have helped prod the GON
into forming the investigative panel. Knowing that we are
interested and watching may also have a positive effect on
the workings of the panel. End comment.
Jeter

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