Solomon Maren, lawmaker representing Bokkos/Mangu constituency in the national assembly, says there are reports that Lazarus Agaie, the Plateau monarch, who was shot to death on Monday, was killed over his stance on grazing reserve.
But Maren, who is from the same town with the deceased, did not state the stance of Agaie.
Gunmen killed Agaie aged 76-year-old as he was on his way to Bokkos after visiting his farm in Sha District of the area.
Also killed along with the monarch, who had been on the throne for 42 years, were Sunday Wuyah, his orderly, his wife, and his son, Shagari.
Expressing regrets over the incident, Maren said the monarch was killed by those he had “spent much time struggling to protect”.
“From what I have gathered, the chief was killed because of his stance on the issue of grazing reserves,” he said.
“Throughout his reign, he remained a very principled man and would tell you exactly what he feels about an issue. That was just his offence.”
He regretted that such killings had become common in the chiefdom, recalling that in January, gunmen killed the village head of Makayi and district head of Manguna.
The lawmaker appealed for calm among the youths of Bokkos, and cautioned them against taking the law into their hands.
“It is a very dark moment in our history as a people, but we must exercise much restraint,” he said.
Tim Golu, representative of Pankshin/Kanam/Kanke constituency, described the killing of the traditional ruler as “very scary, sad and unfortunate”.
“I want to condemn in the strongest terms, the brutal and wicked killing of the Saf-Ron-Kulere, the oldest first class paramount ruler in Plateau,” he told NAN.
“These killings are becoming more common and the federal government must be proactive and beef up security in local communities so as to halt them.”
Also reacting, Jerry Useni, lawmaker representing Plateau south, described the incident as “terrible and wicked”.
Ikedichi Iweha, spokesman of the special task force (STF) in charge of security in Plateau, had told NAN that investigations were ongoing.
Simon Lalong, governor of the state, has condemned the killing, calling on security agencies to fish out the murderers of the king.
“I received the news (of the killing) with a heavy heart. The cold blooded murder is despicable and cowardly,” Lalong said in a statement signed by Emmanuel Nanle, his director of press affairs.
“We shall work together with all peace loving citizens of the State to secure and sustain the peace on the Plateau.”
Lalong appealed to the citizens, particularly residents of Bokkos Local Government, to remain calm and not engage in any act capable of aggravating the situation.
“We should rather volunteer all necessary information, that will aid investigation, to security operatives.”
Last week, the governor explained that his administration had adopted the policy of ranches to resolve cases of clashes between herdsmen and farmers.
Speaking on Channels TV, the governor differentiated between grazing reserves and ranches.
“It will be difficult to adopt grazing reserves because the routes are not available. Although the law is there, you cannot get the routes,” he had said.
“In some of the routes, you will find out that they are occupied by government buildings and structures.
“If you go to Abuja today, many of the parks you see there are grazing routes. I will even not be surprised if the structure of the Villa was also grazing route.
“So when we look at it, we look at the pros and cons – the advantages of the two, and the recommendation was that we should go for ranches.”