Herdsmen attack: Benue goes for State Police - Welcome to Uju Ayalogu's Blog

Breaking News

Post Top Ad

Monday, 5 February 2018

Herdsmen attack: Benue goes for State Police

Herdsmen attack: Benue goes for State Police

They’ll be well-armed to checkmate terrorists – Insiders

40 killed in fresh Taraba, Adamawa attacks

Overwhelmed by the recurring slaughter of residents in Benue State communities, by suspected Fulani herdsmen, the Governor of the state, Dr. Samuel Ortom, has reportedly forwarded a bill to the state’s House of Assembly, asking it to enact a law to legalise armed-bearing local vigilance groups as a security force.

The bill, according to competent sources close to the governor, was quietly sent to the Assembly last week and is expected to be deliberated upon by the lawmakers this week.

Governor Ortom, who, while speaking with Deutsche Welle, a German broadcast outfit, lamented the refusal of the Federal Government to come to the aid of his people, who were being repeatedly massacred by rampaging Fulani herdsmen, had said he would have come in defence of the people if he had a state police.

READ ALSO :  Unbelievable: Man Pretends To Be A Woman To Take Part In Beauty Contest, Makes It To The Final

He said, “The Vice President said the Federal Government alerted the security agents to take appropriate action, and this was not done. Our responsibility is not to enforce the law; it is the responsibility of the Federal Government. So, all that we do is to alert them, to be proactive by giving them information. That much, I did. And so, we are still calling on them for help and the killings are still going on and no action is being taken.

“These herdsmen are known; for whatever reason, they have immunity against the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and today, they are going about freely with arms and killing, and no single person has been able to arrest these people. That is my problem with the Federal Government.”

He also gave hints that the state government might be forced to devise other means of defending its citizens when he said, “The herdsmen incursion is beyond just grazing; they want to take over the land, that this land belongs to them. I don’t know how the land belongs to them. So, it’s not just about grazing, it’s about occupation, taking over the land.

“And if you see the style of attack and the silence of the Federal Government, you will know that there is complicity. The solution to this crisis is for the Federal Government to come out and enforce the laws of the land. The Federal Government has the prerogative of enforcing the laws of the land. I don’t have state police. I don’t have state army.”

The top source in Benue government circles, who did not want his name published owing to the sensitivity of the issue, added that Benue could now boast of 13, 800 well-trained vigilantes and that they would be constituted to what looks like a police force.

He said, “They will have offices in all the 23 local government areas and also have a Commandant, whose status will be the equivalent of a Commissioner of Police. In the bill, the state government is expected to appropriate funds for the amalgamated vigilance group, with a central name, while all their officers and men will be paid salaries and allowances according to their ranks.

“But above all, the central thing there is that they are going to be well armed and equipped with helicopters, vehicles and other security gadgets to checkmate the Fulani herdsmen and ensure that Benue State remains a peaceful place.”

The vigilance group empowerment bill, however, is not a new phenomenon in Benue State as previous administrations of Governors George Akume and Gabriel Suwswam had pushed for the legal recognition of the vigilantes, apparently owing to the same Fulani/local farmers clash recorded in the past.

But what makes Ortom’s bill exceptional is that he wants the House to legalise the use of weaponry and other firearms for the Group, so as to protect the defenceless residents of Benue, who were largely holed up in their homes and shelled with gun attacks while sleeping.

Governor Ortom himself had been a victim of the Fulani herdsmen, as his private home in Nzorov, Guma Local Government was sometime plundered and put to the torch by the attackers when he was Minister of State for Trade and Investment.

Apart from the initial figure of 80 people said to have been killed in the latest herdsmen attacks in Benue between December, 2017 and January, this year, sources said the death toll would have risen to about 145, following spasmodic attacks by the herdsmen, who now raid villages at night, leaving deaths and ruin in their trail.



Meanwhile, eminent indigenes of Benue State have thrown their weight behind any effort being taken by the Benue State Government to protect the residents.

A former Minister of Power and Steel in the Second Republic, and until recently, the Chairman, Northern Elders Forum, Chief Paul Unongo, said, since the Constitution of Nigeria guaranteed the protection of lives and property, Ortom’s move at finding home-grown solution to the problem was a welcome development.

“Where the Federal Government fails to protect us, we shall have no other option than to create our own army, to protect us. The issue in question is a clear case of genocide visited on us by those in the corridors of power,” he lamented.

Unongo, again, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to “hasten action and bring the perpetrators of these heinous acts to book; otherwise, when this problem will escalate, it may be difficult for anyone to contain again.”

In his reaction, the paramount ruler of Tiv kingdom, His Majesty, Prof. James Ortese Ayatse, particularly lamented the high casualty rate in his domain. According to him, over 2000 Tiv people had been killed in recent time, within the 41 times the Fulani herdsmen had attacked communities in his kingdom.

The monarch blamed the Federal Government for being unable to protect his people, pointing out that “if this scenario continues unabated, we may have no other alternative than to confront the situation headlong.”

“I’m urging the Federal authority to do something fast to save the situation as we are now unsafe in our own country, afraid of our fellow countrymen, who come to kill our people at will,” the royal father pleaded.

Also, a prominent lawyer in the state, Mr. Rowland Ndefo, in an interview with our correspondent, alleged that the attacks were “an ethnic cleansing being masterminded by the Fulani leaders to implement the Jihad agenda as espoused by leading Islamic scholar and Jihadist, the late Othman Dan Fodio.

“In 1966, they vowed to capture the then three geo-political zones of Nigeria; so what you are seeing taking place is the implementation of that agenda,” he claimed.

Lending his voice too, a former Military Administrator of Katsina State, Major-General Lawrence Onoja (retd), an indigene of Benue State, expressed dismay “over the lukewarm attitude displayed by the Federal Government towards the killings of indigenes of the state,” saying, “We cannot continue to lie low any longer, where thousands of lives are being lost at the instance of herders; yet they didn’t give a hoot about the precious lives that are being wasted.

“For the fact that these people hinged their argument on reversal of the anti-grazing law does not give them the license to start killing innocent people.”
He defended Governor Ortom’s anti-grazing laws, aimed at protecting the local farms from despoliation by the herd.

“How can a state under its apparatus go through due process and enact its law, and then someone outside is telling it to repeal it; is it possible? We are not at liberty to please anybody and therefore, we stand by the position of government and its people,” he stressed.

READ ALSO :  Babangida's "Vote Out Buhari In 2019" Statement Was A Bullet Shot With Flowers - Shehu Sanni 



But the National President, Fulani Nationality Movement, referred to as FUNAM, Mallam Salisu Ahmadu Adamu, recently warned that without the reversal of the anti-grazing law, there would be no peace in the land.
“Except the anti-grazing law is repealed, we shall continue to wreak havoc in the state, and the government may not see an end to it.

We have mobilised all the Fulani in West Africa to pool their resources together and fight this holy war. And if things are allowed to go this way, the catastrophe that will be visited on these people can only be compared to the Jihad, the holy war of 1804,” he warned.

The Fulani herdsmen’s attacks have particularly been more in Benue, Adamawa and Taraba states, especially in the last three months. In Benue alone, there are seven refugee camps composed by residents displaced by the Fulani herdsmen. Governor Ortom lamented that many of the refugees fled from neighbouring Adamawa State and that he was obliged to fend for them for the sake of humanity.

Only last week, the Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku, raised the alarm that security reports reaching him indicated that some persons were planning to launch a devastating attack on his state “in 10days’ time”, in what was considered to be the planned return of the Fulani herdsmen, who had reportedly threatened to “come back and finish off the state.”


Barely 72 hours after the governor’s alarm, two attacks took place in Adamawa and Taraba states, leading to the death of more than 40 persons.

In Adamawa, suspected Fulani herdsmen attacked Simba village, a community in Yungur district of Song Local Government area, killing scores.
A resident, who escaped by the whiskers, told our correspondent that about 30 people were feared dead.

According him, the crisis started after Fulani herdsmen insisted on putting their cattle to drink from the only stream the locals used as the source of their drinking water.

But in Taraba, barely 10 hours after Governor Ishaku raised the alarm of impending attacks on some communities in the state, the state’s police command confirmed the death of four persons during an attack on the Tiv community of Ngutswan in Gassol Local Government area of the state, by suspected Fulani militias.

Residents of the attacked community said the Fulani militia stormed the community in the early hours, killed four persons, and wounded dozens.
Some fleeing residents insisted that some of the Fulani militia men were still lurking in their communities, lamenting that security personnel had not been deployed to protect them.

Narrating the incident, Mr. Tyav Ngutswen, who is the surviving eldest person in the village, said that the heavily armed attackers, numbering over 20, stormed the village around 10pm, and opened fire, killing four persons as they scampered for safety.

Ngutswen said that over 10 persons had also been killed by herdsmen since the beginning of the year, and that the present incident started when some cows ate the yams harvested and kept in the house and the herdsmen were made to pay compensation.

According to Ngutswen, the herdsmen vowed to make life uncomfortable for the people and had made good their promise by the attack.
He said,”We were already asleep last night, around 10pm, when the gunmen, numbering over 20, came into our village and started shooting with sophisticated weapons. As the people were running into the bush, four of our people were killed, among them a man and his wife.

“This year alone, over 10 persons from this village had been killed. Two weeks ago, herdsmen came with their cows and ate some of our yams that had been harvested and stored. As peace-loving people, we engaged them in dialogue and they had to pay a compensation of N40, 000. They vowed to pay us back and have made good their promise.”


The Chairman, Tiv Social Cultural Group in the local government, Mr. Zachariah Terhile, said it was unfortunate that the police were treating the case as mere robbery, despite evidence to the contrary.

Terhile regretted that efforts to stop the continued attacks and killings of his people by herdsmen, in conjunction with the police and the Chief of Gassol, had not yielded any meaningful result, as the police seemed not committed to the cause.

When reached for comment, the Police Public Relations Officer, Taraba State, David Misal, confirmed that four persons were killed in the community.

He said that the attack was a case of robbery since the people were dispossessed of their valuable goods, which included four motorbikes.
Governor Ishaku had earlier alleged a planned Fulani militia wave of attacks on some communities in the state within 10 days while receiving the National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party, led by its National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.

Are you an artiste? Do you want your music to go viral and reach a large number of audience? Promote your music and Submit your story  on Ujuayalogusblog.com by clicking here. For Advert Inquiries Tel/+44(0)7590363984 Subscribe to Ujuayalogusblog.com News!

For More:  Visit Us at Uju Ayalogu's Blog

Share This

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post Bottom Ad