16 March 2018

Nigeria: Enough of Bloodshed in Benue - Ortom

Makurdi — Benue governor, Samuel Ortom, has blown hot, saying "enough of blood shed in the state due to the atrocities meted on farmers by Fulani herdsmen."

During a funeral service in honour of a fresh set of 26 victims killed by herdsmen in Omusu and Okana communities on the sixth of this month yesterday at St. Bernard Primary School, Ugwu-Okpoga in Okpokwu council area of the state, the governor reiterated his call to security agencies to arrest the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, whom he said, were the sponsors of the killings.

The governor, while condoling with the bereaved families, said the fresh deaths would put an end to the massacre in the state.

He stated that the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law has come to stay, adding that there was no land for concurrent open grazing and crop farming in the state.

Ortom assured the people that his administration would continue to respond swiftly to security challenges, adding that data were being gathered for compensation for damages caused by herdsmen's attacks in the state.

His deputy, Benson Abouno, Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly, James Okefe, representative of Bishop Apochi, Rev. Fr. John Attah and others lauded the governor for his support to the bereaved families and pledged their support for the ranching law.

On their part, the three socio-cultural groups in the state, represented by Omele Amali and representative of Movement Against Fulani Occupation (MAFO), Pastor Dave Ogbole, said they saw the attacks coming and reported same to relevant authorities which allegedly did nothing to avert bloodletting.

Expressing disappointment with the Federal Government over its seeming helplessness towards the killings, Pastor Ogbole called on the international community to prevent a repeat of the Rwanda debacle, adding that the resort by Benue people to remain law-abiding should not be mistaken for cowardice.

In his sermon, the chairman of the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Akpen Leva prayed beseeched God to grant the governor and the people the strength to overcome the menace.

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In a related development, Ughelli communities have urged Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State to instruct security agencies to monitor the activities of herdsmen in the council

Specifically, the Uwheru community told the governor that the kingdom had been taken over by herders, with a threat for ransom to secure freedom.

Okowa, however, noted that the herdsmen's issue had assumed a national dimension, saying the Presidency had set up a panel, headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, to address the menace, just as he disclosed that his administration had equally established a committee, headed by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), to address the problem.

The governor said he would take the Uwheru and Abraka complaints to the next security meeting in Asaba.

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