10 November 2017

Nigeria: Benue Leaders Allege Fresh Plot By Herdsmen to Attack Indigenes

Leaders of the three main ethnic nationalities in Benue State yesterday rose from an emergency meeting in Abuja alleging a fresh plot by herdsmen to unleash another deadly attack on the people.

Addressing a press conference under the aegis of Mdzough U Tiv, Idoma National Forum and Omi Ny' Igede, the leaders claimed that there was existence of an armed militia on the Nigeria-Cameroun as well as the Agatu borders of Nasarawa State extending to North West of Benue.

The President General of Mdzough U Tiv, Edward Ujege who presided over the briefing alongside the President of Idoma National Forum, Amali Adoya Amali and President General of Omi Ny' Igede, Ode Enyi, alleged that the Federal Government had been reluctant in responding to attacks on Benue people "even though we voted and have been supporting this administration."

According to Ujege, the main reason for the alleged fresh plot was the commencement of the implementation of the anti-open grazing law in the state.They stated: "Our three main socio-cultural organisations and indeed the entire people of Benue State are deeply troubled because the herdsmen, already tagged as the fourth deadliest terrorist group in the world by Global Terrorist index, have the capacity, capability and means to carry out the threat.

"Knowing that the favourite pastime of these herdsmen is unprovoked bloodletting, unjustifiable destruction of people's livelihoods and systemic denigration of the ecosystem, we cannot take such a report lightly and especially, in consideration of the recent call by the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore to its members to mobilise and resist the anti-open grazing and establishment of ranches law enacted by the Benue State House of Assembly and assented to by Governor Samuel Ortom on May 2, 2017."

To underscore their seriousness, they have written President Muhammadu Buhari and Senate President Bukola Saraki on the development.However, over 400 women in northern part of Cross River State yesterday took to the streets calling on herdsmen to leave.

Mostly middle-aged women, they called on the state government to enact anti-grazing laws to protect their lives, crops and farmlands.The protesters, from Ugaga Community in Yala Local Council of the state, carried fresh leaves, as they chanted, "Fulani must go, Fulani must go.

"The herdsmen should be relocated far away from our community. Security should also be beefed up at the boundary areas to secure our lives."This is coming on the heels of a recent clash between herdsmen and farmers from the community that resulted in casualties on both sides.

Reacting, the member representing Yala State Constituency in House of Assembly, Regina Anyogo, sued for calm, assuring the people that government was on the verge of imposing ban on open grazing.

In a related development, indigenes of the sleepy Otulu community in Aniocha South Local Council of Delta State are currently living in fear following the killing of a suspected herdsman, Mallam Hassan Riscu, by an irate farmer.

Consequently, the divisional police headquarters of the police force has arrested one Okwukwu Demion for allegedly stabbing the 21-year old to death.The suspect, a native of Imo State, was said to have been angered by the sight of the cattle rearer and his herd on his farmland.

A community source, who pleaded anonymity, explained that there was a verbal exchange between the duo prior to the unfortunate incident.A police source at the divisional headquarters, who would not want his name in print, said the timely deployment of anti-riot policemen forestalled an immediate reprisal.He added that the deceased had been buried in the community according to Muslim rites, adding that investigation was ongoing.


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