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Concentrate On Affairs In Your State, Ortom Tells Lalong |The Republican News

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                       Benue state Governor, Samuel Ortom

John Charles, Makurdi

The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has told his counterpart in Plateau State, Mr. Simon Lalong, to ‘mind his own business’ and not to interfere with the issue of Benue.

Ortom handed this warning to the representative of Lalong at the stakeholders’ meeting with the National Economic Council Technical Committee on Herdsmen/Farmers’ Crises Resolution.

The stakeholders were led by the Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi.

Ortom said his deputy, Benson Abounu, informed him about the discussion between him and Lalong, where the Plateau State Governor reiterated his warning to Ortom not to go ahead with the Benue State anti-open grazing law.

Ortom said, “My deputy told me that he had a discussion with Lalong recently at a function, where he (Lalong) said that he had to apologise to me over his statement because of pressure on him, saying, he stands by his earlier statement.

“He also told the people that he introduced this woman (pointing at the woman on the high table) in this committee to me, whereas, this woman was introduced to me by Nasir el-Rufai, not him.

“Thank God he has a representative here; please tell him to stop interfering with the affairs of my state; let him mind his business in Plateau and I will mind my own business here.

Related: I’m Determined To Implement Solutions For National Security Problems – Buhari

“I am the governor here (Benue); how can he say that he warned me? Who is he to warn me? He can only advise me.”

Lalong had at the peak of the herdsmen’s attacks on Benue State told newsmen in Abuja that he warned Ortom against the new law.

The stakeholders’ meeting held at the new banquet hall of the state government house on Sunday night.

The meeting, which dragged into the early hours of Monday, had in attendance some National Assembly members, religious leaders, traditional rulers and opinion moulders.

Speaking at the meeting, the Chairman of the Benue State Traditional Council, HRM Prof. James Ayatse, questioned the credibility of the committee since some of its members had at one time or the other taken position on the Benue crisis.

According to him, the governors of Plateau and Kaduna State – Lalong and El-Rufai, respectively – had made cynical statements concerning the crisis and asked, ‘how do we get justice?’

Related: Benue Killings: Missing Policeman Found Dead, Corpse Mutilated |The Republican News

“While in pains, a Benue delegation visited President Buhari and the only consolation he could give us was to say, ‘In the name of God, accommodate your fellow countrymen.’ With this statement, how will my people get justice?”

The paramount ruler charged the committee members to be neutral and discharge their responsibility with the fear of God.

Other who spoke at the meeting included the Catholic Bishop, Makurdi Diocese, Wilfred Anagbe; a former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mike Aondoaka, (SAN); and a former commissioner in the state, Mrs. Rebecca Akpedzan.

Others were the President General, Mdzough U Tiv, Chief Edward Ujege; a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Benard Hon; the Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, Benue State, Rev. Akpen Negua, and a second-class traditional ruler, Chief A. Abomtse.

All the speakers condemned what they termed the lacklustre attitude of the Federal Government to the crisis and insisted that there was no going back on the new law. (Punch)

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Benue Killings: Missing Policeman Found Dead, Corpse Mutilated |The Republican News

Ibrahim-Idris

IGP, Idris K. Ibrahim

Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
One of the four members of the Police Mobile Force Team who were missing during a gun duel with Fulani herdsmen at Adzege village in Ayilamo, Logo Local government area of Benue State, has been found dead.
The Police Mobile Force Team deployed to the area was last Friday, February 9, attacked by herdsmen who engaged them in a gun duel and then burned the police patrol vehicle.
Four of the policemen were declared missing after a headcount of all officers deployed for duty in the area.
Two of the missing policemen were however rescued alive on Sunday, while the mutilated body of one of the missing was discovered in the area on Monday.
Confirming the report in a statement, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) ASP Moses Yamu said the remains of the policeman, a Non Commission Officer (NCO), were found with both eyes, ears and nose removed.
“The Command regrets to announce the death of one of its NCO, who was one of the two (2) remaining missing Policemen in the attack of 9/2/2018. He was found brutally slaughtered, with both eyes and ears as well as nose removed.
“We pray that God Almighty grants him eternal rest. However, the Police remains committed to its statutory and daunting obligation of ensuring security as well as protection of life and property of all, please,” Yamu said.   (The Sun)

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Get Back To Kano, Gov. Ganduje Tells Fulani Herdsmen |The Republican News

Fulaniherdsman

Fulani Herdsman

  •  Herders in bloody clash with Adamawa residents

John Alechenu, Chukwudi Akasike, John Charles, and Ted Odogwu

The Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, on Sunday called on all Fulani herdsmen in some parts of the country, especially in Benue and Taraba states, to relocate to Kano State.

Ganduje said Kano State had “vast grazing land” to accommodate herdsmen and their cattle.

The governor stated this during the monitoring of the state’s “free vaccination of over one million cattle and other small animals” at Kadawa Artificial Insemination Centre in the Garum Malam Local Government Area of the state.

The exercise titled, ‘Towards Conservation of Livestock Resource and Animal Protein for Citizens of Kano,’ was part of activities marking the 2017/2018 livestock vaccination programme.

Ganduje, who condemned the “recent killings during the clashes between farmers and herdsmen,” said they were unacceptable.

The governor said the vaccination was initiated to keep animals healthy and improve the economy of the state.

He said as part of the government’s commitment to encouraging herdsmen in the state, Kano State Government had been providing facilities that would accommodate the herdsmen and their cattle to discourage them from moving to other states in search of grazing land.

Ganduje said, “Fulani herdsmen of Kano origin do not move out of Kano to other states because we have enough grazing land, ranches and traditional stock route. They don’t have any reason to move out of the state. We take care of them and we accord them the respect and dignity they deserve.

“I am inviting herdsmen from all parts of Nigeria to relocate to Kano because we have enough facilities to accommodate them. We have grazing land in Rogo, Gaya, Kura, Tudun Wada, Ungogo and other places, where facilities have been provided to accommodate the herdsmen and their cattle.”

The governor added that his administration was already in collaboration with the Federal Government and foreign agencies to convert the Falgore Game Reserve into a modern grazing land.

“Falgore Game Reserve can take care of millions of herdsmen and their cattle in Nigeria. The location has been designed to accommodate schools, human and animal clinics, markets, recreational centres and other social amenities that would provide the herdsmen enough comfort to take care of their animals and transact their business without any hindrance.

“These killings must stop. We cannot afford to continue to witness these senseless killings in the name of Fulani herdsmen and farmers clash over lack of grazing land when we have a place like the Falgore Game Reserve, which is being underutilised.”

Ganduje also said his administration had embarked on the registration of herdsmen and their cattle to enable the government to take care of them through free vaccination and other incentives.

‘Tiv people flee 25 villages’

The indigenous Tiv people of Kadarko in the Keana Local Government Area of Nasarawa State have reportedly fled 25 villages over attacks by herdsmen.

Community leaders, under the auspices of the Concerned Indigenous Tiv People of Kadarko, said this at a press briefing in Abuja on Sunday.

Spokesman for the group, Dr Benjamin Agbede, said they decided to cry out because there appeared to be an orchestrated plot to force them out of their ancestral land.

He explained that they were worried that since the outbreak of hostilities on January 15, 2018, Tiv farmers had been left to their fate.

Agbede said, “It is on record that the governor (Tanko Al-Makura) visited the areas and saw the dead bodies on January 30, 2018, but he merely directed that the corpses should be buried by the families of the deceased without any assistance.

“We were shocked that a paltry sum of N500,000 was made available to be shared by the families of those killed and those in different hospitals.

“For the avoidance of doubt, 12 people were killed and more than 30 are receiving treatment in different hospitals.

“We are deeply worried that although the area is inhabited by other ethnic nationalities, only the Tiv people are targets of the terrorists.”

Another community leader, Felix Akie, said, “We wonder why the police did not respond on time to save our people after we made distress calls when the shootings and killings were going on in Agwan Tiv.”

They appealed to the federal and state governments to come to their aid by ensuring that peace returned so that they could return home and resume their normal lives.

The community leaders named some of the 25 affected villages to include Azer, Tamen Bature, Dooga, Che Utsaha, Nyam Adaga, Cha, Igbacha, Shatse, Ngur and Nguchi.

Gunmen kill cop, resident in Benue

Two separate attacks on communities in the troubled Logo and Guma local government areas of Benue State have left two persons dead, including a policeman, while many others are missing

The first incident, according to sources, occurred at Anyiin community in the Logo LGA when suspected herdsmen on Saturday attacked and killed a trader, identified as Abuchi, believed to be of Igbo origin.

It was gathered that the gunmen, suspected to be Fulani militia, opened fire on Igbo traders who were coming back from a local market around 6pm, killing Abuchi and injuring others.

A resident of Anyiin, Terkaa Tim, said Abuchi was a popular Igbo trader in the area.

According to him, the attack which led to his death took place along Gbeji-Anyiin Road.

He said the victim’s remains were recovered by the police near Ayoo Udu village.

Our correspondent further learnt that following the attack, the Igbo people in Benue threatened a showdown.

Although efforts to reach the President of the Igbo Community in Benue State were unsuccessful as of press time, a friend of the victim,  Chima Wanchukwu, lamented the action of the herdsmen.

But the state Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, said he was not aware of the incident in Logo.

He said the only report on his table was from Tarka, where a man and his family, who were travelling to Calabar, were attacked by bandits while they were changing their vehicle’s flat tyre.

“The family’s car had a flat tyre around the Police Training School in Tarka; and while he was changing the tyre, he was attacked by bandits, but they managed to escape unhurt into the college.

“I am not aware of the killing of an Igbo man in Logo, but we have decided to provide escorts for the man and his family to their destination,” Owoseni said.

In a related development, the team deployed by the state police command in Yogbo community in the Guma LGA came under attack on Sunday.

The state Police Relations Officer, ASP Moses Yamu, who confirmed the attack, said the police team responded and engaged the gunmen in a shootout, which led to the killing of three of the gunmen.

He added that their corpses were taken away by their fleeing members, who “also suffered severe gunshot injuries.”

Yamu stated that the command lost one officer, while another one had yet to be seen.

The PPRO said, “The police are intensifying efforts with the aim of curbing armed attacks and apprehending criminal elements using tribal sentiment to cause mayhem.

“The command will also ensure adequate security to encourage residents to return to areas hitherto deserted.”

Declare herdsmen terrorists –Seadogs

The Nigerian Association of Seadogs, also known as Pyrates, has called on the Federal Government to declare and treat herdsmen in the country as terrorists.

The group explained that declaring cattle herders in Nigeria terrorists had become imperative following their activities that had led to the death of scores of  Nigerians.

NAS President, Arthur Boje, who made the call during a medical outreach organised by the association at Oro-Ochiri community in Rebisi town, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, said herdsmen were also responsible for the sacking of some communities in the country.

The medical outreach was part of the association’s programme to mark its Quarter 2 Pyrates Working Committee meeting.

Boje said, “We are not happy with the killings going on in parts of the country. There is no way you will be satisfied when your brothers and sisters are killed senselessly and the government is not doing enough to save the situation.

“What those herdsmen are doing is orchestrated. It is tactically planned. These are people that have infiltrated into the country, aided by some people on the ground and also sponsored by people here.

“They are terrorists and the Federal Government should treat them as such. They are not herdsmen; they are professional killers brought from outside into the country to cause havoc.”   (Punch)

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Herdsmen killings: We Are Middle Belt Not North Central, Says Dr Wayas |RN

Felix Ikem, Nsukka

Against the backdrop of the incessant killings of indigenes of Benue state by suspected Fulani herdsmen, one of the leaders of thought in the state, Dr. David Wayas, has demanded that the state be removed from North Central geopolitical designation.

In a chat with Daily Sun in Nsukka, he explained that the time had come for the federal government to remove Benue state from North Central geopolitical designation, since the state has more common with the south-east and south-south zones than the northern part of the country.

Giving his reasoning, Dr. Wayas said:

“We are middle belt and should be so called. Benue state people voted massively for Buhari and expected that there will be peace in this country. But what we see is a different thing. So, we cannot answer that name, north central, because we are middle-belters. Our brothers are treating us like middle-belters and so, we cannot answer north central.”

“Our people are in pain. That’s why some of us in academics are speaking out against this condemnable act. Many of them have lost dear ones, valued property and farms. You know the state is the food basket of this nation and with the situation, we will suffer it sooner than later.

In his words, “what is going on in Benue state is a calculated design by those who feel that Benue state is a problem. Those who are carrying out this heinous act are known to the state, but the state is incapacitated to act.”

Dr. Wayas who is also a principal member of Concerned Benue Indigenes Resident in Eastern Nigeria, and also a lecturer at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, called on the International community to come to the
rescue of the state so as to avoid total annihilation of the state by the Fulani herdsmen.

“We are calling on the international community to come to our rescue from the deadly clutches of these Fulani herdsmen who are killing our people. We cannot continue to die like this. Something has to be done about this.

Dr. Wayas called on his people to remain calm and desist from taking to violence in retaliation.   (The Sun)

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Benue Killings: Only Justice Can Make Me Keep Quiet – Ortom |The Republican News

• Confirms policeman, farmer killed in fresh herdsmen attack in Guma

Rose EjembiMakurdi

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has asked those who are complaining that he is talking too much about the killing of his people by suspected herdsmen to give him justice,  vowing that only justice can make him keep quiet on the matter.

This is even as the Governor confirmed that two persons including a policeman were killed and several others  missing after herdsmen attacked Guma Local Government area of the state between Wednesday and early hours of Thursday.

He said: “People who are saying that I am talking too much should give me justice and I will keep quiet. These people are not just grazing but are coming to take over our land. And they want me to keep quiet. How can I keep quiet? As long as there is no justice, I will continue to shout, talk and sing.”

The Governor who played host to former Governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso at the government House in Makurdi yesterday disclosed that, “as I talk to you, Benue is still under siege. Even security agents that were sent are being killed by these people. Only yesterday, somebody from my local government was slaughtered and burnt. That is the new dimension to the killings.”

Ortom who lamented that the attack was happening at the time the farmers were harvesting their crops maintained that the onslaught was not just about land for grazing but a coordinated attack to impoverish the people and ensure that the state did not live up to its name as the food basket of the nation.

“Benue remains the food basket of the nation. This is happening at a time the farmers are harvesting their crops. We look forward that the resolution of the senate would be implemented. These people are not just grazing but are coming to take over our land,” Ortom noted.

Earlier, Senator Kwankwaso who led members of his Kwankwasiya Foundation to pay a condolence visit to the government and people of Benue condemned the January 1 attack in which over 70 people were killed.

“We are here to condole with the government and entire people of the state over the loss of 73 people. I join the good people of the country to condemn those who perpetuated the killings and similar acts in Nasarawa, Taraba, Adamawa and other states of the country. I believe it’s time leaders join hands to condemn the act and ensure such acts doesn’t happen again in the country,” the governor said.

Kwankwaso who also announced a donation of 1,200 bags of rice to the over 80,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) who are now placed in six camps in the state urged the federal government and security agencies to ensure that the unwarranted killings across the country is stopped.   (The Sun)

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Fulani Herdsmen Killings: FG Cautions Against Incendiary Comments, Images |RN

 

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Minster of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

The Federal Government has appealed to the media and public commentators to exercise utmost restraint in their coverage of the fallouts of the recent farmers/herders’ clash in Benue.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who made the appeal in a statement in Abuja on Saturday, cautioned against “incendiary comments, unrestrained use of pictures and footages that offended human sensibilities” in the coverage of the crisis.

The Minister also cautioned against “finger pointing” that could exacerbate the situation and complicate ongoing efforts by the Federal Government to end the crisis

He stressed that the media and commentators should be cautious of their coverage in order not to further inflame passion and worsen the situation.

Mohammed said that the Government is working hard to address the situation with a view to preventing a recurrence, not just in Benue State but everywhere across the country.

”Lest we are misunderstood, we are neither saying the media should not cover the crisis nor asking public commentators to desist from commenting on it.

“All we are saying is that both must be circumspect.

”The current poisoned atmosphere of incendiary comments, unrestrained use of pictures and footages that offend human sensibilities as well as finger pointing can only exacerbate the situation and complicate ongoing efforts to end the crisis,” he said.

The Minister said that the Government was saddened by the loss of lives and the destruction of property resulting from the crisis.

He recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari, in commiserating with the Benue Governor, unreservedly condemned the killings.

He said the President had also assured of the necessary security measures to prevent further attacks and bring the perpetrators to book.

Mohammed said the Government had mapped out short and long-term solutions to the incessant clashes, including a planned conference of stakeholders.

He assured of the government’s strong determination to find a lasting solution to the farmers/herders’ clashes.  (NAN)

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Mass Murder By Herdsmen: Soyinka Blasts FG, Death Toll In Taraba Rises |RN

Wole-Soyinka
                                  Prof. Wole Soyinka

Gbenga Adeniji, Adelani Adepegba,  Olaleye Aluko and  Justin Tyopuusu

Renowned playwright, Prof. Wole Soyinka, says the Federal Government is responsible for the wanton killings perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen in the country.

Soyinka in a statement on Wednesday titled, ‘Holy Cow: Impunity Rides Again,’ said the government was “looking the other way” as the herdsmen went on the rampage across the country.

He said, “Yes, indeed the government is culpable, definitely guilty of “looking the other way. Indeed, it must be held complicit.”

The Nobel laureate said history was repeating itself with the herdsmen’s case, recalling that Boko Haram was still at that stage of “putative probes when cries of alarm emerged.”

Soyinka said, “Boko Haram was a product of social inequities, they preached – one even chortled: ‘We stand for justice, so we are all Boko Haram!’  We warned that – yes indeed – the inequities of society were indeed part of the story, but why do you close your eyes against other, and more critical malfunctions of the human mind, such as theocratic lunacy? Now it is happening again. The nation is being smothered in Vaseline when the diagnosis is so clearly – cancer!

“We have been here before – now, ‘before’ is back with a vengeance. President Goodluck Jonathan refused to accept that marauders had carried off the nation’s daughters; President Muhammed Buhari and his government – including his Inspector-General of Police – in near identical denial, appear to believe that killer herdsmen who strike again and again at will from one corner of the nation to the other, are merely hot-tempered citizens whose scraps occasionally degenerate into communal clashes – I believe I have summarised him accurately. The marauders are naughty children who can be admonished, paternalistically, into good neighbourly conduct.

“Sometimes of course, the killers were also said to be non-Nigerians after all. The contradictions are mind-boggling.’’

The acclaimed writer recalled that a more hideous massacre was perpetrated by the group he termed Murder Incorporated during a peace meeting in Benue in 2016, describing the development as a climax to what had been a series across a number of Middle Belt and neighbouring states, with Benue taking the brunt of the butchery.

He noted that the peace meeting attended by the state government and security agencies, including the Inspector-General of Police, also had the herdsmen in attendance.

He added, “They freely admitted the killings but justified them by claims that they had lost their cattle to the host community. It is important to emphasise that none of their spokesmen referred to any government neglect, such as refusal to pay subsidy for their cows or failure to accord them the same facilities that had been extended to cassava or millet farmers. Such are the monstrous beginnings of the culture of impunity. We are reaping, yet again, the consequences of such tolerance of the intolerable.’’

Warning against what he described as the ‘‘enervating lure of appeasement in face of aggression and will to dominate,’’ the playwright also drew attention to Volume III of his Interventions Series, and to the chapter on ‘The Unappeasable Price of Appeasement.’

Soyinka said, “There is little to add, but it does appear that even the tragically fulfilled warnings of the past leave no impression on leadership, not even when identical signs of impending cardiac arrest loom over the nation.’’

He recalled that the first active policy of appeasement and the language of endorsement came when Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, on assuming office, proudly said he had raised a peace committee and successfully traced the herdsmen to locations outside Nigerian borders.

Soyinka added that the governor said he made payments to them from state coffers to cure them of their homicidal urge which, according to the herdsmen, were reprisals for some ancient history and the loss of cattle through rustling.

He said, “The public was up in arms against this astonishing revelation. I could only call to mind a statement by the same el-Rufai after a prior election which led to a rampage in parts of the nation, and cost even the lives of National Youth Service Corps members. They were hunted down by aggrieved mobs and even states had to organise rescue missions for their citizens. Countering protests that the nation owed a special duty of protection to her youth, especially those who are co-opted to serve the nation in any capacity, El Rufai’s comment then was: No life is more important than another. Today, that statement needs to be adjusted, to read perhaps – apologies to George Orwell: “All lives are equal, but a cow’s is more equal than others.”

Disclosing that though he called on the government a week ago to stop passing the buck over the fuel crisis, Soyinka stated that he never intended that a reverse policy should lead to exonerating – or appearing to exonerate mass killers, rapists and economic saboteurs.

According to him, the conduct of the saboteurs subverts the efforts of others to economically secure their own existence and drives other producers off their land in fear and terror.

“This promises the same plague of starvation that afflicts zones of conflict all over this continent where liberally sown landmines prevent farmers from venturing near their prime source, the farm, often their only source of livelihood, and has created a whole population of amputees. At least, those victims in Angola, Mozambique and other former war theatres, mostly lived to tell the tale. These herdsmen, arrogant and unconscionable, have adopted a scorched-earth policy, so that those other producers – the cassava, cocoa, sorghum, rice farmers are brutally expelled from farm and dwelling.

“Government neglect? You may not have intended it, but you made it sound like the full story. I applaud the plans of your ministry, I am in a position to know that much thought – and practical steps – have gone into long term plans for bringing about the creation of ‘ranches’, ‘colonies’ – whatever the name – including the special cultivation of fodder for animal feed and so on and on. However, the present national outrage is over impunity. It rejects the right of any set of people, for whatever reason, to take arms against their fellow men and women, to acknowledge their exploits in boastful and justifying accents and, in effect, promise more of the same as long as their terms and demands are not met. In plain language, they have declared war against the nation, and their weapon is undiluted terror. Why have they been permitted to become a menace to the rest of us? That is the issue!”

Soyinka said he was unaware that the Indigenous People of Biafra came anywhere close to the Fulani herdsmen’s homicidal propensity and will to dominate before it was declared a terrorist organisation.

He said, “How do we categorise Miyetti? How do we assess a mental state that cannot distinguish between a stolen cow – which is always recoverable – and human life, which is not? Villages have been depopulated far wider than those outside their operational zones can conceive. They swoop on sleeping settlements, kill and strut. They glory in their seeming supremacy.

“These crimes are treated like the norm. Once again, the nation is being massaged by specious rationalisations while the rampage intensifies and the spread spirals out of control. When we open the dailies tomorrow morning (today), there is certain to have been a new body count, to be followed by the arrogant justification of the Miyetti Allah.”

Saying that President Goodluck Jonathan only saw ‘ghosts’ when Boko Haram was already excising swathes of territory from the nation space and abducting school pupils, he added that the ghosts of Jonathan seemed poised to haunt the tenure of President Muhammed Buhari.

Residents put Taraba’s death toll at 56

Residents said the death toll from the killing of people of Taraba communities by Fulani herdsmen have risen to 56 on Wednesday, as survivors continued to recount tales of sorrows.

Some armed Fulani herdsmen had on Friday and Saturday attacked many communities in the Lau Local Government Area of the state, including Donaddo, Lavoro, Katibu, Didango and Maku, leaving blood in their trail.

The attack in Lau villages came barely 24 hours after suspected herdsmen killed a family of five and seven others in the Wukari and Gassol local government areas of the state.

The residents of the affected communities in Lau LGA said the death toll in the attack had hit 56 persons, mostly children and women, while over 200 houses were recorded to have been burnt.

They called on the Federal Government to declare Fulani herdsmen a terror group, just as 29 of the victims killed in the attacks on Donaddo, Lavoro, Katibu, Didango and Maku communities in the Lau LGA were on Wednesday given a mass burial in Katibu and Didango.

The affected communities on Wednesday remained deserted as residents had fled; and it was gathered that only security personnel deployed in the area were visible.

One of the affected residents, Mr. Sani Marafa, who said six of his relations were among those given the mass burial, added that the attackers were over 100.

“They attacked us at about 3pm on Friday and Saturday, killing people and setting them on fire. Six of my relations are among the victims. I almost could not recognise my relations after the killer Fulani attack my village

“The government must deploy soldiers in Taraba immediately to contain this situation. The attackers were well armed and I don’t think the police have the capacity to deal with them.

“As I speak to you, all our houses, foodstuffs and other valuable items have been destroyed. Many families here are passing through serious trauma,” he said.

Another resident of one of the attacked communities, Mrs. Paulina Habila, a mother of four, said apart from killing her husband, the Fulani herdsmen made her homeless.

She said, “The Federal Government have failed to protect us here. My husband was slaughtered like a goat by the Fulani men who invaded our village. They killed over 35 people in our village alone and razed the entire community.”

Another victim of the attack, Pastor Titus Makovini, said, “The killers came into the community church and they slaughtered some worshipers, while others fled.

“The security personnel failed to protect us for the two days that the attackers laid siege to our communities.”

A survivor of the attack, who gave her name simply as Joy, said she escaped death by a whisker when the armed herdsmen struck.

Joy, who lamented the death of her 69-year-old mother and other relations in the attack, said, “The Federal Government must find a lasting solution to this senseless and mindless killing of innocent people by rampaging herdsmen.”

However, the state Police Public Relations Officer, ASP David Misal, said 12 people were killed during the attack on the communities.

“The attack happened on Friday and Saturday, but because the attackers were still laying siege to the communities, bodies of the dead could not be recovered and buried until we provided security for them to do so.

“Our men are currently on the ground in the area and the situation is now under control,” he said.

On his part, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Mr. Bala Abu, told our correspondent that 29 corpses were recovered from burnt houses, bush paths and nearby farms where the victims tried to hide from the killer Fulani herdsmen.

“It is really a disturbing sight. A combined team of armed soldiers and policemen have to provide security cover for the villagers to enable them conduct the funeral rites for the dead,” he added.

The Permanent Secretary, Taraba State Emergency Management Agency, Mr. Nulvaga Danhabu, said the state government had provided relief materials to the Internally Displaced Persons who fled the areas for safety.

“The IDPs from the Lau crisis are currently camping in Kufai, Mayo Dassa and the Federal Character Commission office in Jalingo, Mayo-Lope and Abari Lau. In the days ahead, we will see what we can do to alleviate their sufferings,” he said.

Killings going on in Benue despite IG presence –Group

A group, Community Development Coalition, has raised the alarm that Fulani herdsmen are still carrying out killings in the Guma and Logo local government areas of Benue State.

The group added that the atrocities were occurring despite the deployment of police operatives and soldiers and the relocation of the Inspector-General of Police, Idris Ibrahim, to the state.

The CDC Convener, Prof. Yima Sen, told journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, that he had visited the affected communities and was informed that attacks by the herdsmen had not abated.

Continued from page 7Sen noted that the security forces on the ground had been unable to stop the bloodshed across the state.

“I left the crisis area about five hours ago and from my consultations with the people, killings are still going on. I am not satisfied with the security situation; I have also consulted with the people and they are not satisfied with the situation,” he said.

The CDC said it would do all that was legally possible to ensure the full implementation of the Benue State Anti-open Grazing Prohibition Law.

It said it would also facilitate “the emergence of a robust, reliable and sustainable community-driven security system.”

The group rejected the proposed cattle colonies for herdsmen by the Federal Government, insisting that no inch of Benue land would be given out to the herdsmen.

Sen said, “We can’t be colonised by the Fulani; they can ranch, but if anyone is talking about cattle colonies, they should find another location, not Benue.”

The CDC convener accused President Muhammadu Buhari of turning a blind eye to the atrocities of the herdsmen.

He said, “We are left with no option than to conclude that the President, who by the way is the grand patron of Miyetti Allah, has turned a blind eye and is bent on keeping deaf ears to these atrocities.”

A former Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprise, Bernard Verr, argued that the open grazing of cattle constituted a danger to the nation’s agriculture, food security and the economic diversification programme of the government.

When asked about the reported killings, the state Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama, said he was not aware, adding that the CDC should furnish him with  the names of the communities so he could ascertain the claims.

DHQ coordinates  response to Benue killings

The Defence Headquarters, Abuja, is coordinating the deployment of more ground and air troops to curb the crises in parts of Benue State, sources told our correspondent on Wednesday.

Although the DHQ had yet to make any official statement, our correspondent learnt that more troops had joined in the operation going by the “orders from above.”

It was learnt that the army had detailed troops from the 93 Battalion, Takum, Taraba State, and the 72 Special Forces Battalion, Makurdi, Benue State, while the air force is deploying assets from the Tactical Command, Nigerian Air Force, Makurdi.

The source said, “It is the Defence Headquarters that is coordinating the response to the Benue crisis. The army and the air force have deployed men in the troubled areas. I cannot give you the number of the troops because they are drawn from bases in the region.

“The figures of the armed gang members run into 100s. More arrests will still be made.” (Punch)

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