Over 100 Security Operatives Killed While Enforcing Benue Anti-Grazing Law – Ortom

One hundred security operatives have so far lost their lives in the course of enforcing the Benue State Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranching Establishment Law of 2017.

Governor Samuel Ortom disclosed on Tuesday in Makurdi, the state capital, while receiving the new Commissioner of Police, Mr Tunji Akingbola.

He further stated that the perceived failure of the Federal Government to come down hard on foreign Fulani herdsmen bearing weapons poses security threats to the lives and safety of security forces and Nigerians in general.

File photo of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom

“Why do we need to allow Fulani from all these countries to come and destroy our land? That is the point we are saying. They have given unnecessary stress and risks to our security agencies in Nigeria.

“I say more than 100 security men have been killed in the course of providing security for lives and properties in Benue State in the course of implementing this our law.”

According to the governor, the affected victims include personnel of the army, police, Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

READ ALSO: Miyetti Allah Asks FG To ‘Stop Governors From Enacting Anti-Open Grazing Laws’

He commended security agencies for putting in their best in safeguarding lives in the state, especially as it regards tackling the killings from herdsmen.

Citing the law, Ortom explained that the Constitution empowers states to enact laws as long as it does not conflict with those existing laws in the country.

The Benue governor also took a swipe at the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) for challenging state governments over the anti-open grazing laws in their respective domains.

“Tell me why Miyetti Allah, a terrorist organisation who has taken responsibility for killings will come to challenge governors that laws shouldn’t have been made.

“We have not committed any evil, we have done the right thing by ensuring we are law-abiding. That was why we legislated and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides that we are free to make laws as a state as long as it does not conflict with the provision of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Ortom stated further.

‘Satanic, Obnoxious Law’

While the 17 governors from the southern region under the umbrella of the Southern Governors Forum announced a ban on open grazing of cattle across states in the region, MACBAN kicked against the move.

The association accused the governors of depriving pastoralists means of livelihood, calling on the Federal Government to stop them from enacting the anti-open grazing law.

MACBAN Secretary-General, Saleh Alhassan who spoke on Monday during a press conference in Abuja, said the law would undermine the relative peace and stability currently enjoyed in the local communities, threaten the social order and exacerbate cattle rustling.

“The National Assembly and Mr President should intervene and stop the current attempts by some state governments to criminalise our means of livelihood of cattle-rearing through enacting of satanic and obnoxious laws they call Anti-Grazing Law,” he noted.

“The Federal Government should create a ministry for livestock and fisheries as obtainable in many African countries. Nigerians should adopt strategies in responding to changes of climate change as it affects livestock production not negative laws.”

Alhassan noted that anti-open grazing laws would destroy livestock production and send millions who depend on the livestock value chain into poverty.

Ortom: Even Though Benue Has Over 1.5 Million IDPs, Attacks Have Continued

 

Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has lamented the spate of attacks in the state, saying that as a result of the insecurity, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) keep increasing.

Addressing journalists in the Ortese area of the state on Tuesday, Ortom said between 2018 and now, IDPs have increased from 500 to over 1.5 million.

“I never envisaged that we will have 500 IDPs and then it will rise to over 1.5 million and we are still counting. As at last week, there were still attacks,” he said.

“These Fulani bandits have continued to kill our people and even those that attempted to go to their villages were killed.”

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom

 

Noting that the state government is constrained financially, the governor lamented that it has become extremely difficult to meet the needs of displaced people in the state.

READ ALSO: Robbers Attack Bullion Van In Ondo, Shoot Policeman

He, however, said both the local and state governments provide food items on a weekly basis to the people staying in Ortese camp

According to him, the state government will provide additional relief materials.

As part of efforts to alleviate the suffering of the IDPs, the governor also disclosed that his wife is launching a programme to provide health services to the displaced persons.

Benue Govt Closes Case Against Lecturer Over Death Of Ochanya

A photo showing the map of Benue, a state in North-Central Nigeria.
An image showing the map of Benue, a state in North-Central Nigeria.

 

After calling eight witnesses, the Benue State Government on Wednesday closed its prosecution of a suspended senior lecturer at the Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, Andrew Ogbuja who was alleged to have raped to death 13-year-old girl, Ochanya Ogbanje. 

Mr Ogbuja’s son, Victor, who is now at large, is a second suspect in the case but the police are yet to arrest him or even declare him wanted.

The government had on October 10, 2019, arraigned Mr Ogbuja, a 57-year-old, before a Makurdi High Court on a four-count charge bordering on rape and murder of Miss Ogbanje.

At Wednesday’s proceedings, the Director of Public Prosecution in the State, Peter Ukande, led the eighth witness, a photojournalist in his evidence in chief.

READ ALSO: Court Restrains DSS, AGF From Arresting Sunday Igboho, Blocking His Bank Accounts

Earlier, a video cassette was played before the court, where the late Ochanya said Mr Ogbuja and his fugitive son, Victor, serially raped her until she fell ill and was admitted at the Federal Medical Centre in Makurdi for two months.

“My aunty’s (Felicia Ochiga-Ogbuja) son started sleeping with me, and after that, his father, (Andrew Ogbuja) started sleeping with me too. I Was sick and admitted at the Federal Medical Centre in Makurdi for two months,” Ochanya revealed in the video that was played before the court on Wednesday.

In his testimony, the journalist informed the trial judge, Justice Augustine Ityonyiman, that he interviewed the deceased teenager at the premises in August 2018 when Mr Ogbuja was first arraigned an Upper Area Court in Makurdi.

However, Mr Ogbuja’s lawyer, Abel Onoja, objected to the admissibility of the videocassette.

Mr Onoja argued that he was not properly served with a copy of the video recording, querying the mode of service of the evidence.

But upon an appeal by the trial judge to both lawyers in the suit for an accelerated hearing, the defendant’s counsel withdrew his objection, paving the way for the judge to admit the piece of evidence.

“The video cassette tendered is hereby admitted as Exhibit F,” Justice Ityonyiman said.

Subsequently, the prosecuting lawyer, Mr Ukande closed the state government’s case against Mr Ogbuja.

In his reaction, Mr Ogbuja’s lawyer sought an adjournment to enable his client to prepare for his defence.

Thereafter, Justice Ityonyiman adjourned the case till October 8, 2021, for the defendant to commence his defence.

Ochanya died on October 17, 2018 from alleged complications said to have resulted from her prolonged rape by the father and his fugitive son.

It would be recalled that the prosecution called a total of eight witnesses comprising medical experts, family members of the deceased teenager and police officers who investigated the case.

“We called a total of eight witnesses comprising medical experts, police officers, family members and we tendered medical reports and statements of witnesses before closing our case today,” the DPP told journalists shortly after Wednesday’s proceedings in Makurdi.

Police Kill One Suspected Kidnapper, Arrest Two Others In Benue

A photo showing the map of Benue, a state in North-Central Nigeria.
An image showing the map of Benue, a state in North-Central Nigeria.

 

The police authorities in Benue State have arrested a suspected kidnapper and arrested two others during a gun duel.

Police spokesman, DSP Sewuese Anene said the kidnapper died at the hospital from injuries sustained during the fire exchange, warning that the police will continue to root out all criminal elements.

The suspects were said to have abducted a businessman, Peter Ogbonna from his retail shop in Ugba, Logo Local Government Area of the state on July 29.

However, rescue came for the victim last Thursday after men of Operation Zenda engaged the gunmen in a gun battle before they were subdued and arrested.

“Today 4/8/21, information was received that gunman who kidnapped Mr Peter Ogbonna of Ugba town were in a hideout at Tse Atoov, Alabaar, Logo local government, the operatives swung into action and invaded the hideout,” the statement partly read.

“On sighting the police, suspects engaged them in an exchange of fire, but the police were able to subdue them, three of the suspects were arrested at the scene.

“One of them sustained gunshot injuries, was rushed to hospital where he was confirmed dead and the corpse has been deposited in the morgue, while two of them identified as; Yakyuur Aondona and Teryange Miyina are currently undergoing interrogation.”

See the full statement issued by the police below:

RESCUE OF KIDNAP VICTIMS AND ARREST OF SUSPECTED KIDNAPPERS.

Still on the ongoing operation to clamp down on kidnappers in the state, police operatives from Operation Zenda crack squad extended their work to Logo Local Government Area.

2.Today,  4/8/2021 information was received that gunmen who kidnapped Mr.  Peter Ogbonna of Ugba town were in a hideout at Tse-Atoov,  Alabar, Logo LGA, the operatives quickly swung into action by invading the hideout. On sighting the police, suspects engaged them in an exchange of fire but the police were able to subdue the and three (3) of the suspects were arrested  at the scene. One of them sustained gunshot injuries, was confirmed dead at the hospital and corpse has been deposited at the morgue while two of them identified as Yakyuur Aondona and Teryange Myina were arrested and are currently undergoing interrogation.

  1. The victim was rescued unhurt and has been reunited with his family.
  2. One fabricated barretta pistol with four rounds of live ammunition were recovered from them.

5.Cordon and search  operation is going to arrest fleeing suspects with gunshot wounds meanwhile, members of the public with useful information about the whereabout of these suspects are advised to quickly inform the police for necessary action please.

DSP. ANENE SEWUESE CATHERINE

POLICE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER,

FOR:

COMMISSIONER OF POLICE

BENUE STATE COMMAND

Police Rescue Kidnap Victim In Benue, Reunites Him With His Family

Five Robbery Attacks Foiled, 12 People Rescued In March – Lagos Govt
File Photo of a police van

 

The Police in Benue State have rescued a kidnapped victim and reunited him with his family.

This was contained in a statement by the Police Public Relations Officer of the Benue State Command, DSP Anene Catherine.

It says, “Today, 4/8/2021 information was received that gunmen who kidnapped Mr. Peter Ogbonna of Ugba town were in a hideout at Tse-Atoov, Alabar, Logo LGA, the operatives quickly swung into action by invading the hideout.

“On sighting the police, suspects engaged them in an exchange of fire but the police were able to subdue the, and three of the suspects were arrested at the scene”.

The command’s spokesman explained that one of them who sustained gunshot injuries, was confirmed dead at the hospital and the corpse has been deposited at the morgue while two of them identified as Yakyuur Aondona and Teryange Myina were arrested and are currently undergoing interrogation.

DSP Catherine noted that the victim was rescued unhurt and has been reunited with his family, adding that one fabricated Barretta pistol with four rounds of live ammunition was recovered from them.

According to the spokesman, the search operation has commenced arresting the fleeing suspects, while the members of the public have been asked to provide the police with any useful information.

 

Police Rescue Wife Of Benue Commissioner, Kill Three Kidnappers

The wife of Commissioner for Land and Survey in Benue State, Bernard Unenge.

 

Men of the Police Elite Squad Operation Zenda in Benue State on Monday rescued the wife of the Commissioner for Lands and Survey, Mrs. Ann Unenge.

During the rescue operation, three kidnappers were killed by the police.

Mrs. Unenge was kidnapped on Saturday.

Governor Samuel Ortom who received the rescued victim in the company of her husband, Mr. Bernard Unenge, warned all local collaborators of the kidnap syndicates to desist from the act or face a similar fate like three of the kidnappers who were killed by the police during the rescue operation at Agber village, a suburb of the state capital.

Governor Ortom commended the police for their gallantry and professionalism in the operation without paying any ransom to the kidnappers while urging the team to ensure the arrest of the fleeing members of the gang with a directive to demolish the property used by the kidnappers immediately.

On Saturday Governor Ortom had called on the Federal Government to clamp down on bandits and kidnappers.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Kidnap Benue Commissioner’s Wife, Ortom Reacts

He expressed concerns over the growing cases of kidnapping and other organised crimes across the country, asking the Federal Government to take on them heads-on.

He assured that all hands will be on deck to ensure the release of the victim.

“We are working together with the security agencies. You don’t just review security matters sometimes because you will be exposing the victim,” Governor Ortom said.

“Throughout yesterday night and today, my security adviser is here and we are working with some conventional and unconventional security, they will be released.”

Governor Ortom also expressed optimism that the nation would surmount all her security challenges.

Gunmen Kidnap Benue Commissioner’s Wife, Ortom Reacts

The wife of Commissioner for Land and Survey in Benue State, Bernard Unenge.

 

Gunmen have abducted the wife of a Commissioner for Land and Survey in Benue State, Bernard Unenge.

Briefing journalists on Saturday in Makurdi, Governor Samuel Ortom said Anne Unenge was whisked away on Friday.

He called on the Federal Government to as a matter of justice, clamp down hard on bandits and kidnap syndicates of armed herdsmen just as it has done with separatists leaders – Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho.

The governor also assured that all hands are on the deck to rescue her, as both conventional security and local vigilantes groups have been dispatched to track the abductors.

He expressed concerns over the growing cases of kidnapping and other organised crime across the country, asking the Federal Government to take on them heads-on.

READ ALSO: Police Kill Two Bandits Who Attempted To Attack Town In Imo

“We are working together with the security agencies. You don’t just review security matters sometimes because you will be exposing the victim,” Governor Ortom said.

“Throughout yesterday night and today, my security adviser is here and we are working with some conventional and unconventional security, they will be released.”

Governor Ortom also expressed optimism that the nation would surmount all her security challenges.

Meanwhile, the abductors of the commissioner’s wife have contacted the family to demand ₦50 million.

An aide to the commissioner who disclosed the development said the kidnappers established contact with the family.

 

Suspected Herdsmen Kill Two Aide Workers, Volunteer In Benue

A photo showing the map of Benue, a state in North-Central Nigeria.
An image showing the map of Benue, a state in North-Central Nigeria.

 

Suspected herdsmen have killed two aide workers and a volunteer for 360HSCD, a non governmental organizations working on HIV/AID testing and counseling in Benue state.

The aid workers had been on routine weekend supervision at Tomanyi village in Guma LGA of Benue state.

This is according to local sources who called the telephone lines of the aide workers upon learning of their abduction by suspected herdsmen.

The herdsmen who answered the call, according to the sources, confirmed the killings and insisted that such will continue until Governor Samuel Ortom responds to their demand to repeal the prohibition of open grazing in Benue state.

The state had passed a law banning open grazing in favour of ranching in 2017.

As of Monday morning, Channels Television can confirm that eight corpses have been recovered from Tomanyi village by security forces, accompanied by youths from the area.

However, police spokesperson in Benue, DSP Sewuese Anene, said she was yet unable to confirm the attack.

‘Ban On Open Grazing Has Come To Stay In Benue’: Cultural Groups Back Ortom

A file photo of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom
A file photo of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom

 

The three major socio-cultural organisations of the Tiv, Idoma and Igede ethnic groups in Benue State have backed the law banning open grazing in the state.

Speaking on behalf of the three groups at a press conference held on Saturday, the President of Mzough U-Tiv, Mr Iorbee Ihagh also expressed confidence in Governor Samuel Ortom’s insistence on ranching as an alternative to open grazing.

Governor Ortom signed the bill banning open grazing in Benue into law in 2017 amid constant, violent clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the state.

He has since advocated for ranching as an alternative to open grazing.

However, Fulani cattle rearing groups such as the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore have voiced their dissent against the law.

President Muhammadu Buhari has also recently suggested the reopening of cattle grazing routes.

Mr Ihagh, at the Saturday press conference, said Governor Ortom has the mandate of the people to speak and uphold the law banning open grazing, hence any attack on him, means war on the people of the state.

“An attack on Governor Ortom is an attack on Benue people,” he said. “And I want to tell you, anti-open grazing has come to stay in Benue state. There is nothing nobody can do about it.

“The Miyetti Allah sits in Abuja and says anything, sadly. They are seen with AK-47; but if Agatu man takes knife just to cut grass, he is arrested. I mean, we are in the same country.

“As far as we are concerned, there are not many who would have done what Ortom has done in terms of these herdsmen. A lot of them would have been bought over. There’s no amount of money the herdsmen don’t have. How many people will risk their lives, as he has done? Not many people.”

Buhari Appoints Ex-APC Governorship Candidate As Shippers’ Council Executive Secretary

A file photo of Mr Emmanuel Jime. Source: Facebook.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Emmanuel Jime as the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC).

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.

According to him, the appointment of Jime is for a four-year tenure which is renewable.

“Mr Jime, who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Law, brings his wealth of experience to the new role having distinguished himself in several public offices.

“He was at a time Managing Director at the Nigeria Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA), a two-term member of the House of Representatives representing Makurdi/Guma Federal constituency in Benue State between 2007 and 2015, and Speaker of the State House of Assembly from 1992 to 1993,” said the statement.

Jime was the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue State in the 2019 general elections.

But the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared incumbent Governor Samuel Ortom of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the poll ahead of Jime and other contestants who participated.

Ortom had polled 434,473 votes in the March 23, 2019, election to beat Jime who got 345,155 votes – a margin of 89,318.

His emergence as the winner followed an unsettled election held two weeks earlier in which Ortom scored 410,576 votes ahead of Jime who had 329,022 votes.

But INEC declared it inconclusive because of the gap between the cancelled votes of 121,019 and the winning margin of 81,554 votes and later held a supplementary poll in 204 polling units across 22 Local Government Areas of Benue State.

In another statement, Shehu revealed that President Buhari has approved the constitution of the Board of Federal Housing Authority (FHA) for a period of three years, reappointing Senator Lawal Shuaibu (Zamfara State) as Chairman.

The appointment, according to him, takes into cognisance requisite competence, experience, and network in the housing industry to actualise the present administration’s vision of providing decent and affordable housing for Nigerians.

Other members of the Board are Modestus Umenzekwe (Anambra), Mumini Hanafi (Kwara), Adamu Dadi (Yobe), Adamu Ismaila (Adamawa) Zubairu S.N (Nasarawa), Chinyere Anokwuru (Abia), Yinka Ogunsulire (Ondo), Veronica Shinnaan (Plateau), Aleruchi Cookey-Gam (Rivers), and Olajumoke Akinwunmi (Ogun).

Insecurity: Address The Nation Now, ‘Concerned Benue Mothers’ Tell Buhari

 

A group of women known as Concerned Benue Mothers (CBM) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently address the nation and caution Fulani herdsmen to stop the killings.

The Benue Mothers who were drawn from the three Senatorial Districts of the state made the call on Monday while addressing journalists in Makurdi, the state capital.

While calling on President Buhari to cancel the planned imposition of grazing reserves on Nigerians, the group led by a former federal lawmaker, Rebecca Apedzan, called for a National Ranching Policy.

“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently address the nation and caution Fulani herdsmen to stop the killings. We know that if he makes the address directly to Fulanis and means every word of what he says, they will listen to him,” they said.

The group holds a press conference in Benue State on May 31, 2021, calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently address the killings across the country.

 

“The President should, as a matter of urgency, announce the cancellation of his plan to impose grazing reserves on Nigerians and instead evolve a National Ranching Policy.

“The Federal Government should also throw its weight behind Southern Governors’ Asaba declaration against open grazing.

“President Buhari should motivate security agencies and direct them to be professional and neutral in the discharge of their duties.”

See the full statement issued by the group below:

PRESIDENT BUHARI IS FOR SOMEBODY AND NOT FOR EVERYBODY

Being the text of press conference by Concerned Benue Mothers on Monday, May 31, 2021.

Protocol

Ladies and gentlemen of the press

We the Concerned Benue Mothers are here with very heavy hearts to address you on issues bothering us as a people, Benue State and Nigeria as a nation. As mothers of this state and the nation, we owe our children the duty to voice our feelings when we see things going wrong and those who should speak have chosen the path of silence.

We owe this country the duty to call its leaders to order and counsel them when it has become apparent that the leaders we elected are not doing what is right. We have no other country than Nigeria.

You are much aware of the worsening security situation in the country being perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen who have killed thousands of Benue people and in other states. You are equally aware of the attitude of the Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari who is not bothered to see women and children being killed daily by Fulani herdsmen. We are left with no other option than to conclude as many others have said, that the President is happy to watch his kinsmen turn Benue and other parts of the country into killing fields.

A few days ago, we woke up to the news that President Buhari has vowed to create grazing routes and establish grazing reserves in the 36 states of the country next month whether anyone likes it or not. His Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu was the one who announced the President’s decision. We are wondering if this is the same democracy that we all fought and got in 1999 leading to the emergence of Muhammadu Buhari as elected President in 2015. Has Mr President forgotten that this country is now being run by the Constitution and not decrees? What about the Land Use Act which vets all lands in State Governors? Has the Act been repealed? From where is President Buhari deriving his authority that he feels he can impose draconian and dictatorial policies on Nigerians and expect us to applaud him?

The other time, the Buhari Presidency introduced Cattle Colonies, it took the courage of patriotic Nigerians like Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom to rise and reject the conquest agenda. The President later dusted the programme and renamed it as Ruga, but again, our eagle-eyed Governor and other patriots saw through the veil and kicked against Ruga. The President reluctantly canceled the Ruga programme.

Today, the entire country is speaking with one voice in opposition to open grazing of cattle while embracing ranching which Benue has been leading the campaign since 2016. All Governors of Northern and Southern Nigeria have taken a unified stand to ban open grazing. Shockingly, President Buhari has come out to mock the Governors and is threatening to impose grazing reserves on the people of this country. The words of his Media Adviser, Femi Adesina last year that people should choose between holding unto their lands and death are still fresh in our minds.

 

This is unacceptable! Nigeria is not practicing despotism. Ours is a country structured on the principles of federalism and democracy. We did not vote a tyrant as President. We believed that we voted a man with the right experience and discipline who would will be for all of us and defend us not just his ethnic group. What crime did we commit by going out in large numbers under the Sun to vote for President Buhari that he has now chosen to reward our love with hatred and our ballots with bullets?

From all indications, President Muhammadu Buhari is for somebody and not for everybody, contrary to his words on May 29, 2015 when he took the oath of office.

We want Mr President to remember that our children and grand children also deserve a decent future; a future they will no longer be afraid to go to bed with the thought of being slaughtered by rampaging herders. The humanity and conscience in President Buhari should make him to think about the thousands of children whose parents were killed by herdsmen and are now in internally displaced persons camps for four years as orphans! Don’t such children deserve to live in a country they call their own? What about the hundreds of widows whose husbands were slaughtered by herders and thrown to the birds to feed? Don’t they deserve to return to their lonely homes to start life in the dehumanizing way?

At the last count, Benue had over one million displaced people!

We Concerned Benue Mothers Say No to Grazing Reserves and any similar policy that seeks to enslave our people and hand our lands to killer Fulani herdsmen!

We have also observed a disturbing trend where Fulani militia attack our people but the Federal Government comes out swiftly to absolve them of any blame. A recent example was when Governor Ortom was attacked on his farm by those who say that he is standing in their way to conquering Benue and other parts of Nigeria. The terror group known as Fulani Nationality Movement, FUNAM came out to claim responsibility of the attempt on the Governor’s life. Yet, the Nigerian Police Force exonerated the group. The police high command deployed an investigation team to Benue which confirmed the identities of the culprits as armed Fulani herdsmen. The police made arrests and took the suspects to Abuja only for the Inspector General of Police to go to Aso Villa a few days after and declare that those who wanted to kill Governor Ortom were not Fulani people! What a shame! This is condemnable. Is the Nigerian Police now a Fulani Police Force and no longer for the protection of all Nigerians?

OUR DEMANDS

 

We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently address the nation and caution Fulani herdsmen to stop the killings. We know that if he makes the address directly to Fulanis and means every word of what he says, they will listen to him.

The President should, as a matter of urgency, announce the cancellation of his plan to impose grazing reserves on Nigerians and instead evolve a National Ranching Policy.

The Federal Government should also throw its weight behind Southern Governors’ Asaba declaration against open grazing.

President Buhari should motivate security agencies and direct them to be professional and neutral in the discharge of their duties.

We also expect Mr President to call his appointees to order to stop assaulting the sensibilities of Nigerians. What the Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami said comparing the ban on open grazing with spare parts business was insensitive, condemnable and akin to fanning embers of crisis. The other aide of the President called Garba Shehu denigrates anyone who holds an opinion contrary to that of the Presidency. This is gross negation of the tenets of democracy. In democracies where government is of the people and for the people, leaders of such countries listen to constructive criticism in order to improve.

We call on the international community and lovers of peace across the world to show interest in what is happening in Nigeria, particularly in the Middle Belt region where killings of innocent people by herders have become a common sight.

Benue for instance, is the food basket of Nigeria and for many years, farmers have been displaced from their ancestral lands. The ugly scenario has resulted to food crises and is set to take a more dangerous dimension if not stopped now.

We expect the Federal Government to fulfill its promise to assist the Benue State Government in resettling the displaced people back to their homes. The longer the IDPs stay in the camps, the worse their plight will get.

We also want to urge our sons and daughters who are still sitting on the fence to wake up and speak against the evil being perpetrated in our land. This matter is not only about Governor Samuel Ortom. Benue sons home and abroad who think that they are not affected by the crisis must know that we are all casualties whether we are at home or not. They should raise their voices to condemn the injustice being visited on us. This is no time for politicking. They should send relief materials to those in IDP camps and also solicit the support of international donor organizations to come to the aid of our people.

Finally, we wish to call on Nigerians who love justice, peace and equity, to rise and condemn what is happening to the innocent people of Benue State. The killer herdsmen are still here with us. They have resorted to guerrilla warfare. They now attack our people in their sleep and leave their familiar trademark of death.

Enough is enough!

Thank you all and God bless Nigeria.

Signed:

 

 

 

 

 

Suspected Herdsmen Attack Benue Community, Kill Nine

 

Nine persons have been killed by suspected herdsmen, including the kindred head of Tse Ancha, Agan council ward, Makurdi Local Government Area on Saturday morning, just a few meters from the host community of Abangana IDP camp where seven people were killed about three weeks ago.

Although the police authorities are yet to issue an official statement on the killing, the Police Public Relations Officer for the Benue State Command,  Sewuese Anene, confirmed the attack via a text message.

Tse Ancha is a community located along the  Makurdi- Lafia federal highway and is less than a kilometer from Abagena Internally Displaced Person (IDPs) Camp, where suspected herdsmen attacked and killed seven persons, mostly inmates of the camp and members of the host community.

According to a resident of Tse Ancher and a journalist attached to the Benue state government house who does not want his name mentioned confirmed the attack to Channels Television.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Kidnap Varsity Official, Student, Two Others In Ogun

He said, “The attackers started their operation at Tse Ancha and almost penetrated down to my school before some Youths with local weapons like machete and arrows stopped them but they killed one person within the village at my school, in addition to the eight persons so far discovered at Tse Acha including the Kindred head Chief Uzua.”

The attack happened about 3 to 4 am on Saturday when the villagers were fast asleep.

The Chairman of Makurdi Local Government Council, Mister Anthony Dyegeh visited the scene of the incident and directed that the corpses and those injured be taken to the hospital.

While condemning the attacks on innocent people, Dyegeh called on various security agencies to stand up to their responsibility of securing the lives and properties of the citizens of the state.

Also, the Special Adviser to the Governor of Benue State on Security matters, Colonel Paul Hembah who accompanied the Chairman to the scene, called the people to stop relying on Federal security alone but stand up to defend themselves and their Lands.

He extended Governor Samuel Ortom’s condolences to the people and pray for peace to return in the state.

Also found at the scene of the attack at the break of dawn, was an ATM card bearing Audullayi Sabo and empty shells of bullets.