Residents of Dumne Community in Adamawa State are calling on the government to ensure that the attacks by herdsmen are brought to an end so they can return to their farms or face the danger of starvation.
Dumne community has been under attack by suspected herdsmen in Song Local Government of the state.
The peace of the residents was cut short following an attack that broke out between Fulani herdsmen and the farmers on February 4, 2018.
Live is gradually returning to normal as commercial activities have picked up as women are seen threshing groundnuts which are used in preparing the groundnut cakes, a popular delicacy in the area.
Following series of attacks, traditional rulers, elders, religious leaders and civil servants have gathered to find a peaceful means of resolving the conflict.
According to them, the conflicts are inevitable in life but depends on how they are resolved to lead stronger ties.
Also at the gathering, relief materials such as clothes and food items were given to the community leader for distribution to those affected by the attacks.
Since 2003 there have been clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Dumne.
But with the event, it is hoped that there will be a dialogue thereby peaceful coexistence will be achieved.
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has issued a directive for necessary arrangements to be made for another mass burial in the state.
The mass burial is planned to hold next week Friday, March 16.
The governor gave this directive on Tuesday during his visit to Omusu village. He described the attack as unfortunate and called for the arrest and prosecution of the herdsmen allegedly responsible for the attack on Omusu village in Okpokwu Local Government Area of the state which has left 24 people dead.
14 of the victims were women, two children while the search for more bodies has continued.
Governor Ortom during the visit to the village appealed to the community not to embark on reprisal attacks. Security agents have since been mobilised to forestall further attacks while the governor also called on the State Emergency Management Agency to immediately provide relief materials to persons displaced in the attack.
He reiterated his call for the arrest of the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore whom he alleged were sponsoring the suspected herdsmen militia.
The governor also visited Saint Mary’s Hospital Okpoga, where the injured persons were treated and proceeded to the General Hospital in the town where remains of the dead victims were deposited.
The Chairman of Okpokwu Local Government Council, Ogwuche Olofu said, the herdsmen had earlier reported an attack on them, alleging that some cows and two persons were missing.
According to him, while the allegations were being investigated, the herdsmen launched the reprisal attack on Okpokwu around 4:00 pm on Monday. This led to the death of twenty-four persons with many houses razed and scores injured.
One of the community leaders, Itodo Ojobo acknowledged the swift response of security agents to their distress call and appealed for assistance to enable family members to bury their dead and take care of those being treated in various hospitals.
“The Fulanis came and said we should vacate the Island because the Tiv’s do not want them to graze their cattle. So we should move out of the area because it is secured enough for them to stay and operate.
“Now we have moved out of that area, about five thousand Tiv people lived on the Island and since the invasion, we have been living with Mr John Kwuka on Ahmadu Bello way here in Makurdi,” Ortaver said.
One of the caregivers for the displaced farmers, Josephine Habba said he wondered how criminality persist in Benue State despite Exercise Cat Race by the military.
“You cannot say that we have operation Ayem Akpatuma in the state while these people have been displaced. They (the herdsmen) have the power to send them out. They did not kill. They came and chased them out and took over the place, I mean, that is conquering as far as am concerned,” Habba said.
Governor Ortom also conveyed the decision of the security council meeting to the displaced Mbatoho Island residents with directives to the State Emergency Management Agency to see to their welfare.
“We just came out of a security meeting today. The Mbatoho community attack and displacement by these mercenary herdsmen featured extensively and we have taken steps.
I believe that within the week the security agencies should swing into action and ensure we chase away all the killer herdsmen and mercenary herdsmen that invaded your land,” Ortom said.
Five thousand Mabtoho Island farmers from Makurdi local government, many of whom are nursing mothers, children and the elderly, are reportedly displaced after the invasion by herdsmen and are taking refuge in one of relations’ home in Makurdi.
Professor of Surgery at Abia State University Teaching Hospital, Charles Adisa, on Monday said herdsmen attacks can only be nipped in its bud, if grazing reserves for cattle are totally rejected, nationwide.
Adisa, who is also a researcher with a focus on herdsmen in Nigeria said on Channels Television Breakfast Programme, Sunrise Daily that most of the herdsmen are foreigners and not Nigerians and therefore the Federal Government need to take vital steps to deal with the issue of the attacks across the country.
“We say no to grazing reserves or routes or nomadism for several reasons. It conflicts with our constitution, the Land Use Act which vests the power of land ownership on the Governors and the Local Governments conflicts with Nigeria’s constitution. The Federal Government cannot grab community land for private use. Why deny the community their means of livelihood?” he questioned.
The researcher also suggested private ranching as a solution to open grazing of cattle across the country. He said this will prevent one-sided benefits of open grazing reserves for cattle only, and produce better beef and meat for consumption.
“Nigeria has over 400 ethnic groups, why should one group’s economic interest be more important than the other? What is sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander. If we must have grazing route and reserve for cattle, justice demands that we must have the same thing for dogs, pigs and for all the other animals.
“So, our recommendation is that there should be private ranching which is the modern way. It is sustainable, scientific and conflict-free. It produces better and healthy cattle with good beef and meat production.
“Government can then support private enterprises with soft loans, veterinary services, hospitals and other social amenities,” he said.
Adisa claimed that the attacks are unrelenting and deliberate because the herdsmen probably declared a war on Nigeria. Citing the example of the attack and murder of policemen by the herdsmen, Adisa said the attack needs urgent and prompt attention as not only civilians are unsafe but also security operatives.
The amount is also to provide him with relief materials, assured that measures are being put in place to forestall clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the state.
A representative of the Okogie of Ojah clan and the Traditional Head of Okurogho, Oba Daniel Suru Lawani, Mr Phillip Eguarogie, told journalists that the attack was one in a series of attacks in the community.
He explained that Obayemi narrowly escaped death on January 4 by the group of suspected herdsmen while going to his farm.
Eguarogie said, “On January 4, there was a Fulani herdsmen attack in Ojah community. A young man was going to the farm and saw a group of herdsmen coming towards him.
“He greeted them and they requested for food items and money from him. He told them in the Hausa language that he was going to the farm and did not have food, nor money on him.
“Immediately he left them, he felt an impulse to look back. He saw that they had brought out a cutlass to behead him. But he used his right hand to shield himself as a form of defence and screamed. That caused him that hand. He was rushed to Poly Clinic in Ososo by farmers who heard his call for help.”
He, however, added that the governor’s intervention would go a long way in easing the financial burden of the victim.
The former Army Captain said the National Orientation Agency (NOA) has failed in creating the needed security consciousness in the hearts and minds of the locals who cannot understand the English language.
“Are the law enforcement agencies, in particular, the National Orientation Agency, the greatest of all offenders (in my own opinion the NOA speaks English on their media jingles), you think the man in Biu speaks English?
“Do you think he has light to watch television? The campaign against terrorism should be broken down into languages to that local village man. We should be able to seek to flock that we protect, comply with the things we do,” he said.
Although the retired military personnel praised the efforts of the military in degrading Boko Haram members from the forefront, he, however, said that the locals should be effectively engaged.
In doing this, he suggested requires blocking the loopholes that the insurgents might want to capitalise on regarding carrying out renewed attacks.
He further explained that law enforcement agencies should equip an ordinary man in a remote village with the requisite indigenous language well understood so as to feed the military with information.
“The flock right now is still a tyrant. Having decimated them (Boko Haram) militarily and degraded them, you have to come back to the flock and get them to become security conscious by imbibing security threat awareness.
“I heard the Minister of Information (Mr Lai Mohammed) talking about security consciousness. How do people become security conscious? It is a state of being and the moment you security quotient is in place, security consciousness dawns on you,” he said.
Local residents confirmed to Channels Television that the Village Heads of Lawaru and Dong communities in Demsa Local Government area lost their lives in the Monday early morning attack.
The attack is suspected to have been carried out by herdsmen.
The chairman of neighbouring Numan Local government Area also confirmed the attack explains that the attackers set people’s homes ablaze.
Numan itself is just recovering from an attack on Friday, December 1, which left at least four policemen dead where the Police Public Relations Officer in Adamawa State, Othman Abubakar on Saturday confirmed the killing of four police officers while repelling an attack by armed and suspected herdsmen in Bolong village of Numan Local Government Area of Adamawa State.
The Delta State Police Command has debunked claims of attack by herdsmen on some communities in the state.
This is coming against the backdrop of some publications that no fewer than five persons have been hacked to death by suspected Fulani herdsmen in two separate attacks in Abraka and Obiaruku, both in Ethiope East and Ukwuani Local Government Area of Delta State.
According to the State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Andrew Aniemeka, in an exclusive interview with Channels TV, the matter is a case of murder reported by a family member of the deceased adding that investigations have commenced to unravel what actually transpired.
“There has not been any herdsmen attack in Delta state.
“On the 4th of January at Abraka we did have a case of murder involving one Akpovena who is about 39 years of age.
“His brother Godwin reported that on the 3rd of January he was missing and on the 4th around Abraka he was found dead alongside another about 40 years old.
“The police is investigating to know the exact cause of the death. I speak authoritatively that there’s no part in Delta state with herdsmen and community clash that I can speak of,” he said.
The Ekiti state government has signed a peace agreement with the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria on the anti-grazing law.
The State Governor, Mr Ayo Fayose said there is no going back on the law as he insisted that government’s responsibility is to ensure the safety of the lives and property of Ekiti citizens.
The south-west chairman of the association, Alhaji Kabir Mohammed promised that the herdsmen will do everything to ensure peace prevails in the state.
The operations of the Grazing Enforcement Marshall, established to enforce the Ekiti State Government’s Anti-Grazing Act was suspended on Tuesday after issues were raised by the herders’ association, claiming that some of the animals were killed by the officials.
Governor Ayodele Fayose said they would stay suspended for few days to enable the state address issues raised.
“They have demanded that I should allow them three days for them to move some of these cattle to permanent areas where they will be grazing. So, I have suspended the activities of the marshals for the next five days,” he saidd.
Governor Fayose expressed happiness that the leaders of the of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeder’s Association, decided to contact the state government instead of listening to rumours being peddled around by the opposition.
He, however, debunked the claims that cattle were killed by the marshals.
“The marshals are not armed. There is total misinformation about killing of cows, shooting of cows. It is pure political and misinformation,” he said.
The Ekiti State Government’s Anti-Grazing Act prohibits herders from indiscriminate movement within the State with their animals at specified time.