BY PETER DURU MAKURDI
No fewer than 100 women, children and Tiv farmers have reportedly been slaughtered in the last two weeks by invading Fulani herdsmen, following the renewed bloodbath and invasion of Tiv communities in Guma Local Government area of Benue State by Fulani herdsmen.
Immediate past Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, and member representing Guma State Constituency, David Iorhemba made this known yesterday in an interview with newsmen in Makurdi.
Iorhemba lamented that despite efforts to stem the crisis in the hinterland of the state, cases of silent killings and destruction of property were still being reported by the natives adding that in his village at Yogbo, no fewer than 26 persons were allegedly murdered by the Fulani marauders in the last few days. He lamented that the crisis was taking its toll on farmers in the affected communities as farm land and crops had been destroyed, making it difficult to get seedlings for planting this farming season.
He said, ‘’the invasion of my constituency in Guma Local Government area by Fulani herdsmen is alarming. It is like a deliberate move to wipe out the Tiv race; it is unfortunate that our people will become refugees in their fatherland as a result of incessant Fulani invasion.
”As I am talking to you now, the areas have been deserted. You know that we are farmers in this part of the country; on a weekly basis, the herdsmen invade our lands, rape our women found in the farms, slaughter our men and deprive us of our ancestral home.
”Our people cannot farm this season because apart from destroying there farm lands and crops, many of our people have now become refugees in Makurdi because of the fear of the Fulani.”
Just yesterday night (Wednesday ) a woman and her son were reported killed around Atteh by the Fulani,” he said, and accused the people living in border villages in Nasarawa State of harboring the herdsmen.
According to him, ‘’it is unfortunate that our neighbors in Nasarawa State accommodate these marauders from where they move to our villages to unleash terror on us. If you move around you will discover that no Fulani is living around the border.’’
Iorhemba further said that there was no way the Tivs and Fulanis could live together because of their type of jobs noting, ‘’we are farmers while the Fulani are cattle rear-res, so is better we part ways.’’
While commending the efforts of both the Nasarawa and Benue State governments to stem the crisis through the joint peace committee set up in 2011, Iorhemba suggested that the security personnel attached to the hinterland in Tiv land should be dispatched to the border areas to prevent the incursion of the Fulanis into the Tiv villages.
He, however, urged the Federal Government to create grazing routes for the Fulani herdsmen in order to stem recurring bloodbaths in rural communities across the country.