Armed herdsmen and their sponsors are allegedly planning a major attack on the Benue valley immediately after the Ramadan fast, a social advocacy group — Benue Journalists’ Forum of Nigeria (BJFN), has disclosed.
National President of the forum, Comrade Joseph Saater Undu, said the imminent attack is being instigated by sponsors of the killer herdsmen.
According to him, intelligent sources reveal that the attack would be a “mother-of-all-massacres (MOAM)” because bombs and grenades will be used this time.
He said the plan, which has reached its final stage, is to be executed simultaneously from different fronts across the Benue valley within eight days, and major towns and villages are being targeted for total destruction with explosives within the time frame.
“The decision to use explosives according to our sources is borne out of their failure to take over Benue state within their initial scheduled time.
“Now that they are in shortage of fighters since most of their agents in the West and East African region have refused to recruit for them, they have become desperate.
“They have gone as far as the Middle East and North Africa to recruit hardened men and terrorists to come and help them execute the war of conquest on the Benue valley,” said Undu.
He recalled that, in 2014, armed Fulani herdsmen used chemical weapons on Benue communities of Guma and Agatu where a lot of people died. But till date, nobody has been arrested by the Nigerian government and the international community is also silent on the matter.
The National President called on the people of Middle Belt, especially the Tiv nation, Idomas, Igedes, Jukums and the Kuteus, to be very vigilant and defend themselves against these killers.
“We also call on the Commissioner of Police in Benue state, CP Fatai Owoseni to intensify stop and search operation on all major high ways across the state to intercept these killers and their arms which are been moved in bits to the state.
“We commend Operation Whirl Stock and encourage them to re-double their efforts in clearing our state of all the killer herdsmen terrorists on the prowl.
“We therefore advise the governor of Benue state, Governor Samuel Ortom and of course all the politicians in Benue state not to play politics with Benue peoples’ lives and not politicize the killings,” he said.
It could be recalled that, BJFN raised this similar alarm in October 2017 about the camping of over 400 unknown gunmen in Benue community of Moon in Kwande Local Government, which was widely publicized in the media but no concrete efforts were made to forestall its occurrence.
Due to laxity and unresponsive posture of security apparatuses in the state at the time, caution was thrown into the wind, paving way for the January 1st genocide that claimed hundreds of innocent defenseless lives.
Undu concluded with a stern expression of support for the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law being enforced in the state, adding that those calling for the abolition of the law should stop wasting their time.
“In conclusion, we want to reiterate our support for Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law which is in place in the state and advice those who are calling for the suspension of the law to stop wasting their time.
“The law is a Benue masses law and not a creation of the Benue elites or the political class. It has come to stay,” he said.