By Peter Duru, Makurdi
The casualty figure in weekend’s separate attacks on Makurdi and Logo Local Government Areas, LGAs of Benue state by armed herdsmen has risen from four to five after the State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, confirmed that aside two of its personnel, a member of the Benue Livestock Guards was also killed in the attack.
In a statement issued Sunday in Makurdi by the Command’s Public Relations Officer, Deputy Superintendent, DSC, Micheal Ejelikwu, the deceased Agro-Rangers personnel were gunned down by the invaders when they were providing security cover to personnel of Livestock Guards in Makurdi outskirts.
According to the statement, “they were providing security coverage for the Livestock Guards who had arrested some cows for violating the open grazing law. They were ambushed by suspected heavily armed herdsmen along “Iniongon” area, near Lower Basin farm site in Makurdi LGA.
“Unfortunately, two casualties were recorded on the side of Agro-Rangers. One Livestock Guards personnel was also killed. The Agro-Rangers personnel killed includes, Alexander Odeh, an Assistant Superintendent of Corps II, ASCII and Ajoko Terwase, ASCII.
“Another Agro-Rangers personnel, Ortserga Terwase was also shot on his lap and is receiving treatment in a hospital but in a stable condition. The Livestock Guards personnel killed was Mr. John Saaondo.”
Reacting to the indigent, Governor Samuel Ortom in a statement by his Special Adviser Media and Publicity, Terver Akase condemned the attack in strong terms saying the killing of security personnel calls for worry in the country.
While sympathizing with families of the fallen security personnel, the Governor urged the country to take note of the atrocities of herdsmen in the state saying “Benue grazing law is a win win law for all. The law does not target any group. So the best thing for herdsmen to do is to embrace it and follow the procedure to own ranches.
“When you see a security man and you ambush and gun him down, it then means that you are an outlaw. It means you have taken arms against the state.
“That should worry all Nigerians and we expect the good people of this country to rise in resistance to what is happening. Security personnel are here for all of us. It is clearly unacceptable when they are subjected to that kind of treatment.
“The herdsmen have chased our people from there farmlands and ancestral homes which is unacceptable. So we condemn this and we call for greater action on the part of security agencies to flush out these terrorists who are living in the forests because the security forces can track them to where they are.
“We must also note that the security personnel are doing well, so we want to encourage them but when their members are being attacked in this manner, the way to go about it is to rout out the herdsmen and bandits.
“The Livestock Guards of Benue are there to make sure that animals are in ranches and that they are safe. And those who have farms also have rights to the ownership of their farms. So whoever thinks that he has the right to take life, such people are not above the law. Herdsmen are not above law.
“We appeal to our people to know that the government of Benue state will never ever allow anyone to take them for granted. The government will continue to support security agencies to ensure that Fulani herdsmen stopped what they are doing.”
It would be recalled that two others were also at the weekend killed in a separate attack on Tse Nune community in Logo LGA by suspected armed herdsmen.