April 18, 2024

Killings: Benue communities protest herdsmen attacks, want grazing law strictly enforced

Nasarawa attack

•Gov Alia expresses shock, says attacks horrific

 •Orders security agencies to rescue kidnapped victims

By Peter Duru

Indigenes of Gwer West Local Government Area, LGA, of Benue State yesterday took to the Makurdi-Naka Road to protest the gruesome murder of over 28 persons in three communities by suspected armed herdsmen, calling on Governor Hyacinth Alia to ensure total enforcement of the Benue anti-open grazing law.

The governor has, however, expressed shock over the killing, and urged security agencies not only to rescue those kidnapped in the attack but also go after the perpetrators.

Recall that armed men had last Saturday, murdered six security operatives of Benue State Community Volunteer Guards, BSCVG, and Livestock Guards around Mbakunwande village, and on Sunday killed another 16 at Gyaruwa community and again on Monday, slaughtered six more in villages along Adoka-Naka Road.

The marauders were reported to have also taken several others hostage.

The bloody attacks prompted the protest by the people of the area yesterday, with the protesters bearing placards calling on the Federal and state governments to save them from the marauding herdsmen.

Some of the placards read:  “Enough is enough, we are tired of these deaths”; “we demand total enforcement of the anti open grazing law”; “we call on the state and federal governments to save our people from killer herdsmen,” among others.

In a message by the Gyaruwa Forum, GAF, the community where 16 were killed, signed by its Secretary, Mbapuun Fabian, said:  “The attack at Tser Kperyisa claimed the lives of 10 persons, identified as Atayugh Aondona, Atayugh Monday, Atayugh Friday, Atibee Kperyisa, Atibee Catherine, Anande Tete, Atsaga Ayange, Atsaga Yeye, Oraduen Aondosoo, and Ordem Msuega.

READ ALSO: Armed herdsmen attack ex-Governor Ortom’s CoS, in farm; abduct wife, maid

“In another community, known as Tse-Adaa, the attackers killed two persons, including Msanhe Orgbo and Ayageor Ankina; while Gor Kyor, and Ormba Gbem, were killed at Tse-Shiver, all within Sengev ward of Gwer West Local Government Area of Benue State.

“Two victims who were picked alive later died on arriving the hospital in Naka, the Gwer West LG Headquarters.

“One of the protesters, a former local government council chairman of Gwer West, Francis Ayagah, urged the Federal Government to ensure the safety of his people.“Ayagah lamented that the renewed insecurity in the area was a result of the non-total implementation and enforcement of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of the state, which allowed herders to move freely with their cows and arms, with which they attacked the people.

Another protester, Mr Titus Numzua, who hails from Seghev/Yegev Council Ward where all three attacks occurred, disclosed that “the influx of herdsmen in our area has complicated the security situation of many communities in Gwer West.”

He appealed to the Federal Government to show concern to the situation in the area and urged Governor Hyacinth to “provide logistics support to security agencies, the Benue State Livestock Guards and the Community Volunteer Guards, to complement efforts of security agencies to ensure peace returned to Gwer West.”

Gov Alia urges security agencies to rescue those kidnapped

Meanwhile, Governor Hyacinth Alia yesterday expressed shock over the killings, asking security agencies to rescue those kidnapped in the herders’ attack.

The governor, who condemned the attacks in strong terms, also described the incidents as horrific.

The governor’s Principal Special Assistant on Media and Content Creation, Isaac Uzaan, said the governor wondered why the attacks had persisted, despite efforts by the government to stem it.

Governor Alia wonders why such grossly offensive attacks continue on Benue communities despite the relentless efforts of government to arrest the ugly situation.

He calls on Benue people, particularly those at the frontline of the attacks, to cooperate with the government and security agencies to bring perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice.

He extended his deep condolences to those whose relatives were killed in the attacks, calling on security agencies to expedite their search and ensure safe release of those kidnapped.