Herdsmen Contradict Nig. Govt. on New Year Attack in Benue
While Nigerian government swiftly said that the January 1st attack in Benue State was perpetrated by foreigners, Fulani herdsmen in Benue State have owned-up to the attack and explained that the attack was a vengeance mission
The attackers killed over 140 farmers on the eve of the new year and on January 1st.
The President of the Benue State branch of Myetii Allah Breeders Association, Garus Gololo told a correspondent of BBC News( Pidgin) that problem started when some people tried to rustle their cows, while they were emigrating from the state to some neighbouring states.
Gololo said, “While we were trying to relocate to Taraba State, through Nassarawa State to the border town of Nengere, some rustlers came and stole about 1000 cows from us and we have to fight back.”
The communities affected by the bloodletting include Gaambe-Tiv, Ayilamo, Turan. Umenger, Tse-Akor and Tomaater, near Tse-Aabi in Logo and Guma local Government areas.
Gololo claimed the attacks by the herdsmen, were in self-defense against cattle rustlers, who stole into their camp in the night to steal their cows.
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, did not visit the troubled areas in the Benue State, North-Central Nigeria.
Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom had expressed frustration over the killing, stating that citizens could take laws into their own hands if the government fails to act fast.
Full blown violence erupted on Wednesday when indigenes of the affected areas protested, condemning Buhari for not taking swift action against perpetrators of the violence.
It was expected that that Buhari might visit the troubled parts to assure them of safety and decisive actions to stop further violence in the region. Instead, Buhari appeared in Kaduna State where he commissioned a train tranche.
Many have condemned the President for not taking the lives and properties of the affected people seriously. However, Buhari had directed that soldiers should be deployed in the areas, a situation which was reported to have led to some deaths when soldiers shot at protesting youths.
Farmers-herders crisis in Benue state and some other Northern States like Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarrawa, Taraba among others have been pronounced and government has been called upon to apply a lasting solution to them.
History of the crisis is that the migrating herdsmen want to settle in the Benue communities. And the only way to do that is to displace the original settlers in the areas.
The invaders struck the unsuspecting communities from around 3:00 a.m and killed and destroyed everything on sight till around 10. am on the New Year.
The Governor of the state , Samuel Ortom, who according to Nigeria’s constitution is the Chief Security Officer of the state said he could no longer assure of security of lives and properties. Ortom said called on the Federal Government to address the crisis urgently, else, the state might be at war.
“This is not fair. This is not right, and we cannot accept it. We may continue to be law-abiding but there is a limit to how far we could go. The Federal Government must arise to this challenge and give us protection, to show that truly we are also citizens of this country.
“We are living in a country we call our own, yet this kind of thing is happening. The security agencies are aware of what you are seeing today and this is just a tip of the iceberg. What happened, from the report I have received, is far beyond what you have seen here. So many houses have been burnt. So many people have been killed. Some are still missing. Can you imagine innocent children and women being killed and their private parts removed? People were slaughtered like animals”, the governor said.