Agatu community in Benue State has called on the Federal Government to rehabilitate and reconstruct the community destroyed during the recent crisis as a prerequisite for reconciliation with herdsmen.
Minority Leader, Benue House of Assembly, Sule Audu, spoke at Obagaji, during a peace meeting with governors Samuel Ortom of Benue and Umaru Al-Makura of Nasarawa State in attendance.
He noted that apart from lives lost, property destroyed during the crisis could not be quantified.
Audu said that no meaningful reconciliation would succeed without proper rehabilitation and reconciliation.
He also called on the Federal Government to accord the Agatu community the same attention being accorded the Northeastern part of the country.
The lawmaker said that the Agatu people were not disposed to allowing any form of grazing in their land at the moment given the harvest season.
He lauded the governors of both states for their efforts at ensuring a lasting peace in the area.
Sole administrator of Agatu Local Government Area, Mr Michael Inalegwu, disclosed that 3, 920 lives and unquantifiable property were lost during the crisis.
Inalegwu maintained that the magnitude of the attacks and sophistication of the weapons used clearly demonstrated that the herdsmen were out to annihilate the people and not grazing.
“The herdsmen we knew while growing up use knives and sticks while grazing, however, they have now metamorphosed from carrying sticks to AK 47 riffles,” Inalegwu said.
Governors Samuel Ortom and Umaru Al-Makura in their separate remarks stressed the need for all parties to the crisis to sheath their swords and embrace peace.
Ortom noted that as brothers, farmers and herdsmen were bound to have differences and disagreements but reconciliation was paramount.
He said no meaningful development could be achieved in an atmosphere of rancour and violence.
Similarly, Al-Makura charged all parties to forget the past, in order to reach an amicable solution to the incessant crises.
He said the visit to Agatu was as a result of painstaking efforts by both Benue and Nasarawa State governments aimed at restoring lasting peace between farmers and herdsmen in the area.
The meeting was attended by representatives of Agatu and herdsmen from both states as well as heads of various security agencies from both states. (NAN)