Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The Benue State Government has strongly condemned the continued attacks on communities by criminal herdsmen in the state.
The state government particularly condemned the Monday invasion of Tse Vambe community in Mbawa Council Ward of Guma Local Government Area, where the suspected herdsmen allegedly beheaded a farmer and injured several others.
In a chat with Daily Sun on Tuesday evening, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Samuel Ortom on Animal Husbandry, Alhaji Shehu Tambaya, lamented the incessant herdsmen attacks despite the implementation of the state’s anti-open grazing.
He warned those herdsmen who are in the habit of grazing on Benue soil at night to stop, stressing that anyone caught would be made to face the wrath of the law no matter who they are serving.
Tambaya regretted that some criminal elements could still take up arms against innocent farmers while the whole world is currently battling with the coronavirus pandemic.
“From what we heard, the herdsmen invaded the community at about 2:30 pm on Monday and started attacking everyone in sight.
“The victim was on his farm clearing bush when the herdsmen captured him and later beheaded him before they proceeded to the village, shooting indiscriminately and setting houses on fire.
“This act is quite condemnable and one wonders why these spates of attacks and killings by herdsmen will have to continue in Benue. It was because of this that a law prohibiting open grazing and encouraging ranching was enacted in the state.”
Tambaya recalled that only recently the state government unconditionally released 460 cattle which were earlier impounded for violating the law in the state.
He said the herdsmen should be grateful to Governor Ortom for applying the state’s open grazing prohibition and ranches establishment law with a human face.
The governor’s aide, who applauded the efforts of security agencies like the OPWS, Police, NSCDC and others authorities in curbing criminal activity in the state, nevertheless urged them to go after the killer herdsmen with a view to apprehending them for prosecution.