Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The Benue State Government has confirmed the invasion of Mbatoho Chile area of Makurdi, Benue State, where herdsmen were said to have sacked over 5,000 villagers, last Monday.
The state government also said that security agencies have been sent to the community to maintain peace.
Commissioner for Information in the state, Lawrence Onoja Jr, who disclosed this to newsmen, on Wednesday evening, said immediately the news of the Fulani invasion in the area got to Governor Samuel Ortom, he directed the Special Adviser on Security to move to the area on a fact-finding mission.
Onoja said on getting to the village, situated on an island, the Security Adviser discovered that the herdsmen, after burning many houses, moved their cattle into the village and made them to feed on the crops of the farmers.
“It’s an area that is not covered by the military but the security agents have been mobilized to the place. The security operatives are now trying to push the Fulani herdsmen out of the place so that the locals can go back to their homes.”
The Information Commissioner, who lamented an increase in the influx of herdsmen and their cattle into the state since the Army’s Ex Ayem Akpatuma exercise commenced, regretted that despite an existing Anti-Open Grazing law in place in the state, the herdsmen seemed to be more emboldened to graze their cattle without recourse to the law.
“There have been increased influx of herdsmen and their cattle in the state since the Army came. The Fulani herdsmen are now grazing openly in the state despite an anti open grazing law in force in the state. For now, we are not completely satisfied with the Military Exercise Ayem Akpatuma (Cat Race) but it’s still too early to judge.”