From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has alleged that suspected herders killed over 1,878 people, with property worth billions of naira destroyed in 12 local government areas of the state between 2013 and 2016.
According to the governor, 750 persons were injured, while 200 are still missing, with over 99,427 households affected in the herdsmen’s attacks in the state during the period under review.
Ortom, who disclosed this yesterday when he played host to the Country Representative of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Edward Kallon, and his team, said the statistics were obtained from a study carried out by the Benue State Emergency Management Agency and the Benue State Planning Commission, in collaboration with BENGONET and supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The governor said a report by the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs put the destruction caused by the sacking of 10 local government areas at over N95 billion in 2014 alone.
Ortom, who said the crises were caused by clashes between Benue farmers and herdsmen, explained that the crops were usually eaten up by herds of cattle.
He said the assault and battery on the agrarian communities of the Benue valley posed a great threat to the food security of the nation.
“For over one decade now, the people of Benue State have continued to notice the influx of armed herdsmen, who have violently attacked many communities in the state,” he said.
On how the UN could help Benue State, the governor said the international body could “consider giving pilot status to the two bills-Open Grazing Prohibition and the Anti-kidnapping and Cultism Prohibition law recently enacted in the state as well as work closely with us in the development of strategies for implementation, monitoring and evaluation for wider national and international replication.”