Linus Oota, Lafia
No fewer than 50 persons lost their lives in the bloody herdsmen attacks on some communities in Nasarawa south senatorial zone of the state which comprises Keana, Obi, Awe, Doma and Lafia local government areas in the month of January 2018.
Also, about 83 villages were completely burnt down to arches, property, farmlands and economic trees worth billions of naira were lost during the period under review.
President, Tiv Development Association (TIDA), a socio-cultural organization for the Tiv indigenes in Nasarawa state Mr Boniface Ifer made this known weekend while speaking to our correspondent in Lafia on the security situation in the southern senatorial zone of the state, adding that all the affected persons and villages are of the Tiv extractions.
According to him “the numbers of causalities are not exact because, we still have cases of missing persons whom we assumed that they are dead but because of security reasons, we cannot organise a search to recover their dead bodies
“I want to clear the air where some people are denying the fact that there is no crisis in Nasarawa state and that the people in IDPs camp are all from Benue state, I want to debunk that statement, let me tell you that over 50 Tiv sons and Daughters in Nasarawa state are already dead as a result of this herdsmen attacks, why are they claiming that my people are not affected” he said
He also disclose that the military men and police units deployed to Nasarawa state on the order of President Muhammadu Buhari have arrived the state but refuse to move to the affected areas where people are being killed on the daily basis and houses burnt down “we don’t know why the military refuse to move to the affected areas, we want the whole world to know that the military deployed to Nasarawa state have being stationed in one place in Lafia”
On the genesis of the crisis, the leader of the Tiv community in the state use the occasion to correct the erroneous impression in some quarters that, the on-going crisis is as result of the anti-open grazing law that is been enacted by the Benue state government.
“I want to say without fear or favour that this on-going crisis pre-dates the anti-grazing law, it will be recalled that on the 1st July 2001 the Tiv people of Nasarawa state were attacked by the same suspected herdsmen who brutally killed thousands of the Tiv people and equally looted and destroyed their properties worth billions of naira
“Again on 18th June 2011, the Tiv people of Keana and Doma LGAs were attacks once again by the herdsmen killing so many people including a police officer in Keana police division ASP Awajir, and two Tiv community leaders Zaki Kiri Asoho and Zaki Iorwaney Lyebera” he said
He wondered why the January 2018 coordinated and unprovoked attacks is targeted only at the Tiv people in Nasarawa state in the name of anti-open grazing law in Benue state “The Tiv people in Nasarawa state are not part and parcel of law making process in Benue state and what affects Benue must not affect us in Nasarawa state”
He said that between 1st and 8th January this year, 15 Tiv people were murdered in their cold blood in Awe local government area of the state, while six Tiv people were equally slaughtered in Obi LGA. In Keana LGA, about 22 Tiv people were killed by the herdsmen between 7th to 29th January 2018, while in Doma LGA, about 7 Tiv people lost their lives to herdsmen attacks.
The TIDA president who gave our correspondent the names and figured of those murdered and villages burnt in tears, said over 83 villages of the Tiv people in the southern zones of the state were completely burnt down by the herdsmen and the entire Tiv settlements areas in the zone completely displaced.
Mr Ifer who commended the efforts of the state governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura in trying to bring the situation under control, disclose that the situation is slipping out of his hands hence the herdsmen are head-bent on executing their original plan of eliminating the entire Tiv race
“The herdsmen have refused to hid or yield to the warnings of Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura to stop the killings and have persisted with this massacre, and as I talk to you now, they have succeeded in taking over the entire Tiv settlement areas in Nasarawa state” he said