• Farmers/herdsmen crisis threatens food security in Nasarawa, Benue
Rose Ejembi, Makurdi; Linus Oota, Lafia
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has rained curses on perpetrators and sponsors of the killings in Benue State praying that all those who failed to act on the letters he sent out, alerting of impending attacks on the state that could have stopped the killings will one day account for the blood of those who lost their lives in the attacks.
Governor Ortom who stated this while addressing a large crowd of Benue stakeholders at the Government House in Makurdi yesterday explained that the state had a fore-knowledge of the attacks and wrote several letters to the appropriate authorities that could have investigated and stopped the attacks but that those authorities did nothing about it.
“What happened to us on Jaunary 1, 2018 didn’t come to us as a surprise. We foresaw it and cried out to the appropriate authorities but those who are saddled with security did nothing about it. Now they are accusing me of over dramatizing and perpetrating it instead of owning up to their mistakes. But I can assure you that the day of reckoning will come.”
The governor who accused the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore (MAKH) of carrying out the attack on the Benue people said the group had soon after the law was enacted in the state, threatened to mobilize all Fulani all over West Africa to resist the law.
“Our offence is why did we make the Anti-Open Grazing Law? Immediately the law was made, the umbrella body of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore (MAKH) went and challenged the law and threatened to mobilize to attack Benue.
“When I learnt about this, I took it up and sent letters to the Presidency and law enforcement agencies to intimate them of the threat by Kautal Hore. I followed it up in October 31, a day before the implementation of the new law with a visit to the appropriate quarters and nothing was done.
“Like I said during the memorial service, I will repeat it again, all those who failed to act on those letters that could have stopped the killings will one day account for the blood of our loved ones who lost their lives in the attacks.”
Speaker after speaker who contributed during the meeting including Prof. Iorwuese Hagher, Senator Fred Orti, Prof. Jerry Agada as well as the leadership of the Benue Socio-cultural groups represented by Chief Edward Ujege and Chief Ode Enyi described the current situation in the state as genocide and a war even as they expressed their full support for the governor even as they all urged him on to continue in the struggle.
“The Benue valley seems to be at war. We don’t know who these people are and those who are supposed to protect us have not told us what they want to do. What we are faced with is a warfare. The genocide began and incrementally shrinking Benue. That is why we should not allow everyone to die before we all cry out.”
On his part, Third Republic senator, Joseph Waku said that asking President Muhammadu Buhari to visit Benue State following the New Year Day killing of 73 people by herdsmen was irrelevant insisting that the Benue people don’t need him.
Waku who was speaking during the stakeholders meeting organized by the Benue State Government at the Government House yesterday maintained that whether the President visits Benue State or not, God Almighty is with the people and would ensure the state is victorious in the present security challenges it is facing.
“Asking Buhari to come to Benue is irrelevant. We don’t need him. As a matter of fact, he needs us more than we need him. Whether he (Buhari) comes here or not, the Almighty God is with us,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Nasarawa State House of Assembly has called for urgent measures to end the incessant farmers/herdsmen crisis in the state and Benue State to avoid dire consequences of acute food crisis.
The speaker of the assembly, Balarabe Abdullahi expressed this worry yesterday at the floor of the assembly while responding to a motion moved by the house Majority Leader, Tanko Tunga over the crisis in the Nasarawa/Bennue border lines.