From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Former Minority Leader of the Senate Prof Daniel Saror has lamented that the activities of armed herdsmen in Benue have taken a toll on the farming communities in the state.
He noted that if the trend is allowed to continue, Benue may lose its status as the food basket of the nation as the farmers are now afraid to go to their farms for fear of being attacked and even killed by the marauding armed herdsmen.
The former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University also lampooned prominent Benue indigenes who exonerated armed herdsmen from the killings in the state and claimed that the people were killing each other.
Saror, expressing dismay at the violence, stated that they would never contest and win elections in the state.
Prof Saror, who listed the affected local government areas to include Makurdi, Guma Agatu and Logo, Kwande as well as Katsina-Ala, said many communities in these LGAs have been taken over by armed herdsmen who chased the people from their ancestral homes.
‘In Benue, some parts of the state have been taken over permanently by these Fulani herdsmen. People who never lived in houses have now driven out the natives and are occupying their houses.
‘Yet some claim that Benue people are killing each other, which is nonsense. Benue has been having its share of communal problems but these are pockets, they are not an organized widespread thing.
‘Those who said Benue people are killing each other and not armed herdsmen should contest an election and see if they will win.
‘It is such a foolish thing to say because people know that it is not true. They have seen that people have come from outside to kill them to take over their land and they are still there.
‘In Katsina-Ala LGA, there are four Council Wards that are no go areas. And it is like that in Kwande LGA around the Moon area. It is the same thing in Logo LGA. Many people in Guma LGA are residing here in Makurdi town. They have abandoned their villages. It is the same thing in Agatu. So, is that because they are killing each other? It is the insecurity occasioned by the prevalence of armed herdsmen,’ Saror said.