Angry Benue group shuts down NASS, protests Herdsmen killings
The renewed Fulani Herdsmen attacks on several Benue communities have resulted to the death of over 500 people, 30,000 displaced persons and properties worth billions of naira destroyed.
According to a letter submitted to the leadership of the National Assembly by Vanguard against Tiv Massacre (VATIM), during their peaceful demonstration at NASS Abuja, Thursday, the group called on lawmakers to take urgent steps against the massacre.
Oak TV was at the scene, where thousands of protesters took part in the protest. The protest kicked off from Unity Fountain, Maitama through the Federal Secretariat before it climaxed at the national assembly, NASS.
Protesters were carrying different placards with inscriptions such as, “stop the killings in Benue”, “food basket not bloodbath state”, “we want end to farmers killing among others”. The letter which was titled, “Stop the Killings in Benue by Herdsmen and their Hired Machineries” reads in part. “We observed with dismay and great disappointment the continual failure of security agencies to prevent attacks by armed herdsmen which have led to loss of lives, livelihoods and property in Benue State.
“These attacks have been incessant, predictable, and preventable. In the last two weeks, the following villages have been attacked by herdsmen, Mkovur, Ortese all in Gboko LGA. We have also Jingir, Agwabi, Gbanyam and Tyogbenda in Buruku LGA and Gbodi, Nzaav, Mbaav and Anyase in Kwand LGA. In all cases, however, security agencies have been lackadaisical and slow to respond. “The recent crisis has so far resulted in over 500 reported cases of deaths in several communities in Buruku, Kwande, Agatu, Gwerwest, Guma and Gboko the worst hit been Buruku and Kwande LG areas with 30,000 persons displaced and properties worth billions of Naira destroyed. The displaced have been left with no other options than to take refuge in primary schools, market places and other open-air spaces in the neighbouring towns. “The numbers of deaths and displaced persons have continued to rise daily as the attacks on villages have continued unchecked. Despite the conspicuous nature of these attacks, no one person has been apprehended by the security agencies. In the last five years, no single person has been investigated or prosecuted for the attacks and killings carried out by the herdsmen in the affected communities even where some persons have come out to claim responsibility for such attacks. “This inaction by the government with regards to the attempted genocide on Tiv, Idoma and other ethnic groups living in Benue directly contravenes the primary responsibility of the government which is to protect lives and property of its citizens.” The group thereby called on government and all other concerned stakeholders to “Take speedy action to prevent further loss of lives and property in the state” as it also urged the government to provide urgent humanitarian relief to the victims of the attacks, carried out investigation and prosecution of the culprits, provide appropriate security to the communities, compensate farmers and other displaced people for their losses and most importantly, enact and implement appropriate legislation to curb the menace of the herdsmen. Tiv people would take steps to defend themselves-Utoo Speaking on behalf of the group, the spokesman, Barrister Franc Utoo while addressing journalists at the NASS gate said the protest was to draw the attention of government and other relevant stakeholders to liaise with security agents to stem bloodshed in Benue. Utoo who regretted the killing said it is unbecoming as the lawmakers are yet to come up with a position that would bring reprieve to Benue warning that, if urgent steps are not taken to stop these wanton killings of innocent indigenes of the state, Tiv people would take steps to defend themselves adding that, there is no land for grazing in Benue state.”
NASS to provide lasting solution to herdsmen massacre — Sen. Saraki
Addressing the protesters, Senator George Thompson Sekibo (PDP Rivers) who represented the senate president Senator Bukola Saraki said the killing of farmers by Fulani herdsmen was a worrisome issue which must be addressed with all sense of seriousness.
He said “The Senate had received three bills in respect of the menace and was doing it best to ensure that herdsmen are provided with a reserve area that would be meant for grazing.
“The senate pledged the commitment of the both chambers of National Assembly to work relentlessly in providing a lasting solution to the massacre, not only in Benue but the entire country.”
In Benue state, over 500 people died, 30, 000 displaced as group insists there is no land for grazing in the state.
In Nasarawa, Helicopter supplies arms to attackers, over 200 killed, 500 injured, rapped and kidnapped.