The Sun News

After fresh killings, Ortom orders herdsmen out of Benue community

•Reps probe attacks

By Adetutu Folasade-Koyi, Kemi Yesufu and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja

Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, has given Fulani herdsmen in Tombo-Mbalagh, Buruku local government area of the state, a two-day ultimatum to leave the area.

Ortom gave the order when he visited the community, to ascertain the damage herdsmen inflicted on them.

His visit to the place on Monday, followed attacks by the herdsmen, which resulted in the deaths of some farmers, over the weekend.

Eight bodies were reportedly recovered, while three persons are still missing, according to Justina Sorkaa, sole administrator for the council area.

However, Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama, said six persons died in the attack.

Ortom said he had directed security agencies, as a matter of urgency, to lead herdsmen out of the area, for peace to reign and added that herdsmen must leave “since they were not welcomed by the unarmed inhabitants of the area.”

The governor also challenged the Federal Government to show more commitment and speak out against violent herdsmen attacks across the country, with particular reference to Benue and Southern Kaduna in Kaduna State.

Ortom said this when he led the State Security Council to assess herdsmen killing fields in Logo and Buruku councils, including the Fadama III dry-season farming land, on the bank of River Benue.

While community leaders from Buruku and Fulani herdsmen are locked in war of words and counter-allegations, Makama ordered his men to shoot down anybody bearing arms illegally in the trouble area.

The governor also met with the displaced nursing mothers, children and the elderly in Buruku.

Ortom encouraged the people to remain law-abiding by reporting, for appropriate action, any breach of the peace by the herdsmen.

Earlier, Sorkaa said “some of the displaced persons have moved in with their relations in Buruku town and those who do not have anywhere to go are with us in an improvised Internally Displaced Persons camp here at St Peter’s Anglican Primary School, Imenger.”

Herdsmen are largely nomads, who go through towns and settlements with cattle and also, move from one place to another in search of pasture.

In this process, the herdsmen have reportedly encountered cattle rustlers and made complaints to the relevant authorities who fail to investigate the issue, hence their purported reason for carrying arms about.

During their journey, they frequently trespass farmlands owned by locals in their host communities, destroying crops and valuables in the process.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to set up a presidential task force to disarm herdsmen, in the aftermath of the March 9, 2017 invasion of Buruku by armed herdsmen. 

The House also resolved to set up an Ad hoc committee to meet with heads of security agencies to find reasons why security agencies have not  been able to stop the attacks. 

The resolution of the House was subsequent upon adoption of a motion entitled: “Call On the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to direct the immediate disarmament of armed and strange herdsmen in Buruku and other parts of Benue state,” sponsored by Emannuel Orker –Jev and 10 other representatives from the state. 

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