Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The 26 dead victims of Fulani herdsmen attack on Omusu-Edumoga, Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State were, on Thursday, buried amid tears.
The funeral service which held at the open field of St. Bernard Primary School, Ugwu-Okpoga, headquarters of the local government, was attended by Governor Samuel Ortom, his deputy, Engr. Benson Abounu, some members of his cabinet as well as the council Chairman, Olofu Ogwuche.
Speaking during the requiem mass, Governor Ortom lamented the bloodshed in Benue State due to the atrocities of Fulani herdsmen against the Benue farmers.
The governor, while condoling the bereaved families, said the death of the victims and many others would put an end to the massacre of Benue people.
He also restated his call on security agencies to arrest the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore (MAKH) whom he said were the sponsors of the killings in the state based on comments credited to them and published in various media houses.
He stressed that the Open-Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment law enacted in the state had come to stay, noting that there was no land for open grazing and crop farming to go on concurrently.
He, however, assured Benue people that his administration would continue to respond swiftly to security challenges, adding that data were being gathered for compensation for damages caused by herdsmen attacks in Benue.
In their separate remarks, Deputy Governor Benson Abouno, Deputy Speaker of the state’s Assembly, Mr. James Okefe, representative of Bishop Apochi, Rev. Fr. John Attah among others expressed appreciation to Governor Ortom for his support to the bereaved families and pledged their support for the ranching law.
On their part, the three socio-cultural groups in the state represented by Mr. Amali Amali and the representative of Movement Against Fulani Occupation (MAFO), Pastor Dave Ogbole, lamented that although they saw the attacks coming and reported to relevant authorities, nothing was done to avert the massacre.
While expressing disappointment with the federal government over its inactions towards the killings, Pastor Ogbole called on the international community to rise up and stop a repeat of Rwanda in Nigeria, adding that the resort by Benue people to remain law abiding should not be mistaken for cowardice.
Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN), Benue state chapter, Rev. Akpen Leva in his sermon prayed God to grant the Governor and the entire Benue people the strength to weather the storm and overcome the menace of herdsmen attacks.
The remains of the deceased victims were later handed over to their families for burial according to the Idoma culture and tradition.