Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has disclosed that over 1,878 people were killed by suspected herders with property worth billions of naira destroyed in 12 Local Government Areas of Benue State between 2013 and 2016.
The Governor stated further that 750 persons were critically injured, while 200 persons are still missing and over 99,427 households were affected in the herdsmen attacks in the state during he period under review.
The Governor who disclosed this when he played host to the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Edward Kallon and his team said the statistics was obtained from a study carried out by the Benue State Emergency Management Agency and the Benue State Planning Commission in collaboration with BENGONET with support from UNICEF.
The Governor said a report by the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs puts the destruction caused by the invasion in 10 local government areas at over N95 billion in 2014 alone.
Ortom who revealed that the crises were caused by the constant clashes between Benue farmers and herdsmen explained that the crops of Benue farmers were usually eaten up by the herdsmen stressing that the assault and battery on the agrarian communities of the Benue valley posed a great threat to the food security of the nation.
“For over one decade now, the people of Benue State have continued to notice the influx of armed herdsmen who have violently attacked many communities in the state,” Ortom said even as he also solicited the UN technical support in building data collection, documentation and evaluation among others.
“The UN system may wish to consider giving pilot status to the two bills-Open grazing prohibition and the anti-kidnapping and cultism prohibition law recently enacted in the state and working closely with us in the development of strategies for implementation, monitoring and evaluation for wider national and international replication.”
Earlier, UN Resident Coordinator and leader of delegation, Edward Kallon, said his office would mobilise international support for peace building in the state as well as monitor violation of human rights with a view to holding perpetrators of the dastardly act accountable.
He also promised to partner the state government on the area of security, developing governance and implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Kallon and his team are expected to tour communities ravaged by the herders-farmers crisis in Agatu and Buruku areas as well as the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp at Daudu in Guma local government among other surroundings of Makurdi.