John Shiaondo, Makurdi
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state has said the attacked on communities in the state by suspected Fulani herdsmen has left his people in affected areas completely in distress.
This is even as Governor Ortom yesterday raise alarm on plans by local herdsmen to make Benue unstable through attacks on communities and the mobilization of foreign militia elements to occupy the land with rustled cows.
Ortom made this known when National Emergency Agency NEMA and the House of Representative Committee on Security and Emergency, were in the state to donate relief materials to victims of the Fulani attack.
He said as a result of the attack, Benue people who are basically farmers have been deprived of their source of livelihood.
He said over 500 cows were rustled in Kaduna by criminal elements and brought into Guma local government.
“There was this sudden appearance of over 500 cows in Guma local government area at the weekend, but security report reaching me revealed that the cows were rustled from Kaduna state,” he said.
He said the authorities of the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, have also reported that the institution’s research land and farms have been occupied by herdsmen and their cows.
The governor expressed worries over the invasion of Benue state by herdsmen, disclosing that the militia men killing the people have come from Niger, Chad, Ghana and other African countries.
He said the police commissioner has been told to assess the situation in Guma and the University of Agriculture with a view to recommending steps to be taken and observed that the university now operates in fear.
Ortom appealed to Benue people not to be apprehensive because the inspector general of police and the chief of army staff have visited the state to assess the situation.
He said already, some police men and soldiers are moving to the state to control the situation even as herdsmen have moved in large numbers to Benue to cause confusion and use militia elements to attack communities and take over their land.