John Shiaondo, Makurdi
Farmers from communities invaded by the Fulani herdsmen in Kwande local government of Benue state have cried out that they have been sleeping on trees since their homes were invaded more than two years ago.
Narrating their ordeal when they paid a visit on Governor Samuel Ortom yesterday at the People’s House, Makurdi, leader of the Farmers Mr. Abachi Isaac said though some of them had taken their families to live in IDPs camp in Jato Aka, they have to return home to do skeletal farming to keep mind and soul together.
Mr Isaac said the Fulani herdsmen who invaded their communities since 2014 have continues to kill, maim and destroy crops and houses adding that the only road linking the deserted places have been blocked by the invaders who have also made farming, schooling and other activities impossible.
Mr Isaac told the governor that while coming to see him, they had to climb Mountain Azege before getting motorcycles to convey them to Jato-Aka where they entered a vehicle to Makurdi.
He appealed to the governor to make the Fulani to leave the area and requested for the construction of the community road which has collapsed due to weather condition in the place.
Reacting, Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom, expressed the hope that the lingering crisis between farmers and herdsmen would end as soon as grazing is outlawed by the House of Assembly.
The governor said Benue people are strongly against open grazing and are advocating for ranching of cattle, but cautioned the youths against killing of cows and herdsmen.
He said the people have adopted the policy of live and let live and asked herdsmen to reciprocate the kind gesture by avoiding trespass on people’s farms.
Governor Ortom advised affected communities to report problems between herders and farmers to security agencies and emphasized that fighting would not help anybody.
He assured them of protection against Fulani invasion and promised to create conducive atmosphere for them to return to their homes.
The governor noted that security problems facing the people would reduce when the road linking their place with the rest of Kwande people become motorable and directed the commissioners for works and water resources, special advisers on security and rural development as well as the boundary commissioner to assess the condition of the road and report back to him.
Ortom said he is determined to make the people feel the impact of his administration and charged the five man road assessment committee to embark on the trip with security personnel.