John Shiaondo, Makurdi
Governor Samuel Ortom, of Benue State has expressed worry over renewed hostilities between suspected Fulani herdsmen and farmers in Agatu local government area of the state with attendant loss of lives and property.
He called for immediate cessation of hostilities from both parties and directed security agencies to ensure the restoration of peace and return of normalcy.
Governor Ortom stated that at the recent joint security council meeting between Nasarawa and Benue States held in Lafia, he and his colleague were to visit the Agatu in both states as part of peace building efforts on the return of his counterpart from his current trip to Saudi Arabia.
He regretted that his counterpart was still on the trip when fighting broke up and appealed for restraint so as to give both of them an opportunity to exploit further avenues for peace in the area.
The Governor directed his Deputy, Engr Benson Abounu, to visit Agatu tomorrow to meet with traditional rulers, farmers and youths in the area to appeal for peace and to assess the situation.
He said the state security council was in touch with its counterpart in Nasarawa State in efforts to restore peace and prevent criminals in using that state as a launching pad against the people of Benue State.
It could be noted that no fewer than seven persons were last Sunday killed in a renewed hostilities between Fulani herdsmen and Agatu farmers in Benue.
The Union gathered that the herders invaded some communities in the riverine Agatu area at about 10am that Sunday and continued fighting until late into the night.
Hon. John Ngede running mate to the PDP gubernatorial candidate in the state, a native of Agatu told our correspondent that there was heavy fighting in the area which led to the death of seven people while several houses and farmlands were destroyed.
But when contacted, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, ASP Moses Yamu,confirmed the incident but said he was yet to be fully briefed on the matter.
THE UNION recall that depite efforts by governor Samuel Ortom to stop hostilities through his armnesty programme, herdsmen, have continued to attack communities in Agatu, Ikyoawen in Kwande and other parts of the state leading to lost of lives and destruction of property.