Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has raised the alarm that herdsmen from Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Libya, and Senegal were still maiming and killing the peace-loving people of his state.
Ortom made this disclosure on Sunday, January 23, during an interview on Arise TV, noting that the strict enforcement of the state’s 2017 Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law has reduced the level of insecurity.
The Governor said herdsmen now comply with the provisions of the anti-open grazing law enacted on May 22, 2017, to curb the nefarious activities of herdsmen carrying AK-47 rifles about the state, maiming peasant farmers, killing them, and taking over their parcels of land.
Speaking on the amended legislation, Ortom acknowledged that all “is going well with the enforcement of the law except for the notorious criminal elements of Fulani herdsmen, who came from Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Libya, and Senegal.”
Ortom noted that the intention of the criminal elements “is not for grazing or doing cattle business, but to send people away and take over their land.
“Currently, as I talk to you, those people who come around with AK-47 rifles, AK-49 rifles, and other associated sophisticated weapons are not just here with cattle. These notorious elements come to kill or maim our people.”
He lamented that the activities of the notorious criminal elements “are part of the reasons we have still over 1.5 million IDPs in our camps across the state.
“The children, who are not going to schools, are not happy. The old men, who are forced to stay in these camps, are not happy. The camps we established here are not even standard. Sometimes, the camps are sited in the school environment.
“The one close to a standard camp is what we have in Makurdi here. The General Theophilus Danjuma Committee constructed it to rehabilitate people. No person wants to live in this camp. But they are forced to live there.
“They want to go back. I am ready to provide logistics for them so that they can go back. But those who attempted to go back were maimed, killed, and raped. These terrorist Fulani herdsmen amputated women’s hands.
“The security personnel posted to Benue State have also done their best. But over 100 of them have been killed since 2017. If security personnel, who were trained with sophisticated weapons, were killed; what do you expect averaged farmers, who were displaced and in distress, to go back and do?”
The governor, thus, commended all security agencies including Operation Whirl Stroke; the Army; Nigeria Police; Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC); and the agro rangers for working hard to ensure compliance with the anti-open grazing law; and maintaining relative stability in the state.