Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria(HURIWA), Wednesday, condemned the alleged Fulani herdsmen who invaded some communities in the Logo Local Government Area of Benue State.
Joseph Anawah, former media aide to ex-Benue governor Gabriel Suswam, said the herders invaded the communities with more than 1,000 cows and settled at the Tse Azaye, Tse Agah, Tse Getim and Tse Iosun communities in the Tombo ward.
Anawah said, “They are so hostile and do not want anybody to come close to them. The residents, on sighting the arrival of cows, started packing out of their villages for the fear of the unknown.
“When the head of the Mbaifu community, Gbamga Nengem, visited their settlement to know their mission in his community, they told him clearly that they had come for settlement and any attempt to evict them, either by the host community or government agencies, would invoke their anger and they would be left with no option but to resort to physical and open confrontation.”
HURIWA, in a statement by its national coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, urged security agents to arrest the militiamen terrorising the North-Central state and prosecute them.
HURIWA condemned the resurgence of the activities of Fulani herdsmen in Benue and called on federal authorities and security agents to act fast to stop the trend.
The group said the growing killings by the alleged herders had reached an alarming rate. It therefore called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ‘act swiftly if indeed [he] does not covertly support the acts of the vicious herders’.
THE WHISTLER reported that last Saturday, suspected herders killed three persons in Guma LGA of the state. The victims were said to be returning from a burial.
The group noted that ‘killings, abductions and rape have been steadily recorded on a daily basis in the state since 2015 when Buhari took over the seat of power’.
Onwubiko said, “Killings have resumed with the resurgence of invasion of Benue State by armed Fulani herdsmen. Since 2015 when Buhari came in till now, over 5, 000 Benue State natives have been killed by armed Fulani herdsmen.
“However, for all of these killings and destructions of farms and houses, churches, killing of priests and worshippers, there is no single suspect in jail for these heinous crimes because the federal government is unwilling to order soldiers, DSS and police to arrest, and for attorney general of the federation to prosecute them.
“In fact, the president has rather listed Governor Ortom as persona non-grata for demanding action and justice for his people. At several times the Benue State government carried out mass burials, including the burial of over 100 natives killed at a time by armed Fulani herdsmen and yet these terrorists are freely moving about.
“The governor almost got killed but for good fortune that he escaped. Police said the attempted killers who shot at the governor were arrested, but this is false because for a year now, not one person is prosecuted.
“The federal government has continued to sweep these killings under the carpet. The AGF must also begin the process of declaring killer herders as terrorists just like bandits.
“Killer herdsmen must be prosecuted for their atrocious acts. When impudence goes unchallenged, the aggressor becomes emboldened.
“HURIWA, therefore, calls for the immediate arrest of the marauding herders who displace Benue original residents from the Logo LGA. There must also be judicial actions against these killers who are roaming freely on the streets of Nigeria because the federal government does not wish to arrest or prosecute them.
“Already, HURIWA has filed a complaint at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, over it. HURIWA will also be filing another fresh petition this week because for seven years, the federal government has tolerated the killings and postured itself as a Fulani herders’ sympathiser.”