Wed, 24 Jul 2024


Herdsmen killed my 2 children, 37 others — Benue monarch weeps
By: Cletus Sunday Ilobanafor
Sat, 8 Apr 2023   ||   Nigeria,

The traditional ruler of Nyiev community in Guma Local Government Area of Benue state, Chief Bernard Shawa, has confirmed the murder of 39 of his subjects, including his two children by suspected herdsmen who attacked the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camps in the community on Good Friday.

The monarch also disclosed that 38 other victims of the attack sustained severe injuries but were evacuated to the Benue State University Teaching Hospital in Makurdi.

Chief Shawa made the disclosure when he received Governor Samuel Ortom and his Deputy, Benson Abounu who visited the community for an on-the-spot assessment of the incident.

Amid wailing and crying from families in the community, the monarch narrated how armed herdsmen stormed the community between 9 and 10 pm Friday saying “I was sitting outside with my children when we started hearing gunshots from across the road.

“We started running but two of my children, a boy and a girl did not make it they were gunned down by the Fulani people.

“And because we have a point checkpoint on the road, displaced persons normally take shelter at the LGEA Primary School, they opened fire on the IDPs and people in the community, shooting and killing our people as they spoke the language.

“And before today they also attacked our community on February 25, 2023. On that day they killed 12 people.”

The royal father commended Governor Ortom for leading a delegation to the community to sympathise with the people over the incident.

Governor Ortom who described the attack as sad and unfortunate said the people of the state had enacted a law prohibiting open grazing with which the people felt there would be peace in the state but various Fulani groups objected to the provisions of the law by violating it.

He said he saw the condolence message of President Muhammadu Buhari over the killings saying, “Condolence messages cannot be enough, the President must issue marching orders to security agencies to fish out these terrorist groups and bring them to justice.”

The Governor said “Anything that needs to be done must be done because our people have suffered for too long. How can you explain that people you chased from their ancestral homes decided to take refuge in a camp in a primary school and you did this to them? How do you explain the deaths and pains, this is not right. The people doing this must be punished according to the laws of the land.”

While recalling the recent killings in Umogidi and other parts of the state, the Governor said he had always appealed to the people to remain calm even when all manner of things were done during the last election “I restrained myself because I want peace and my political ambition is not worth the blood of even an infant.”

The Governor who berated the opposition for blaming him over the unending attacks and killings in the state said “Castigating and vilifying me and putting the blame on me when our people are being killed by terrorists is not right.”

He urged the opposition to wait till May 29 when it would assume leadership of the state, “then they can do whatever they want with the law that was made by the people themselves but for now I remain Governor of the state.”

He said the government was summoning an emergency meeting of the State Security Council to discuss the recent attacks in the state and come out with a resolution.

It was gathered that the victims of the attack were mostly women and children.



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