By John Onah, Abuja
The Middle Belt Forum, MBF, has condemned in strong terms the renewed killings of innocent people and wanton destruction of property in some parts of Benue State by Fulani herdsmen. The Forum, therefore, challenged the President, Muhammadu Buhari to discharge his responsibility of ensuring the safety of lives and property of Nigerians by order the deployment of more security personal to the affected areas.
National President of the Forum, Dr. Pogu Bitrus, said the forum viewed the current onslaught against these Benue communities as a scheme aimed at decimating our communities and gradual entrenchment of anarchy on the state.
Bitrus, however, commended the Benue State Governor, Dr. Samuel Orrtom on his current efforts put in place to return Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to their villages.
The statement reads; “The Middle Belt Forum, MBF, wishes to express shock and bewilderment at the recent attacks unleashed by suspected armed herdsmen on Waya in Jato-Aka and Mbanyiar communities in Kwande and Guma local Government Areas of Benue State.
“While the attack on Waya in Jato-Aka led to the death of four persons, the Mbanyiar attack led to the raping of three women, including the district head’s wife.
“Before these attackers unleashed their fangs of terror on these peaceful communities, His Excellency, Governor Samuel Ortom had raised an alarm on the influx of thousands of herdsmen into the state and called on the Federal Government security agencies to intervene.
” Considering the destruction that accompanied these attacks, there is no doubt that there is a deliberate ploy to disturb the peace of Benue citizens and throw the state into yet another round of bloodshed.
“That these suspected herdsmen have continued to terrorise the state despite the alarm raised by the state governor, indicates that there may be a force that is irrevocably committed to undermining the rule of law in order to provoke another bout of violence.
“As a socio-cultural organisation representing the interests of ethnic Nationalities living in the Middle Belt region, we view the current onslaught against these Benue communities as a scheme aimed at decimating our communities and gradual entrenchment of anarchy on the state.
There is no justification for the present raging violence ripping across various parts of the state after lawmakers in the Benue State House of Assembly had passed a law banning open grazing. The Forum considers it appalling and pathetic that there are only 35 police personnel in Kwande LGA and this inadequate number of policemen and women may prove incapable of combating these bandits of destruction that are armed to the teeth.