Monday, 9 January 2017

Victims Of Benue Herdsmen Attacks Call For Protection

Families and victims of herdsmen attacks who have been widowed and displaced since 2013, have called for a home grown vigilante force, recognised by the state government.

This, they believe would help to defend their ancestral homes from herdsmen invasion.

The call was made at the 2016 Kyegh-Sha Shwa cultural festival of the Tiv ethnic group, to unite the tribe with their displaced families and seek a way forward to cope with the annual bloodbath vested on them by herdsmen.

Meanwhile, some of the youths have accused the Benue state House of Assembly of insensitivity on the proposed Open Grazing Prohibition Bill.

Participants therefore, campaigned for the protection of lives in the rural Benue communities, while seeking better engagement with the federal government.

One of the victims, a Reverend Father, Solomon Mfa, lamented the inability of the federal government to check the excesses of the herdsmen whom he believes, have sinister occupation agenda asides grazing cattles in the Benue valley.

A total of 12 out of the 23 local government councils in Benue state, were reported to have witnessed intense herdsmen attacks in 2016, with many lives lost, properties and farm produce worth millions of Naira destroyed.

In 2014, the United Nations High Commission For Refugee, began the Guma Shelta home project, for displaced victims of herdsmen attacks.

By November 2016, the UNHCR handed over 100 homes to widows and indigent IDP families.

After a review of the plight of the IDPs, participants then agreed that the state lawmakers must first create the legal instrument for the people to seek protection against herdsmen attacks.

Elder states man and a second republic Minister for Mines and Steel, Mr Paul Unongo, however encouraged the residents, saying he would continue to fellowship with the younger generation to give them hope of a better Nigeria.

The state Governor, Samuel Ortom, also urged the people to be good ambassadors of the state regardless of the circumstances.

Furthermore, he promised to offer continuous support to the annual Kyegh Sha Shwa cultural festival.

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