Yet another bloodshed in Benue

IN yet another well coordinated attack last week, suspected armed herders reportedly invaded  communities in Kwande Local Government Area of Benue State, killing at least 36 people, injuring many and burning down houses and barns. The deadly attacks were staged in parts of Moon, Mbaikyor, Mbadura and Ilyav council wards. According to a survivor, the marauders launched some of the attacks from the River Moon area, intent on chasing people away from their ancestral homes. He said: “The attacks are coming from different directions. They have killed more than 36 persons and the figure will increase because the attacks of the last two days have led to the killing of more people and burning of food barns. They want to take over Kwande LGA which is the ancestral home of the Tiv people and they have taken over about five council wards and more will fall if something is not done urgently.” According to him, communities such as Jato Aka, the ancestral headquarters of the Tiv nation, had not been spared in the attack. Other areas attacked included Ugbe, Iyon, Ityuluv, Injov Tyopaver, Kendev and Maav.

A former chairman of Kwande Local Government Council, Mr. Bem Tseen, lamented the loss of three family members in the attacks which he said started few days before the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections but became severe thereafter. Last month, the Benue State governor, Mr. Samuel Ortom, said over 6,000 persons had been killed in the state by the marauding herdsmen who had launched ceaseless attacks on communities in the state in the last few years. The governor, who was reacting to the allegation leveled against him by a group of 52 Fulani personalities led by a former Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, who had accused him of having a hand in the explosion that claimed the lives of some Fulani pastoralists in Doma Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, said the attacks had left the state with over two million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) living in dire conditions in various camps across the state.

If armed herders could invade Tse Alaa in Udaaya community and other areas after the people had just exercised their civic responsibility of voting for a new set of leaders to pilot the affairs of the country, it is because the government wanted it so. Offering no protection to a beleaguered, long-suffering populace, the government allowed the terrorists masquerading as herders, who had staged a horrible massacre in the state on New Year’s Day in 2018, to have yet another swell time shedding blood. It is not known if the story of a pregnant woman who was recently murdered and the foetus in her womb removed had anything to do with the blood-thirsty herders; what is fairly certain is that they will soon stage yet another carnage, emboldened by the outright refusal of the Federal Government to make them pay for their decades of atrocities in the state and across the country.

The killings have gone on for too long, but the government just couldn’t be bothered. It would seem that there is no end in sight to the orgy of violence rocking Benue State. Yet these cycles of killings have to stop if only to allow the affected communities to have opportunity for normal living.  Evidently, the government has let the people down as it ought not to be beyond it to provide adequate security for the communities in question. The killers are human beings who should have been intercepted and apprehended if the government were alive to its responsibilities.

We call on governments at all levels, particularly the Federal Government, to intervene decisively and stop the endless bloodshed in Benue. Anarchy looms if they do not  stop the unceasing bloodshed.  It is the utmost responsibility of the government to provide security and not doing this would detract significantly from the essence of governance. It is high time the people were saved from unending killings.



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