Local Government Chairmen and leaders of socio-cultural organisations in Benue State have alleged that about 1,773 residents of the state have been killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen from 2018 till date.
The leaders made the claim on Monday during a press conference in Makurdi the state capital. According to them, the figure only reflects the number of corpses recovered during several attacks.
Ukum council boss, Steve Ayua who spoke for the group, said the herdsmen no longer come to the state with their cattle but AK-47 rifle.
He said, “It is on record that open grazing has led to the invasion of farming communities by Fulani herdsmen leading to massive killings and maiming of people, including children, raping of women, destruction of property, loss of livelihoods and displacement of persons.
“The negative impact of open grazing which often results in attacks on communities in different parts of Benue State has adversely affected the local economy as farmers are prevented from accessing their farms and local markets are also deserted for fear of imminent invasion by the killers.”
Steve Ayua said it was the grace of God that the state Governor, Samuel Ortom was able to escape death when he was attacked by the suspected Fulani militia.
It recalls that the governor was on March 20, 2021 attacked while on his way from farm along Makurdi-Ghoko road, by the assailants who intended to assassinate him.
It reports that over 1.5 million residents of the state have been sacked from their ancestral homes following the incessant attack on communities in the state.
A few days ago, the suspected herdsmen invaded Mbayatyo community in Mbater council ward of Logo Local Government and opened fire on mourners, killed scores while others were seriously injured.