….As Fulani Herdsmen, Thousands Of Cattle Influx The State Threatening Coming Planting Season
1st February September, 2024
Reports in the media from yesterday quote Benue State Governor, Hyacinth Alia, as lamenting that the humanitarian situation in the state occasioned by insecurity “truly deserves global attention and urgent intervention”.
The governor was quoted as such when he received a delegation from the United States Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USBHA), before whom he stated that “over 1.5 million people in the state are displaced and currently without homes and have no access to potable water and other means of livelihood”.
Governor Alia was further quoted to have averred that the “people of Benue state have been threatened by insecurity due to herdsmen attacks, kidnapping and armed banditry activities” and that on assumption of office, he had encountered a humanitarian crisis resulting from herdsmen atrocities, kidnapping, armed banditry which “have continued to disrupt the agrarian lives of our people” leaving over 1.5 million persons displaced from their ancestral homes and means of livelihood.
The Benue State Governor’s lamentation comes on the heels of an uncontrollable influx of Fulani herdsmen and thousands of their cattle across all parts of the state, spreading in their wake the inevitable killings, destruction of properties and displacement of the local populations from their homes and means of living.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) commends Governor Alia for having the grace to at last accept the compelling evidence that his immediate predecessor, Samuel Ortom, was indeed right in his persistent crusade against the menace of Fulani herdsmen atrocities during his time as governor.
The party understands that the campaigns must have overwhelmed the governor and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), leading them to tag the fight against insecurity then by the Ortom administration as a false alarm, even as they also labelled Benue people as “killing themselves” and exonerated the herdsmen of guilt over the killings.
With the admission by the governor that indeed the state of insecurity then and now is a desperate one requiring urgent global attention and intervention, PDP urges him to back his words with action by resuming sustained advocacy to restore the menace on the front-burner of discourse locally and internationally where it had been prior to his coming to power.
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PDP also calls on Governor Alia to resume enforcement of the Prohibition of Open Grazing and Ranches Establishment Law which was enacted by the Benue State House of Assembly and put to force by the administration of Samuel Ortom.
The enforced ban on open grazing by the immediate past administration had served to greatly minimize the atrocities of the killer herdsmen, and the party urges the Benue State Governor to resume the practice as a measure to stem the rising influx of the herdsmen and their cattle into the state.
This, PDP believes, will strengthen Gov. Alia’s hand towards safeguarding the coming planting season against the grave danger posed to the socio-economic and existential realities of Benue people should the menacing influx of the herdsmen and their cattle be left unchallenged.
Chief Bemgba Iortyom (Vande-U-Mbaiwer)
State Publicity Secretary,
PDP, Benue State.