Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, has described the attacks on his kinsmen by suspected Fulani herdsmen as a declaration of total war on people of the state.
The governor said since 2011 when the attacks started, the state has lost illustrious sons and daughters as well as approximately N95bn.
The governor made these remark on Thursday in Makurdi at the mass burial of those recently killed by Fulani herdsmen in Logo and Guma LGAs of the state.
Ortom, who wept profusely while giving his speech called on both national and international communities to come to the aide of the state.
He noted that the attacks were aimed at making the state ungovernable.
His words, “For several years, these attackers have turned our beautiful and endowed land into their killing fields.
“These attacks have been intensified with alarming devastation since 2011.
“The report of a survey conducted by Bearua of LG and chieftaincy affairs in the state that in 2014, among 10 of the 23 LGAs of the state lost hundreds of lives and incurred loses of over N95 billion.
“So far, 13 of the 23 LGAs have been affected.
“The govt and people of the state interpreted this clear handwriting on the wall as an open declaration of war on Benue State.
“Our people would not have been massacred. It would have been prevented because the state government delayed the implementation of the law until 1st Nov 2017 to give a grace period for those who needed permits to establish ranches.
“However, no Fulani herdsman or woman applied for permit.
“Rather than make attempts to comply with the law, their leaders continued to engage in more threats to resist the implementation.
“They also went to challenge the legitimacy of the law and the matter is still pending.
“The dead bore the characteristics of Fulani militia brutality- slit throats, deep cuts from machettes on he head, chest , back and neck with some of their private parts removed. It was well planned and clinically executed with specific targets.
“We wish to draw the attention of the national and international communities to the fact that Benue state has come under a deliberate, well planned and well funded siege. What started in Guma and Logo is a clear statement of the evil and devastating plan against the state.
“Our invaders do not care which political party we belong to, they don’t care where we worship. They do not care about our age and gender. All they care is to annihilate us, to obliterate us from Benue Valley so that their cattle can graze and drink freely from rivers in the state.
“History beckons and we must rise to the challenge which our forefathers confronted and surmounted.”