Anxiety has gripped residents of Benue State following the alleged massive influx of herdsmen to some parts of the state.
Our correspondent learnt that many herders had stormed many communities in Logo, Guma, Kwande, Ado and Agatu councils, among others with herds of cows.
At least 100 people were reportedly killed by herdsmen in Guma and Logo in 2018.
A resident of Gbajimba in Guma council, Jonah Iorundu, said most of the villages in the area had been taken over by herdsmen and their cows.
Iorundu said, “Gboogyo, Terkula villages and the villages bordering Nasarawa State have been taken over by herders and their cows.”
A community leader in Logo council, Joseph Anawah, said, “There has been influx of herdsmen to many communities in Logo Local Government Area since January.
“The herders came with thousands of their cows, so, this has heightened tension in the council. You know what we passed through in 2018.
“There has been no conflict yet because our people have harvested their crops but we pray that as the rainy season sets in and we start planting there will not be any crisis, because that is when their cows eat our crops.”
A resident of Agatu, Tony Audu, said the presence of large herds of cattle is frightening, adding that some people had fled their communities to save their lives.
Audu said, “With the movement of large herds of cattle in our community, we are afraid because it portends danger. We recall the incident of the past years, especially how hundreds of people were murdered.”
The residents called on the security agencies to monitor the activities of the herders.
The Chief Press Secretary to Governor, Terver Akase, alleged that the influx of herdsmen to the state was politically motivated.
He said, “We suspect that the influx of armed herdsmen and their cattle to Benue State is a move by some people who are enemy of peace in the state.
“We may not be accusing a particular person but for political reason, some people have given an open invitation to herdsmen to come to Benue and it is rather unfortunate.
“But the herdsmen themselves should remember that there is a law in Benue State which prohibits open grazing and any of them who violates this law, irrespective of their tribe, would be sanctioned according to the law.
“Nobody is above the law, the law does not respect any person.”
However, the Commander, Operations Whirl Stroke, General Adeyemi Yekini, said troops had been patrolling of every part of state.
He said, “There is no security breach in any part of Benue because our troops are constantly on patrol of the communities, and anywhere they suspect of security breach, the people should report to us or other security agencies.”
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