Herdsmen kill three policemen, eight villagers in Nasarawa
According to the Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Ismaila Usman, the security operatives from the Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS) were ambushed and murdered while on a mission to restore normalcy in the area following the persisting crisis between the Agatu and the Fulani herdsmen.
Usman told newsmen in Lafia that the conflict was precipitated by the shooting in the foot of a Fulani by an Agatu man who, he claimed, later made away with his Baja motorcycle. According to him, a reprisal from the herders led to the large-scale skirmish.
He said: “The Fulani launched a reprisal, but the attention of the police was drawn to the incident and we quickly swung into action to ensure normalcy return to the area, but unfortunately, they ambushed and killed three of our men.”
The police spokesman, who listed the victims as a senior officer, an inspector and a sergeant, added that no arrests had been made.
He, however, said a team of policemen, headed by an Assistant Commissioner (ACP) had been deployed in the area to restore order.
The paramount ruler of Agatu chiefdom, Alhaji Ahmed Kwanaki, in an interview, named the late eight residents as Sale Ozala; Oyigoso Sale; Danladi Joko; Abdulahi Musa; Adamu Haruna; Musa Adamu; Yakubu Sale, and Shehu Sabo (Bassa man).
However, Catholic faithful have taken to the streets of Owerri, the Imo State capital to protest against the orgy of killings nationwide.
Led by priests, the placard-carrying protesters during the protest, sanctioned by the Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Owerri Archdiocese, Dr. Anthony Obinna, donned black attire as well as carried rosaries and other materials of worship.
The walk resulted in human and traffic gridlocks on major streets within the metropolis.
A priest later told The Guardian that “The Catholic community is unhappy with the insecurity in the land which claimed two priests and 17 parishioners in Benue State recently.”
Meanwhile, Benue governor, Samuel Ortom, has refuted insinuations that he collected N40 billion from an organisation, World Nations Development Programme (WNDP), to enable it build housing estates in the communities ravaged by herdsmen’s attacks in the state.
He made the refutal yesterday when the Agatu people, led by the Och’Agatu, HRH Godwin Onah, visited him at the Benue People’s House in Makurdi. The delegation was at the State House to demand for compensation.
His words: “The rumour is baseless and concocted from the pit of hell by mischief makers aimed at tarnishing my image.
‘’Neither me nor the Programme Coordinator, Dr. Noah Adeboh, collected any dime from WNDP. They are going to execute the project at no cost from the villagers or government.”
The governor said the organisation executing the projects in Agatu, Guma and Kwande council areas was non-governmental and non-profit. He added that WNDP was to build 2000 units of two bedrooms for the benefit of the communities.
Ortom regretted that Agatu youths were opposing the projects for compensation to be paid them before anything could be done on their land.
The governor asked the traditional rulers in the area to call the youths to order, noting that as father of the state, he was giving them a second chance to retrace their steps else the project would be relocated.
He said: “The fight over land and fish pond must end and we will not apply the stick approach now but after this grace period, we will apply the stick.
“I want Agatu to be developed and that was the reason I awarded the road from Oshugbudu to Ogbagaji and others.’’
The project coordinator, Adeboh, sought security to enable work proceed unhindered in the area.
The leader of delegation and monarch, Onah apologised and pleaded with the governor not to relocate the project.
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