MBF advocates civilian JTF in Benue to counter killer herders
Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has advised the Benue State government and security agencies to engage communities and form a Joint Task Force (JTF) comprising security personnel and locals to counter attacks by armed herdsmen.
This was contained in a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Isuwa Dogo.
It had expressed shock after a recent armed attack by suspected herders on Waya in Jato-Aka and Mbanyiar communities of Kwande and Guma councils of Benue.
Dogo said the strategy was aimed at forestalling future attacks, even as he urged Benue citizens to be prepared to defend themselves against aggression.
“While the attack on Waya in Jato-Aka led to the death of four persons, the Mbanyiar attack led to the rape of three women, including the district head’s wife.
“Before these attackers bared their fangs of on these peaceful communities, Governor Samuel Ortom had raised the alarm on the influx of thousands of herdsmen into the state and called on the Federal Government security agencies to intervene,” he said.
The forum’s spokesman observed that there was a deliberate ploy to disturb the peace of Benue citizens and throw the state into another round of bloodshed, considering the destruction that accompanied the attacks.
“That these suspected herdsmen have continued to terrorise the state despite the alarm raised by the governor indicates that there may be a force that is irrevocably committed to undermining the rule of law to provoke another bout of violence.
“As a socio-cultural organisation representing the interests of ethnic nationalities living in the Middle Belt region, we view the current onslaught against these Benue communities as a scheme aimed at decimating our communities and gradual entrenchment of anarchy on the state.
“There is no justification for the present violence across various parts of the state after the Benue State House of Assembly had passed a law banning open grazing,” he added.
Lamenting that there were only 35 police personnel in Kwande Council, he called on the Federal Government to deploy more personnel to rein in the activities of these attackers.
“In this wise, security organisations engaged in keeping the peace in Benue should spare no effort in taking the battle to the bandits before they unleash collateral damage on our people.”