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Ortom wants borders closed against killer herders

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Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has called on the Federal Government to close borders against foreign Fulani herdsmen who troop into the country to kill innocent citizens.

Ortom said this while at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Makurdi, to visit Mrs. Grace Zeku whose hand was chopped off by herders in her farm in Guma Council of the state.

He lamented that it was only in Nigeria that foreigners were allowed to enter and terrorise the citizens, stressing the urgent need for the country to take stock of all foreign herders in the country.

According to Ortom, ranching remains the best way to check activities of the herders, militia, and mercenaries who come to commit atrocities against the citizens.

His words, “The only way we can separate good herdsmen from bad ones is when they keep their animals in ranches.

“If what has happened to this woman was done in a ranch, we could have known how to trace the person and arrest him.

“But right now, you can’t find these people and if you ask, they will say they are from Niger or Mali.”

Ortom further said that though Benue had become relatively peaceful compared to 2018, there were still isolated cases of violent attacks by herders in some communities.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to update Nigerians on the story making the rounds that the rejected settlements scheme for Fulani herders known as Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) had started being implemented by other means.

The pro-democracy non-governmental organisation also dismissed as insufficient the explanation by Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State that the scheme had not commenced in the state, even when trending video recordings showed the suspicious state-sponsored forceful relocation of Fulani-speaking persons into a community in the state.

It added that the embargo on criticism of Buhari that Umahi imposed on his people made him an interested party who had lost the independence to speak for the South East.

HURIWA, in a statement signed by the national coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, in Abuja yesterday, faulted the heavy security that escorted the new Fulani settlers in Ebonyi as shown by the video and confirmed by witnesses.

According to the rights group, freedom of movement for all Nigerians did not specify that citizens from other ethnoreligious affiliations could be resettled in other parts of the country even in suspicious circumstances.


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