—As Benue Bids Farewell To Okpokwu 26
<<< By Jimin Geoffrey >>>
Governor Samuel Ortom has decried the amount of bloodshed in Benue State due to the atrocities meted on Benue farmers by Fulani herdsmen.
He was speaking today at St. Bernard’s Primary School Ugwu-Okpoga in Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue during a funeral service in honour of 26 victims of herdsmen attacks in Omusu and Okana communities.
Governor Ortom reiterated his call on security agencies to arrest the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore whom he said were the sponsors of the killings in the state based on comments credited to them and published in various media houses.
The Governor while consoling the bereaved families, said the death of the victims and many others would put an end to the massacre of Benue people.
He stated that the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law had come to stay in Benue, noting that there was no land for open grazing and crop farming to go on concurrently.
Governor Ortom assured Benue people that his administration would continue to respond swiftly to security challenges, adding that data were being gathered for compensation for damages caused by herdsmen attacks in Benue.
In separate remarks, state Deputy Governor, Engr. Benson Abounu, Deputy Speaker of the State Assembly, Hon. James Okefe, representative of Bishop Apochi, Rev. Fr. John Attah among others expressed appreciation to Governor Ortom for his support to the bereaved families and pledged their support for the ranching law.
On their part, the three sociocultural groups in the state who spoke through Mr. Omele Amali and the representative of Movement Against Fulani Occupation, MAFO, Pastor Dave Ogbole said they saw the attacks coming and reported to relevant authorities but nothing was done to avert the massacre.
While expressing disappointment with the federal government over its inactions towards the killings, Pastor Ogbole called on the international community to rise up and stop a repeat of Rwanda in Nigeria, adding that the resort by Benue people to remain law abiding should not be mistaken for cowardice.
In a sermon, Chairman Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Benue State Chapter, Rev. Akpen Leva prayed God to grant the Governor and the entire Benue people the strength to overcome the menace of herdsmen attacks.