<<< By Jimin Geoffrey >>>
The Nigerian Union of Journalists, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN headquarters chapel, Abuja has called on the Federal Government to step up humanitarian services in Benue to alleviate the sufferings of the displaced people.
Chairman of the union, Comrade Chukwuma Agbanusi made the call today at the Benue Peoples House, Makurdi when he led other executive members on a courtesy visit to Governor Samuel Ortom.
He decried the wanton destruction of lives and property in the state by militia herdsmen since 2011, noting that resources of the state could not cater for the about 200,000 displaced persons in various camps, hence the need for the FG, organizations and public spirited individuals to come in.
While acknowledging the massacres in Agatu, Guma and Logo, Gwer West, Kwande and Gwer East local government areas, Comrade Agbanusi said the N10 billion earmarked for rehabilitation of IDPs in herdsmen crisis ridden states was not enough even for only Benue as the estimated losses far outweighed the allocated funds.
He consoled Governor Ortom, the government and people of the state over the senseless killings and called on security agencies to address the insecurity in the Benue Valley.
Responding, Governor Ortom said preliminary assessments revealed losses estimated at N400 billion in the renewed herdsmen crisis in the state, stressing that sponsors of attacks on Benue communities were known and should be arrested.
The Governor stated that in 2014 alone when 53 of his kinsmen were killed in one attack on his community by herdsmen and his houses and farms destroyed, damage estimated at N95 billion was recorded.
He stated that the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law was meant to project Benue and Nigeria to the 21st century method of animal husbandry which is practiced globally.
Governor Ortom appreciated Nigerians and the media for their support to Benue people since the renewed attacks, noting that their endorsement of the law was a sign of victory for Benue people.
He expressed the hope that the Operation Whirl Stroke ongoing in the state would soon chase the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore sponsored militia herdsmen out of the state and abate the senseless killings.