Killers of Benue people carrying out attacks on Communities in Benue and Nasarawa States in North Central Nigeria have given conditions to suspend killings and destructions in the state.
The attacks which began on the eve of January, 2018 have left hundreds of people dead particularly among the Tiv speaking Communities in Benue and Nasarawa States in Central Nigeria.
The Head of the National Executive Council Subcommittee on herders attacks and Governor of Ebonyi State, Mr. David Umahi said this in Makurdi on Tuesday after series of meetings with all parties in Benue and Nasarawa States.
Key into the implementation
Addressing Journalists in Makurdi, Governor Umahi said the prime suspects were herdsmen who were reportedly accepting to obey the Anti Open Grazing Law but had asked for more time to enable them key into the implementation process.
According to Governor Umahi, the herdsmen also urged the Federal Government to adopt animal husbandry as part of its agricultural program.
Umahi who read the position of the committee to newsmen explained that the herdsmen expressed commitment to lay down their arms pointing out that the problem of invasion by undocumented herdsmen from other parts of West Africa was extensively discussed.
The subcommittee reaffirmed its resolve to pursue peace, embark on disarmament of militia groups as well as ensure the arrest of those habouring militia and the need to support security agencies to ensure the arrest of those in possession of fire arms.
Umahi said there were about two million hectares of land in 13 States of Northern Nigeria earmarked for grazing reserve out of which one million hectares have been gazetted and developed.
He urged the herdsmen to make use of the already gazetted and developed grazing reserves and maintained that states that had already commenced the implementation of the Anti Open Grazing Law were at liberty to operate their laws.
The committee had visited Benue and Nasarawa states on a fact finding mission where they discovered about 117, 000 displaced people in seven (IDP) camps in Benue and 25,000 IDPs in Nasarawa state.
He called on the federal government to immediately direct the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA ) to Benue and Nasarawa States with relief materials to mitigate the impact of the hardship faced by the IDPs.
Governor Umahi who described the condition of the IDP camps as very pathetic observed that in all the camps across the two states, children between ages four and eight years old constituted over 80 percent of the IDPs.
He commended the Governor of Benue state, Mr. Samuel Ortom for the bold steps towards ensuring peace in the state and for sharing opinion and information on how best to resolve the issues.
“Both governors of Benue and Nasarawa States are very committed to peace as testified by security agencies. We have confirmed that both governors share opinion and information and there is no crises between them. We also observed that Benue people are so passionate about their law and the situation is beyond the wish of the governor of the state”, noted Governor Umahi.
“We also observed that Security agencies are already implementing the law in Benue as 32 herdsmen have been arrested and standing trial and are very neutral in carrying out their duty. We commend security agencies for the level of deployment even though there is need for more deployment to enable urgent decongestion of the camps”.
Umahi who said the claims that Benue belonged to Fulani by conquest was never made but was carried out by social media also stated that, “In our own conviction, we believe that Benue has the right to make laws and whoever stays in Benue State has the duty to obey the law and the responsibility to dialogue with the state if they feel the law will not favour them.”