Ending serial herders attacks in Idoma land


For years now, the Benue State has been at the receiving end of unwarranted attacks by herders. They invade farming communities, destroy farmlands and crops, their cows eat up harvests of toiling peasants who till and plant during the raining season, nurture their farms to harvest season. In all of these, the people of Idomaland have suffered as major victims.

Specifically, Agatu/Apa axis remains a flash point in herders-farmers conflict in Nigeria. Gradually, and in recent times, it has spread to Adoka, Ugboju, Umogidi, villages around Oturkpo under Oturkpo Local Government and extending to other communities in that axis.

Every now and then, news and gory images of slit and butchered bodies of armless peasants, including women, children, aged people, young men, destroyed farms and harvests, etc.

Last year, the people of Agatu and Apa reportedly started faming farming very because many of them – if not most – were hurdled up at the miserable internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps in Ugbokpo, the Apa Local Government, Adoka Centre and others places.

The import of the psychological effects of these experiences on the people is simply unimaginable. Benue as the food basket of the nation is in deed and not a catch phrase or a nick name.

What this means is that the people of Benue hate begging for food. Unfortunately, that is what living in IDPs without food, water, means of livelihood, and depending on help from donors and good Samaritans have subjected them to then and now.

It is rather unfortunate that the narrative on the Benue nay Idomaland invasion by attackers, either foreign or local, is a very complex one. The Fulani grazing colony agenda is very real in the North Central and from Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Kogi and so on, there are marks of official collaboration with terrorists to come and successfully unleash terror on the people, grab their crops and green land for cows to feed on.

Recently, the Benue State governor, Father Alia, has cried out that some Benue indigenes, exploiting the political tension between the governor and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator George Akume, connive with herders and terrorists to come and attack the state, whether for political or financial gains. How sad!

We are sometimes constrained as a newspaper house to note the inconsistent, if not suspicious roles of the security agencies in the situation. This is a persistent situation (because the security reports are there), why then are innocent people killed and their communities destroyed before intervention of security personnel?

Why does it seem that there is a rather neutral, if not nonchalant attitude of the federal government in the security situation in Benue and Idomaland in several instances? This was the dominant grouse and lamentation of the immediate past Governor Samuel Ortom.

We want to make it clear to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his administration: he can get rid of hunger, reorder this economic misfortunes of his government, as well as strengthen his political machinery by securing and stabilising Benue and the North Central, which Agatu-Apa is a strategic location as a major link between the North and the South.

This is a strategic political and economic option for President Tinubu. He can, but will he?