By Abraham Uwuasom
Following the coming into force of the Law prohibiting open grazing of livestock in Benue State on 1st November, 2017, the Benue State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a statement by Bemgba Iortyom, the party’s Publicity Secretary, raised alarm over the killing of Ortse Kwaghdom as a result of the presence of large numbers of Fulani herdsmen in Gaambe-Tiev area of Logo LGA of Benue State.
According to Benue PDP, “The herdsmen had since the signing into effect of the Law by Gov. Samuel Ortom in May this year, kicked against it openly and threatened to resist its enforcement, their grouse being that it curtails their preferred traditional practice of grazing cattle openly, albeit that such has over the years resulted in their visiting death and destruction of farming in the state.
“Their massing in Gaambe-Tiev was therefore, viewed as portending possible violence, and PDP had called on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct relevant security agencies to move to avert any acts of violence and aggression against the people in the areas under possible threat from the massing herdsmen.
“We had equally urged Gov. Ortom to maintain due vigilance and keep in touch with those communities under threat of being attacked by the herdsmen.”Bemgba said.
But reports coming in from Gaambe-Tiev indicate that Fulani herdsmen have commenced armed violence against the people of the area, with one person by name Ortse Kwaghdom of Tombo Council Ward reportedly shot and killed by the herdsmen.
“We condemn in strongest possible terms this death of one more Benue citizen which ought to have been avoided by government.
“We reiterate that President Buhari must make a break with his customary non-chalance and deafening silence on the violence being meted on helpless peasant farmers by Fulani herdsmen, and not only for the first time condemn this in totality, but also activate necessary security measures with all dispatch to protect the lives and properties of Benue people from the violent herdsmen.” Benue PDP said in a statement.
The statement further stated that, “It is unacceptable that human lives should be submitted so cheaply to the whims of the nomadic herdsmen who are bent on perpetuating a lawless and unprofitable practice of openly grazing their cattle on the farms and natural resources which are the basic livelihoods of others.
“A government cannot hold any genuine claim to legitimacy where it fails to guarantee the security of the lives and properties of those living within its domain.
Government, both at the federal and state levels, must put a stop to the wanton destruction of Benue lives and properties by nomadic herdsmen.” It concluded.