Protesters barricade road over killings in Benue

Indigenes of Gwer West Local Government Area of Benue State trooped out Tuesday evening and blocked the Makurdi-Naka road to protest killings.

About 26 people in three communities were killed in the council area by bandits suspected to be herdsmen.

The Local Government Area Chairman, Henry Agba, informed our correspondent that the attack which commenced on Saturday lasted till Monday leading to the death of 26 people including six personnel of Benue State Community Volunteer Guards and Livestock Guards.

The residents who trooped out to protest accused the state government of not implementing the Anti-Open Grazing Law.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Governor, Sam Ode, on March 6, 2024, announced the full enforcement of the anti-open grazing law after the expiration of 14 14-day ultimatum given to armed herders and those grazing openly in the state to vacate.

The protesters who carried several placards with different inscriptions, called on the Federal and State Governments to protect the people against armed herders.

One of the protesters, a former local government chairman of Gwer West, Francis Ayagah, called on the federal government to ensure the safety of his people.

He said, “The renewed insecurity in the area was a result of the failure of Governor Hyacinth Alia’s administration to enforce the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of Benue State, which allows herders to move freely with their cows and arms, which are used to attack the people.”

Also, Titus Numzua, a protester who hails from Seghev/Yegev council ward where all three attacks occurred, disclosed that the influx of herdsmen in the area had complicated the security situation of many communities in Gwer West.

He also called on the federal government to ensure the safety of the people and asked the governor to provide logistic support to security agencies, the Benue State Livestock Guards, and the Community Volunteer Guards to complement the conventional security agents to ensure peace returns to Gwer West.

The Senator representing Benue North West Senatorial District, Dr. Titus Zam, while sympathizing with the victims, condemned the coordinated attacks on some of his constituents which led to the death of many people.

Also, the member representing Gwer East/Gwer West Federal Constituency, Arc. Dr. Asema Achado has condemned the gruesome murder of his constituents and called on the Benue State Government to enforce the law prohibiting open grazing and also ensure the perpetrators of the dastardly act are brought to book.

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