- Says govt’s indecision encouraging further attacks
Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
The Benue State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), wednesday filed a complaint at the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) over the alleged killings and wanton destruction of property by the Fulani herdsmen in Benue State.
Receiving the complaint at the NHRC’s Headquarters in Abuja, the Executive Secretary of the commission, Prof. Bem Angwe, said: “It is sad that these killings and destruction of property have continued over time and a lot of people have lost their lives as a result of these numerous attacks.”
He promised that the commission would carry out an impartial investigation into the matter and also ensure that justice prevailed at the end of the day.
Angwe called on the federal and state governments to take proactive steps to restore peace to the affected families to avert hunger as the farmers whose produce feed the nation, could no longer go to their farms for fear of attacks.
Continuing, he said, “The commission condemns in very strong terms the attacks that are today going on between pastoralists and farmers.”
He said the commission was taking proactive steps within its mandate to protect the rights of Nigerians and other nationals living in the country.
While calling on all hands to be on deck to curb the incessant clashes between farmers and herdsmen, he noted that “the nation is beset with security and economic challenges and to add hunger to the situation would be disastrous.”
Earlier, the CAN Chairman, Benue State chapter, Rev. Augustine Akpen Leva, had expressed dismay at what it described as the failure of government to curb the incessant, unwarranted killings and wanton destruction of property allegedly perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen against the people of Benue State.
He told the commission that: “These mindless killings and invasion of the land reached its climax from 2013 and are advancing with sporadic and regular attacks here and there. The worst affected local government area so far are: Agatu, Markurdi (Adaka, Adeke, Adem, Upahar, Tse-Kwaghbo, Apir and Mbalagah communities. Others are Gwer-West, Logo, Katsina-Ala, Kwande and Guma (Tse-Oragbo and Tse-Anundu) and Tarka Buruku etc.
He demanded adequate compensation from the federal and state government to assuage the feelings of the people whom he noted had been so traumatised and dehumanised following the series of attacks unleashed on them from time to time.
He regretted that the herdsmen were equipped with sophisticated weapons and that, “it is a fact that the continued attacks, which are evidently encouraged by the indecision of government, are clearly jihadist attempts, calculated at forcefully Islamising and subjugating the people of Benue State.”