Ortom Begs FG to Check Illegal Entry of Herdsmen into Nigeria


George Okoh in Makurdi

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has again appealed the federal government to check the illegal entry of foreign herdsmen into Nigeria.

He claimed that the illegal herdsmen attacked Nigerians, especially farmers.

Ortom made the appeal when he visited one Mrs Wanhena Cheku, a victim of herders attack, now recuperating at the Federal Medical Centre at Apir in Makurdi.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that Cheku’s left hand was cut off in an attack on her farm at Mbagwem community in the Guma Local Government Area of the state.

Benue, described as Nigeria’s food basket, has witnessed repeated bloody attacks on villagers in recent years by herdsmen.

Ortom said it was wrong for foreign herders to gain free entry into the country and perpetrate atrocities at will.

He said the federal government needed to close the country’s borders to all foreign herders to mitigate growing cases of attacks on citizens.

“It is wrong to allow herdsmen from Mali, Niger, Chad, others, to find their way into Nigeria to commit atrocities and go back to their countries. “Most countries in the world will not accept this,” he stated.

Ortom, who was accompanied to the hospital by his wife, Eunice, regretted that Cheku was passing through pains for no crime of hers.

He, however, said that security operatives were on the trail of the herders, who attacked the woman.

“You can imagine the pains the attackers have put this woman into.

“There have been cases of missing persons in the state. If she had died in that jungle where she was attacked, nobody will be talking about her now,” Ortom said.

On the possible closure of IDPs camps in Benue State, Ortom said that most IDPs had returned to farming because they would not continue to remain in the camps forever.

“This is an isolated case, most of our people have gone back to farming and it is also an eye-opener. We will meet the security chiefs to encourage the officers to be more responsive,” he said.