Benue State Security Council has ordered that security agents in the state should immediately search out armed herdsmen who invaded Mbatoho Island in Makurdi, the state capital.
As a result of the attack, it was reported that thousands of farmers have been rendered homeless when armed herdsmen invaded Mbatoho and ordered the residents to vacate their homes.
The state Governor Samuel Ortom addressing displaced residence during a meeting with Security Council in the state on Tuesday promised that security agents will swing into action immediately, he also insisted that the open grazing prohibition law will not be repelled.
The leader of the displaced Mbatoho Island residents, Silvanus Ortaver earlier before the meeting claimed that the armed herdsmen gave them the option of leaving their homes or be killed.
“The Fulanis came and said we should vacate the Island because the Tiv’s do not want them to graze their cattle. So we should move out of the area because it is secured enough for them to stay and operate”
“Now we have moved out of that area, about five thousand Tiv people lived on the Island and since the invasion, we have been living with Mr John Kwuka on Ahmadu Bello way here in Makurdi,” Ortaver said.
One of the caregivers for the displaced farmers, Josephine Habba said he wondered how criminality persists in Benue State despite Exercise Cat Race by the military.
“You cannot say that we have operation Ayem Akpatuma in the state while these people have been displaced. They (the herdsmen) have the power to send them out. They did not kill. They came and chased them out and took over the place, I mean, that is conquering as far as am concerned,” Habba said.
Governor Ortom also conveyed the decision of the Security Council meeting to the displaced Mbatoho Island residents with directives to the State Emergency Management Agency to see to their welfare.
“We just came out of a security meeting today. The Mbatoho community attack and displacement by these mercenary herdsmen featured extensively and we have taken steps.
I believe that within the week the security agencies should swing into action and ensure we chase away all the killer herdsmen and mercenary herdsmen that invaded your land,” Ortom said.
Five thousand Mabtoho Island farmers from Makurdi local government, many of whom are nursing mothers, children and the elderly, are reportedly displaced after the invasion by herdsmen and are taking refuge in one of relations’ home in Makurdi.