Two Senators from Benue State, Chief Barnabas Gemade and George Akume, have decried the alleged complicity of the army in recent Fulani herdsmen attacks in parts of the middle-belt state and have called on the President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration to urgently wade into the matter.
In separate reactions to the frequent attacks by Fulani herdsmen in parts of the state, Gemade, who is Chairman, Senate Committee on National Planning, urged the federal government to immediately carry out a thorough probe with the aim of not only putting a stop to the attacks but also bring the perpetrators to book.
Gemade, the member representing Benue North-East Senatorial District, in a statement by his media aide, Benji Ugba Uyeh, said that the attention of the senator has been drawn to recent Fulani herdsmen attacks on Logo, Katsina-Ala and Kwande local government areas in the Benue North-East Senatorial District.
According to Gemade, the attackers, “killed and injured dozens in Tyobibi-Gbetim, Anybe-Azege, Genyi, Dwem, Awashua, Tse-Nyaki and Anyiin in Logo local government area; Jato Aka, Yaase, Waya and Inyamate in Kwande local government area as well as Sai and some other communities in Yooyo Ward of Katsina-Ala local government area”.
The former Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, national chairman said that “more worrisome” to him “is also the fact that Nigerian Army troops were allegedly involved in the mayhem in Jato Aka, where they were said to have seized and burnt over a hundred motorcycles belonging to members of the Benue Motorcycle Association under the guise that their men had been attacked”.
The federal government, he said, should “immediately step into the matter and cause a thorough investigation, with the intent to not only stop these attacks but also to bring the perpetrators to book”.
In his own reaction, Akume, who is a two-term governor of the state, said that “The attacks on the communities we represent at the National Assembly are being carried out by well-armed groups. Survivors of these vicious attacks have told us that their attackers have automatic weapons in their possession that are far superior to those of the police.
“Even as I am talking to you now, I am receiving constant reports about internally displaced persons (IDPs) from these affected areas”.
The Senate Minority Leader noted that there is a need for the state government and the emergency relief agencies to organise massive relief efforts for those who have been displaced by the crisis, adding that a good number of these victims are at the moment taking refuge in school buildings, abandoned and uncompleted houses.
“There are no medical facilities for them and there is fear of an impending outbreak of epidemics. We are now faced with a humanitarian situation of monumental proportions”, he stated.