Nigerians rage over spate of violent killings in Benue


Nigerians on social media have decried the alarming rate of violent killings in Benue State by suspected herders.

Trending the hashtag #BenueUnderAttack on Friday, Nigerian twitter users called the attention of the authorities to gory images as evidence of mass killings.

The middle belt state has been under heavy attack as not less than 200 people have been reportedly killed in the last one month.

Earlier in the week, this newspaper reported how suspected herders attacked Katsina Ala local government area of the state, killing over a hundred residents and rendering many others homeless.

The governor of the state, Samuel Ortom, had repeatedly demanded the federal government’s intervention, noting that the attacks are increasingly overwhelming.

The state government, against the body language of the federal government, said it would not reverse its ban on open grazing.

Mr Ortom has also urged the people to defend themselves against killer herders.

“I’ll no longer announce the deaths of those killed by Fulani herdsmen; rise up and defend yourselves with weapons not prohibited by law, bows and arrows, spears, knives, and similar ones,” Mr Ortom said on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the federal government said instead of banning open grazing, it would commence rehabilitation of grazing reserves.

Presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, on Monday, announced President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval of the rehabilitation of grazing reserves, stating that it would commence in June.

The move is aimed at curbing the bloody clashes between herders and farmers across the country.

But, Mr Ortom, in a swift response, kicked against the plan which he described as a misplaced priority.

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“We find the move not only shocking and curious but also as a misplaced priority,” the governor said through his spokesperson, Terver Akase.

Nevertheless, calls to save the ‘food basket of the nation’ gained national attention on Friday.

Below are reactions

@JajaPhD: The pictures are so gory. It is sad that these vulnerable were killed in their homeland by invaders. But to see how they were butchered like cattle evokes a deeper emotion. No one should die like this. #BenueUnderAttack

Nigeria has a lot of injustice to atone for but on a daily basis, there is even more injustice meted out to those whose only crime is being a combination of poor, innocent and vulnerable. #BenueUnderAttack

Everywhere you turn, you see bloodshed. What is the value of a Nigerian life? What is the value of a Nigerian life in Nigeria? How is it business as usual for the Nigerian government while they fail in their duty to secure lives and properties? #BenueUnderAttack

@KatorTarkaa: There is ethnic cleansing going on in Benue State, but we are deafeningly silent. Hundreds are being killed, and thousands are compelled to flee their homes! Benue is under attack!! #BenueUnderAttack

@KatorTarkaa: As the killings keep rising and nothing substantial is being done, we all in Benue State and the entire Middle Belt may end up losing our lives, our identity and our land if we fail to rise up now! This is a genocide and must be referred to as such!! #BenueUnderAttack

@ FS_Yusuf: Ortom needs to know that terrorists have opened a war on his people and he has to prepare his people to fight and protect themselves. Make we forget all the English wey we dey speak here. All of us dey mad! They are killing innocent Christians in Benue State #BenueUnderAttack

@ebelee: Nigeria is burning more and more everyday and our government is just gonna keep acting without urgency like all is well. How many more people do these herdsmen need to kill before action is taken ? Hundreds of people 1 night ?? I’m sick #BenueUnderAttack

@SirWilliam: Tired of saying #BenueUnderAttack, it’s exhausting.

Killings been going on for years by one group of people, and nobody has been arrested, nobody has been prosecuted.

The solution right now is State Police and arming the citizens, nothing else.

Nigeria will not save us if we keep crying about Herdsmen killings.

We have active Terrorists in Power who share same ideology with the Fulani Militia killing people in Benue.

It’s State Police, armed vigilantes or else Unknown Gunmen will retaliate.

@Renoomokri: Except Benue gets their own Sunday Igboho, these almost daily attacks that have characterised #BenueUnderAttack will continue to happen. If Benue people clash with cows, General @MBuhari will ALWAYS side with cows. Benue needs an Igboho that will side with them.

@RealDonaldDoo: The first time it was reported that our people were being butchered, there was a cry of horror.

Then another hundred were butchered.

But when a thousand were butchered and there was no end to the butchery, a blanket of silence spread.

#BenueUnderAttack

@funshographix: We can no longer fold our hands and watch anymore. #BenueUnderAttack

People are being killed in their lands and the govt is watching.

We don’t have president or leaders . We are on our own in this country.

Nigerians protect yourself with weapons

@Yateghtegh: I’m even scared of traveling within some towns in Benue for the safety of my life and others. The governor is trying but for how long shall we live in fear. Today Naka, tomorrow Agatu, next tomorrow Guma and the score continues.😭😭😭

#BenueUnderAttack

@Oyimzy: Don’t say it is happening in Benue and it doesn’t concern you, when they are done with Benue they will have free access to the south. Lend your voice now!!! #BenueUnderAttack

@Uncle_ajala: I just saw gory pictures of about 36 persons that were killed yesterday in Benue state. I don’t think our lives and security mean anything to President Buhari, because how can over 36 people died in Nigeria and the President isn’t addressing the nation?. #BenueUnderAttack.

@lucky_owoicho: Benue is the food basket Nigeria and majority affected by this herdsmen attack are the farmers.

So imagine a large numbers of them being displaced and no means of farming.

This affects everyone.

#BenueUnderAttack

 

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