The government of Benue State, on Wednesday, February 28, 2018, disclosed that armed Fulani herdsmen had sacked close to 5,000 residents of Mbatoho Island, at Mbalagh council ward of Makurdi local government and occupied the vast land.
The herdsmen were also reported to have razed the homes of the locals after sacking them and caused the cows to graze on farmlands and food barns of the fleeing locals.
Lawrence Onoja Jnr, the Benue State information commission, who made this known to journalist in Makurdi, said the invaders had completely taken over the Island adding that the government had directed security personnel to push back the invaders.
According to the commission, “our findings when the security adviser to the governor, Paul Hemba led a team to Island, indicated that for sometime in the last few days there has been serious influx of herdsmen into Benue especially along Agatu, Guma, Logo, Katsina/Ala local government areas and communities bordering Nasarawa state especially.
“It was in course of this influx that groups of herdsmen three days ago went to Mbatoho Island, at Mbalagh council ward of Makurdi local government area and sacked the locals from their homes.
“The people fled from Island and the herdsmen took over the community. When the team got there it was discovered that the herdsmen were feeding their cattle on the farm produce of the people and all they had in their barns.
“Governor Samuel Ortom has been in constant touch with security personnel who have mobilized to the Island and have been directed to push back the herdsmen.
“Unfortunately the Exercise Ayem A’ Akpatuma recently launched by the military in the state to end the herdsmen incursion in the state does not cover that area because it is an Island completely surrounded by water.
“However, security personnel have been mobilized to the island to move the herdsmen out so that the people can move back to their community.”