Palpable tension and fear have gripped the people of Logo local government area of Benue State following another round of massive invasion of the area by Fulani herdsmen who burnt several houses and destroyed farm crops belonging to peasant farmers.
The continued invasion of the area came barely two days after Governor Samuel Ortom declared the full take-off of the anti-open grazing law in the state.
Sources from the local government told Saturday Telegraph that the cattle grazers stormed the area in the early hours of yesterday and sacked people from six communities including Tse-Gi, Tse-Jibo, Tse-Abiem, Tse-Aku, Tse-Ajim as well as Tyo-Affiah, burnt down several houses and macheted many others most of whom are receiving treatment in different health centers.
According to the source, the herdsmen who carried sophisticated weapons were freely grazing their cattle on farmlands, adding that crops such as rice, yam, guinea corn, soybeans and cassava among others were eaten up by the cattle.
An eyewitness, Chief Joseph Anawa said scores of local inhabitants who fled the area are taking refuge in the bush and expressed dissatisfaction with the level of security presence in the area calling on both the state and federal governments to deploy soldiers and mobile policemen to the affected communities to protect the lives of the people whom he said are no longer safe.
He stated that due to the attacks, the Taraba State government has deployed dozens of military personnel which has been stationed at the border villages of Arufu and Akwara between the two states to protect her people leaving communities in Benue at the mercy of the invaders.
Chairman of Logo local government area, Mr. Richard Nyajo, who also spoke with New Telegraph confirmed the burning of houses and destruction of crops by the herders.
Mr. Nyajo said the herdsmen were still grazing their cattle on farmlands of the people and added however that security had been beefed up at the affected communities and appealed to his subjects to be calm in the face of the provocation.
Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Lawrence Onoja (Jnr) said local government chairmen across the 23 local government areas of the state as well traditional rulers have been mandated to ensure full enforcement of the law.
He disclosed that a law aimed at strengthening the implementation of the law know as Benue Guards Law has been passed by the state House of Assembly to ensure that youths in the state are “heavily involved in the successful implementation of the law”.
Onoja stated that designated places where seized cattle will be kept have been created and urged people of the state not to take laws into their hands to perpetrate violence.
Meanwhile, the police have drafted their men to Ayilamo, headquarters of the local government to help maintain peace, the State Command’s Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Moses Yamu said.
Yamu said the detachment is a Joint Task Force team made up of soldiers, the police and Civil Defense Corps and are deployed at strategic locations.
Read more at New Telegraph.