Reps urge FG to disarm herdsmen invading Benue, others

Herdsman kill police inspector in Kebbi
United Bank for Africa

The House of Representatives on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to institute a Presidential Task Force to commence immediate disarmament of armed herdsmen in Benue and other parts of the country.

The House also resolved to set up an Ad-hoc Committee to examine measures taken by security agencies in the country to curb the menace.

The resolutions followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Rep. Emmanuel Orker-Jev (Benue-APC) and 10 others.

Presenting the motion, Orker-Jev condemned the invasion of communities in Buruku local government area of Benue by armed and strange herdsmen on March 9.

According to him, the herdsmen destroyed farms, plundered yam barns and looted houses deserted by innocent and harmless villagers.

Orker-Jev further explained that the invading herdsmen became violent and destructive, created fear and tension which forced residents of most communities in Binev council ward to flee their homes.

He said the herdsmen attacked and killed anybody they encountered around the communities of Ber Awuna, Dogo, Ortese – Mbashian, Tse Igyu, Tse Gebe, Anbighir, Tse Iwa, Gbaikyo, Agudu, Nyorum, Shonto and Abuku communities.

“These violent attacks continued unabated without any intervention from any security agency throughout Saturday and 20 people were reported killed by these armed herdsmen, out of which 10 corpses have so far been recovered and deposited at the local government.

“These strange herdsmen who are heavily armed with sophisticated weapons, seem to be operating or supported by a killer squad of mercenaries,” he added.

The lawmaker, who said the attack had become a perennial occurrence, called for the arrest of perpetrators in order to restore security in the state.

Rep. Adamu Entonu (Benue-PDP) urged the Federal Government to brand the herdsmen terrorists and treat them as such.

“It is very annoying that since the attacks started, no one has been arrested,” Entonu said.

Rep. Baballe Bashir (Kano-APC) said that the herdsmen attacks started over 20 years ago.

“Nigeria has herdsmen from different tribes and tackling the issue is the concern of every Nigerian.

“Unfortunately, it is a systemic failure on the previous governments for the inability to curb the menace,” Bashir said.

Rep. Herman Hembe (Benue-APC) said “government has not shown willingness to address the issue.

“Ordinarily our communities would have accommodated them, but the damage they cause brings to question what their intentions are.

“That is not how we ought to move as a nation; we need to take conscious decisions towards addressing the issue,” Hembe added

The House therefore urged the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to send food and other relief materials to the affected communities.

The matter was referred to the Committee on Special Duties which is expected to report back to the House in two weeks.