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BENUE State Governor Samuel Ortom has charged residents to get licences for dane guns and defend themselves against gun-wielding Fulani herdsmen.
Ortom, who spoke at an inter-denominational church service held at the government house in Makurdi on Sunday, said the licence to own a dane gun could be obtained at various local government secretariats in the state.
While stating that he would no longer announce the death of anyone killed by Fulani herdsmen in the state, he charged the people to defend themselves with weapons not prohibited by law.
“I will 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 and knives,” he said.
“Get a licence for dane guns from local government chairmen and use them to defend yourselves.
“God assured me some time back that as long as I lived within the circle of his presence, no weapon fashioned against me shall prosper.”
The governor’s statement is coming amidst the rising insecurity between farmers and herders in the state.
The clashes have continued unabated despite efforts by the state government to outlaw open grazing in the state.
In April, worried about the killings of seven persons by suspected herdsmen during an attack on an internally displaced persons (IDPs) camp in the Abagena community area of the state, Ortom had called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on security in the state.
At least, 100 people were reportedly killed in four council wards of the Kastina-Ala Local Government Area of the state after gunmen unleashed terror on communities on Saturday.
A spokesman for the Kastina-Ala Council Chairman Tertsea Benga, who disclosed this in a statement on Monday, said over 100 dead bodies had been recovered from many villages in the four council wards.
According to him, most of the corpses were recovered from the bush. He noted that houses of residents in the affected areas were also burnt down by the gunmen.
Benga listed the initially affected villages to include Vingir, Tse Nyipila and Tse Guji all in Mbayongo ward, adding that the attackers proceeded to Kenvanger in Mbatyula council ward on Sunday afternoon.
Benga further recalled that half of the communities in one of the affected localities, Yooyo council ward in the same Katsina-Ala LGA, had earlier been sacked by the alleged armed invaders who killed many people then and in the latest invasion.
He blamed the attack on the collaboration between suspected armed herders and ‘Gana boys’ (loyalists of the slain Benue criminal kingpin Terwase Akwaza, popularly known as ‘Gana’), adding that security personnel, though doing their best, were, however, overwhelmed.