Why herdsmen invaded Benue communities after general elections – Govt

BENUE State Government has given a two-week ultimatum to herdsmen who invaded rural communities after the 2023 general elections to leave the state.

About 130 villagers were reportedly killed and several communities plundered last week when the state witnessed renewed attacks by suspected armed herdsmen.

Governor Samuel Ortom had on Tuesday, April 11, suspended the operations of Livestock Guards, the state’s security outfit that prosecutes herdsmen and impounds cattle for violating the Benue anti-open grazing law.

“The action is part of measures to ensure that all those who invaded the state with cattle leave so that Benue people would have peace and go about their legitimate and lawful businesses”, according to a statement by Ortom’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Terver Akase, on Wednesday, April 12.

The statement added that the suspension of the security outfit “is only a grace period” to reduce the influx of herdsmen and cattle into the state.

Akase who was clarifying the suspension of the Livestock Guards, said “majority of the pastoralists who came into the state said that after the February 25 and March 18, 2023 elections, they were told that a new government was in place in Benue State and the ban on open grazing of cattle had been lifted”.

He noted that the misinformation paved the way for herdsmen and cattle to move into the state without hindrance.

Meanwhile, reacting to the development in an interview with The ICIR,  the director of publicity of the Arewa Youth For Peace and Security, Salihu Mahmoud, said Ortom’s decision to suspend the operations of the Livestock Guards is politically motivated.

“Benue State does not have any approved grazing route for herdsmen. For you to suspend grazing, you must have a legal grazing route across the state from Benue to Makurdi,” Mahmoud said.



    Earlier, The ICIR reported that after a period of relative calm in the build up to the recently concluded 2023 general elections in Nigeria, killings, abductions and other forms of violent attacks on defenceless Nigerians have resumed.

    The development is brewing concerns and anxiety among citizens. At least, 364 deaths resulting from no fewer than 97 violent attacks have been recorded across the country since the general elections was rounded up with the governorship and state assembly elections on March 18.

    These figures are based on an analysis of data collected by the Nigeria Security Tracker (NST), which has monitored insecurity in the country since 2011 through local press reports.

    The data which was accessed by The ICIR on April 11 shows the significant resurgence of killings and kidnapping across the country. The incidents recorded range from bandit attacks, farmer-herder clashes, unknown gunmen attacks on security operatives, and Boko Haram attacks, among others.

    Sinafi Omanga is a journalist with The ICIR. His Twitter handle is @OmangaSinafi and Email: [email protected]

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