Alleged herdsmen’s attack stirs anxiety in Benue
Palpable fear has gripped Akpagodogbo-Otukpa community in Ogbadibo Council of Benue State following Wednesday’s clash between the indigenes and herdsmen which left no fewer than three people dead. The mid-noon skirmish also resulted in injuries on several others.
Some of the locals, who craved anonymity, told The Guardian that cattle herders had invaded farmlands with their animals eating up crops, leading to the farmers who were still around at 4:00p.m., to chase them away.
It was, however, gathered that the herdsmen reinforced and attacked the local farmers in the night, resulting in the death of three persons – two from locals and a herdsman.
The community’s traditional ruler, HRH Solomon Ekele who confirmed the incident to our reporter, condemned the act in its entirety.However, former Minister of State for Education and an indigene, Professor Jerry Agada, has decried the incident.
He said: “Our people have lived with herdsmen for a long time even we have inter-married and any time you interact with the Fulani in our community, they tell us that they are indigenes.”
But, the state police public relations officer (PRO), ASP Moses Yamu, said no life was lost.In the meantime, university teachers, experts as well as herders and locals have met with a view to proffering last solutions to the menace.
The dons specifically stated that the National Animal Production and Research Institute at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria had been holding workshops with the main parties on modernising animal husbandry and farming.They noted that the menace could be mitigated if the herders embrace ranching.
The stakeholders lamented that the “conflicts between farmers and herdsmen over the years have led to loss of thousands of lives and property worth millions of naira across nationwide, with cases rising yearly.”
They stressed that “livestock and farming are an economic mainstay for many families across northern Nigeria, with 80 per cent of them keeping at least one or two animals to fall back on during hard times.”