At least one thousand seven hundred and seventy-three innocent persons have been killed in Benue State by Fulani herdsmen between 2018 till date, Local Government Chairmen in the state have revealed.
Local Government Chairmen and leaders of socio-cultural organisations in the state made the revelation on Monday during a press conference in Makurdi the state capital.
According to them, the casualties reflect just the number of corpses recovered from different attacks across the state.
The local leaders noted that the armed herdsmen had taken the advantage of open grazing to carry out the gruesome killing of peasant farmers who were only working on their farmlands.
The council bosses further lamented the negative impact of open grazing which according to them have resulted in attacks on communities in different parts of Benue State.
They stressed that the sad events have adversely affected the local economy as farmers are prevented from accessing their farms and local markets are also deserted for fear of imminent invasion by the killers.
Speaking at the conference, Ukum council boss, Steve Ayua, said the herdsmen no longer come to the state with their cattle but with AK-47 rifle.
He said, “It is on record that open grazing has led to the invasion of farming communities by Fulani herdsmen leading to massive killings and maiming of people, including children, raping of women, destruction of property, loss of livelihoods and displacement of persons.
“The negative impact of open grazing which often results in attacks on communities in different parts of Benue State has adversely affected the local economy as farmers are prevented from accessing their farms and local markets are also deserted for fear of imminent invasion by the killers.”
Ayua stressed that it was by the grace of God that the state Governor, Samuel Ortom was able to escape death when he was attacked by the suspected Fulani militia.
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