Benue: Protesters blockade road over renewed killings

Indigenes of Gwer West Local Government Area in Benue State took to the streets on Tuesday evening, blocking the Makurdi-Naka road to protest recent killings in the area.

The protest was sparked by the deaths of 26 people in three communities within the council area, reportedly killed by suspected herdsmen.

DAILY POST had reported that Henry Agba, the Local Government Area Chairman, confirmed the attack, which began on Saturday and lasted till Monday, resulting in the deaths of 26 persons, including six personnel of the Benue State Community Volunteer Guards and Livestock Guards.

The protesters, carrying various placards, accused the state government of not effectively implementing the Anti-Open Grazing Law.

Recall that on March 6, 2024, the Deputy Governor, Sam Ode had announced the full enforcement of the anti-open grazing law after the expiration of a 14-day ultimatum given to armed herders and those grazing openly in the state to vacate.

The protesters called on the federal and state governments to protect the people against armed herders.

Francis Ayagah, a former local government chairman of Gwer West, who was among the protesters, urged the Federal Government to ensure the safety of the people.

Ayagah said, “The renewed insecurity in the area was a result of the failure of Governor Hyacinth Alia’s administration to enforce the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of Benue State, which allows herders to move freely with their cows and arms, which are used to attack the people.”

Titus Numzua, another protester from Seghev/Yegev Council Ward, where all three attacks occurred, said the influx of herdsmen in the area has complicated the security situation and called for government intervention to ensure peace.

Numzua also called on the Federal Government to ensure the safety of the people and asked the governor of the state to provide logistic support to security agencies.

Senator Titus Zam, representing Benue North West Senatorial District, condemned the coordinated attacks on his constituents, calling for justice for the victims.

Similarly, Asema Achado, the member representing Gwer East/Gwer West Federal Constituency, condemned the murders and urged the state government to enforce laws prohibiting open grazing and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.

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