BEVERLY HILLS, May 02, (THEWILL) – The Abagena Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp In Makurdi Local Government Area Of Benue State, last week, came under attack by people suspected to be Fulani killer militia. In this article, AUSTINE JOR writes that the attack has continued to generate diverse reactions with Governor Samuel Ortom weeping openly at the continuous loss of lives from the Fulani herdsmen attacks.
Agony and anguish were the feelings after a visit by THEWILL to the community that has become home for Internally Displaced Persons at Abagena, an IDP camp situated along the Makurdi -Lafia road in the Benue State capital.
The camp, which houses close to 2,000 IDPs, according to findings by THEWILL, was created in 2018 when over 50 Benue communities were attacked by persons suspected to be Fulani militia.
A few of such camps still exist in the state, findings further revealed.
In what seemed like a new dimension to the renewed attacks by the marauding herders, dozen of them, it was reported, stormed the camp in wee hours, killed and injured many, while many, who scampered for safety are yet to been seen by relatives, it was gathered.
The attack on the IDP camp has also forced the IDPs to desert the camp, a development THEWILL confirmed when our correspondent visited last week.
Locals who spoke to THEWILL expressed shock over the very sad development. According to one of them who would not want his name mentioned said it took serious efforts by the community to halt the killings, saying it would have been more disastrous.
“Though the victims are not from here, having come from different parts of the state, we were able to mobilise and chase the attackers away as we had no weapons
“As a host community, we had to take the risk owing to the fact that these our brothers have been living at this camp for over four years outside of their ancestral homes and so coming to attack with the aim to killing them amidst their plight got some of us mad,” he revealed.
Findings revealed further that most of the IDPs deserted the camp amidst a downpour treking several kilometres to perceived safety grounds.
Seven dead bodies had so far been counted with many others injured when Governor Samuel Ortom visited the camp.
Ortom, while addressing angry youth, who protested and blocked the Makurdi -Lafia road with the dead bodies, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to live up to his responsibility of protecting Nigerians even as he betrayed emotions by weeping openly at the continued killings of his people.
He described the attack on the IDP camp as inhuman, barbaric and unacceptable.
The Governor, who called for urgent action against the activities of militia herdsmen across the country, said if the Federal Government had taken the issue of militia herders seriously, it wouldn’t have escalated to this level.
He lamented that, in the last two weeks, over 70 persons had been killed in Makurdi Local Government alone while various communities across Benue are suffering from the activities of the militia herdsmen.
Meanwhile, in his reaction to the attack on the IDPs, Senior Pastor of the Spirit Life Christian Assembly. Thomas Shikaan, called on President Buhari to, as matter of urgency, resign from his position over his inability to curb the insecurity in the country.
Shikaan, in an exclusive interview with THEWILL in his Makurdi office, said it was shocking, the invasion of an IDPs camp in Makurdi recently, by the killer Fulanis where scores of the IDPs were butchered to death and many injured in wake of the attack.
The man of God equally took a swipe at members of the National Assembly whom he accused of playing to the gallery regarding issues bordering on insecurity in the country,, saying the Federal law makers ougtht to have long ago initiated an impeachment process on the President for failing to protect lives and property of Nigerians.
As a panacea to the nagging security issue, the cleric called for the establisment of a State Police as well as an approval by the federal government for the acquisition of firearms by Nigerians to protect themselves against the marauding killer herdsmen.
Pastor Shikaan, who is also the Chairman, Benue State Pilgrims Welfare Board, equally called for the immediate proscription of Fulani herdsmen and their associations and declare same as a terrorist group, insisting that the people can no longer fold their arms and watch the Fulanis continue with the killings fiesta in the country.
“The situation is getting out of hand, and each time people are killed by this Fulanis, I called them Fulanis, because they are not bandits, and each time people are killed by Fulanis, the Federal Government comes out to condemn, but for how long do we continue to keep on condemning without action, I think the killings we have in Nigeria today are far more than what happened during the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan and it is most unfortunate that the Senate is just watching, the House of Representatives is just watching and I ask: If this is going on, what is the president Still doing in office ?
“One of the cardinal points on which we voted him was for him to come and secure the country based on what he told us but has he been able to resolve that? No and so, I want to advise him to resign so that someone who has the capacity can come in and tackle the situation headlong,” the cleric said.