By Peter Duru
Makurdi – The leadership of the ethnic groups in Benue state under aegis of Mdzough U Tiv, Idoma National Forum and the Omi Ny’ Igede have raise alarm over an alleged planned attack on Makurdi, the Benue state capital by suspected militant herdsmen.
Speaking Friday, through the its Chairman, Chief Edward Ujege the ethnic leaders also disclosed that intelligence report had it that over 360 military assault rifles had allegedly been acquired by Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and distributed to their collaborators in the state preparatory for the execution of the planned attack.
According to the tribal leaders, “It has been alleged that heavily armed militant herdsmen are being mobilized for the execution of this diabolic attack on the seat of Government of Benue State.
“Though, we have not been able to verify this allegation, we are constrained to state that there is some element of truth in this given that in time past, such similar allegations have been dismissed at the detriment of our villagers.”
They recalled that a similar threat had been issued by the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore who vowed to resist the anti open grazing law of the state and after alerting the Federal government of the development no action was taken to stop the group.
“The result of the inaction on the side of the Federal Government was that on January 1st., 2018 armed Fulani militia launched a deadly attack on communities in Guma and Logo Local Government Areas of the State leaving no fewer than 73 persons dead including members of the Livestock Guards of the State.
“Similar threats have been issued on Tiv communities in Nasarawa State with the herdsmen eventually, executing the threats leaving behind sorrow, anguish, condemnation and lamentations.
“To this date, mass killings by herdsmen have continued in the state with thousands of people taking refuge in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps across the state while others are putting up with their relatives.
“There are strong indications that these herdsmen militia have taken over villages around Makurdi metropolis including the village after NASME Barracks, behind Makurdi Modern Market, University of Agriculture Makurdi axis and Mbalom where two priests and 18 others were killed recently.
“Over 360 military assault rifles are said to have been acquired by the group and distributed to their collaborators in the state preparatory for the execution of the planned attack.
“From the foregoing, we cannot at this point wave aside any bit of information regarding threats by herdsmen to continue with their jihadist activities in the Benue valley.
“It is on account of this that we call on security agencies to step up surveillance with a view to forestalling attack on Makurdi metropolis. We also urge the security operatives to swing into action and carry out a thorough investigation around Wadata, North Bank Areas of Makurdi as well as Hausa quarters in Gboko.
“We also call on Nigerians, who are resident in Makurdi to be on the watch out and assist the security agencies by reporting suspicious movement within their vicinities to relevant authorities for necessary action. Residents must however avoid giving false information that would cause anxiety and may lead to unnecessary breakdown of law and order.”