The Tor Tiv, Professor James Ayatse, and some residents of Benue State have disagreed with Governor Samuel Ortom on his advice to internally displaced persons, who are currently taking shelter in various camps across the state.
Ortom had, on Monday, asked the IDPs to return to their ancestral homes and use stones to defend themselves against the Fulani herdsmen since security operatives had forbidden them from carrying arms.
Some of the people, who spoke to our correspondent on the issue, said the governor’s directive to the IDPs was ill-timed and inappropriate as it would aggravate the continuous killings going on in the state.
The Tor Tiv also told our correspondent that Ortom should not have given such directive when he knew how dangerous the herdsmen could be with their sophisticated weapons.
Ayatse, who spoke through his media aide, Fred Adamgbe, noted that the governor should know that the poor farmers could not repel the deadly marauders with ordinary stones and sticks.
He said, “My belief is that Governor Samuel Ortom must have been misquoted because the killers are using sophisticated weapons and not stones and sticks.”
When our correspondent visited the IDPs camps located at Abegana along Makurdi/Abuja Road, many of the residents said they had made up their minds to ignore the governor’s advice.
A mother of six, Mrs. Jecita Ukoho, who lamented that she became a widow as a result of the herdsmen attacks on her community, noted that her children were too young to defend themselves with stones.
She said, “There has been tension in our camp here in the last three days following reports that the Fulani herdsmen are coming to attack us here. I wonder why the government cannot provide security for the people.
“What on earth would make our governor give such directives when he knows that we don’t have the type of stones that can kill herdsmen?”
Another IDP in the camp, Gabriel Terkaa, said as a farmer, all his crops had been eaten up by cows and accused the Federal Government of providing cover for the herdsmen.
Terkaa said, “The advice is ill-timed and inappropriate because we have no stones that we can use to defend ourselves. Governor Ortom is constructing roads to our villages and he cleared all the stones.”
Efforts to speak with the Executive Secretary of the Benue State Emergency Management Agency, Mr. Emmanuel Shoir, proved abortive as he neither returned calls made to his mobile nor responded to text messages sent to him.
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