Why Herdsmen Attacks Will Continue In Benue Even After Alia Administration | News Proof



Why Herdsmen Attacks Will Continue In Benue Even After Alia Administration

By Terfa Naswem

During the administration of Sen. Dr. George Akume as the Executive Governor of Benue State, Fulani herdsmen attacks occured in some communities. But those attacks were not frequent and Akume was able to tackle the attacks because from 1999 to 2007 when he was governor, the attacks were not politicized to the level they are today.

Sen. Dr. Gabriel Suswam took over from Akume as the Executive Governor of Benue State on May 29, 2007 and won his reelection in 2011. From 2007 to 2011 in his first term, herdsmen attacks were still going on but not frequent.

In his second term from 2011 to 2015 was when herdsmen attacks began to take a different dimension. That was when the politicization of herdsmen attacks in Benue State actually started gathering momentum. The attacks became worse from 2013 to 2015 when he left office.

On January 11, 2014, Hon. Godwin Donko who was the Makurdi LGA Chairman at that time said herdsmen attacks were deliberate attempts by politicians to destabilize the administration of governor Gabriel Suswam over support for Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who was seeking reelection as President of Nigeria on the platform of Peoples Democratic party (PDP).

Headlines of some attacks during Suswam administration:

--Vanguard (Nov. 17, 2013)

Benue Massacre: Blood, tears trail surprise assault that killed dozens.

-- Channels Television (March 17, 2014)

Tiv, Fulani clash: most Marauding Herdsmen are not Fulani.

-- WorldPress (January 11, 2014)

Fulani attacks; deliberate attempt to destabilize Suswam - Makurdi Chairman

-- Daily Post (March 13, 2014)

Governor Suswam is the reason for our attacks in Benue State - Fulani herdsmen

-- PM News Nigeria ( April 1, 2014)

Terrorists Disguise as Fulani herdsmen

-- Vanguard News (March 14, 2014)

Fulani herdsmen sack Suswam's village, kill 22.

Suswam handed over to Samuel Ortom on May 29, 2015 as the Executive Governor of Benue State. When he resumed office, Fulani herdsmen attacks continued to more deadly ones with scores been killed frequently.

When Ortom was still the Governor-Elect, he promised to end Fulani attack on Benue farmers in six months (Vanguard, May 9, 2015), but he never kept to his promise when he took over.

Headlines of some Fulani herdsmen attacks in Ortom administration:

-- Channels Television ( Match 17, 2015)

FG condemns killing of over 95 persons in Benue State.

-- Premium Times Nigeria ( March 12, 2016)

Over 500 killed in Agatu genocide

-- Daily Post (January 11, 2018)

Over 70 corpses of Benue massacre (in Logo and Guma) arrive Makurdi for Mass burial.

When Ortom knew that he wasn't going to be given the ticket for his reelection in All Progressives Congress (APC), he politicized Fulani herdsmen attacks while in APC before he defected to PDP on July 25, 2018 and got reelected.

During the reelection Presidential campaign of Muhammadu Buhari in Makurdi, Benue State on Wednesday, February 6th, 2019 at Aper Aku Stadium, Akume said that the attacks were not only carried out but Fulani herdsmen but some Tiv people were collaborating with Fulani in the attacks while others were involved in separate attacks. Akume understood that some of the killings were politicized.

Akume was vindicated when security agencies arrested six people including some Tiv persons for involving in the killing of two priests: Rev. Fr. Joseph Gor and Rev. Fr. Felix Tyolaha including 17 other members of Saint Ignatius Catholic Church, Mbalom in Gwer East Local Government, Benue State on April 24, 2018.

Those arrested were members of the Benue State Livestock Guard formed by Ortom. They were: Tashaku Aliyu, who was Commander of the Livestock Guard; Husseini Manga, Ngyohov Shin, David Akenawe, Agada Tseaa and Tarza Orvanya.

A statement issued at the time of his arrest by Olabisi Ayeni, Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, 707 Special Forces Brigade in Makurdi, read thus: “Following an intelligence report, it was gathered that Aminu (Tashaku Aliyu) has concluded plans with his cohorts in Bauchi, Borno, Yobe and Nasarawa states to launch a major attack on innocent citizens in Benue state.

This was comprehensively reported by International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) on June 5, 2018.

When Rev. Fr. Dr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia resumed office on May 29, 2023 as the Executive Governor of Benue State, he was confronted with various challenges including insecurity. As a result, he held many security meetings with security agencies to curb insecurity in Benue State.

Unfortunately, with the battle against him within the APC, his party and the opposition PDP, Fulani herdsmen attacks and others attacks have been seriously politicized to discredit Alia.

During Suswam administration, Fulani herdsmen attacks were politicized to destabilize his government because of his support for the reelection of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

During Ortom administration, he politicized Fulani herdsmen attacks and used them to discredit APC and Akume which led to Akume's  defeat in his Senatorial election while Ortom politicized them to win his reelection as governor of Benue State.

In Alia administration, some APC members who are against him including opposition PDP and others have politicized Fulani herdsmen attacks to discredit and prevent Alia from winning his reelection in 2027. Unfortunately for them, the good people of Benue State can't be deceived again and are fully aware of the political and diabolical schemes of those hellbent on discrediting Alia using Fulani herdsmen attacks and other insecurities.

Since Fulani herdsmen attacks have been politicized  in Benue State, even after the administration of Alia, the attacks will not stop because aggrieved politicians and their supporters will use everything at their disposal to ensure the attacks continue so that they can use them to discredit the governor they are against.

If the politicization of Fulani herdsmen attacks continues, then the dream of Benue State becoming a great State in reality will be far-fetched.

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