Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has called on the Federal Government to stop the killing of innocent Benue citizens by militia herdsmen.
Governor Ortom made the call while addressing a group of women who were at the Benue People’s House under the auspices of Nigeria National Network for Peace-building in West Africa today.
He said in spite of the presence of security agencies including the army in Benue, 24 persons have been killed in a fresh attack by militia herdsmen in Okpokwu local government area.
Represented by the Secretary to the Benue State Government, Professor Tony Ijohor, SAN, Governor Ortom said the killings are as a result of the resistance of the herdsmen ranching.
The Governor asked the women to pray so that President Muhammadu Buhari would have a change of heart on the issue of killings in Benue and other parts of Nigeria as well as rape and kidnapping.
He explained that the open grazing prohibition law was within the state’s constitutional responsibilities and requested security agencies to enforce the law.
Earlier, the Nigeria National Network Coordinator for Peace-building in West Africa, Bridget Osakwe, had told the Governor that the organization was interested in the return of peace to Benue State.
Mrs. Osakwe said women within and outside the organization were mobilized to meet with the Governor to commend his efforts towards ensuring peace in Benue and declare their support for all the government and nongovernmental organizations that are working for peace in Benue, Nigeria and the West African Region.
According to her, the organization is in 15 West African countries adding that war traumatizes people especially displaced persons and pointed out that raping also become rampant when people are displaced from their homes.
Some of the placards displayed by the women who were in T-shirts and caps bearing the organization’s name and logo read : “Do not rape our women and girls”, “killings and displacement translate to empty food baskets” and “say no to proliferation of small arms”.
Highlight of the event was the signing of one of the placards by the SSG, Professor Tony Ijohor, SAN.