Benue state government has raised alarm over continued killings of Benue people by herdsmen militia saying it has recorded 5,138 deaths from 2015 till March 2023.
The government said in addition to the over 2 millions Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in the state, it has also recorded over 3,000 new displacements following renewed attacks on Logo, Ukum and Kwande LGAs of Benue state recently.
The Executive Secretary, State Emergency Management Agency, (SEMA), Dr Emmanuel Shior, disclosed this while briefing newsmen on the current humanitarian situation in Benue state, in his office in Makurdi, on Monday.
Shior, who noted that killings was going on in Benue before the emergence of this present administration, said herdsmen killings assumed a colossal dimension resulting to huge deaths and displacements.
The SEMA boss also disclosed that out of 23 Local Government Areas of the state, 18 including Guma, Gwer West, Ukum, Logo, Kwande among others have been affected.
In a breakdown, he said the state recorded 1,177 deaths in 2015, 809 deaths in 2016, 43 deaths in 2017, 440 deaths in 2018, 174 in 2019, and 88 deaths in the year 2020.
“In 2021, the killing took a colossal turn and 2,131 deaths was recorded in 2021, 172 in 2022 and 104 killed between January to March, 2023 bringing the number of deaths to 5,138 since 2015.”
He described the situation as not only worrisome saying it’s a genocide.
He said in trying to end the killings, the Governor Samuel Ortom led administration and the state Assembly enacted the anti open grazing law in 2017 to provide a win win situation for both animal and crop farmers in the state.
“The state government also established the Livestock Guard and Benue State Community Volunteer Guards to assist conventional security agencies to provide security for all residents and also prevent cattle rustling in the state.
“It is however disturbing that despite these efforts, the attacks and killings have persisted and the Federal Government and security agencies who should support Benue state government to implement the law have refused to do so and attackers have continued with their onslaught on the farming communities.
He said SEMA is drawing the attention of well meaning individuals and international community on the humanitarian situation in Benue and to alao say that President Muhammadu Buhari has neglected the IDPs in Benue state
He expressed the hope that the incoming President will work with Benue state government to return the IDPs back home and just as he called on Benue people to vote the PDP in the forthcoming governorship election to enable it consolidate on the gains of the Ortom led administration.