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Tiv group raises alarm over insecurity in Benue, reports 147

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The pan-sociocultural group of the Tiv Nation, known as Mzough U Tiv Worldwide (MUT), has raised the alarm of insecurity in Benue State and submitted that over 147 people were killed in the last two months in the state.

The President General of the sociocultural group, Lorbee Ihagh, a retired Comptroller of Prison, stated this in a statement issued and made available to journalists in Makurdi on Thursday.

Ihagh regretted that the three senatorial districts of the state have witnessed killings occasioned by armed herders and, in other areas, by local militia groups.

According to Ihagh, 70 deaths were recorded in Zone A, 27 deaths in Zone B and 50 people lost their lives in Zone C.

The statement read in parts, “From the data available to us, the state may have lost about 147 people to herdsmen militia attacks in the last two months.

“The number of deaths at our disposal is reported, but we strongly believe that the number of those killed could be higher, given that there were pockets of deaths across Benue State that may not have been reported.

“For lack of space, we may not be able to give you a detailed account of the names and communities where these killings occurred in the last two months, but I believe that these communities are well known to all, especially the media.

“However, the MUT will give you the number of recorded deaths based on the killings in the three Senatorial Zones of Benue in the last two months.

“During the period under review, the deaths of 70 persons were recorded in Zone A (Benue North East); a breakdown of the figures shows that 20 deaths were purely from attacks by herdsmen, while the remaining 45 killings occurred with local militia groups acting in connivance with herdsmen militia.

“In Zone B (Benue North West), about 10 people were killed in Gwer West and 17 others in Gwer East, bringing the total to about 27 people who lost their lives to attacks by the bandits, whereas in Zone C (Benue South), no fewer than 50 people were killed by these criminal elements.

The Tiv socio-cultural group leader called on the federal government to end the insecurity in the state by empowering the operation while being saddled with the responsibility of tackling insecurity in Benue, Taraba, and Nasarawa States.

“We also call on the Federal Government, FG, to work out modalities for ensuring that Operation Whirl Stroke has enough manpower to handle the challenges confronting it in its Joint Area of Operations, JAO, in view of the increase in activities of these herdsmen militias that has hindered Benue people from going to the farms.

“MUT is aware that it may be impossible to have the needed manpower that OPWS deserves; however, we are aware that the manpower that OPWS has at the moment is a far cry from what it needs to tackle the challenges staring it in the face at the moment.

“However, we also wish to seize this opportunity to commend officers and men of Operation Whirl Stroke under the command of Major General Sunday Igbinomwanhia for their resilience so far. We believe that given the needed manpower and empowerment by the three state governors, they can produce more results,” the statement further read in parts.

Ihagh also called on the Sultan of Sokoto and President of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, to retract and tender an unreserved apology to the Tiv nation over the statement he made, calling Tiv people thieves.

“The Tiv people have a long-standing relationship with the Fulani people, where the Tiv, who are great farmers, offer the Fulani food in exchange for beef. The statement credited to the Sultan, saying that the Tiv people stole their cows, was coming at the height of the killings in Benue, was not worthy of a person of the standing of the Sultan of Sokoto,” Ihagh said in the statement.

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