Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has demanded the arrest and prosecution of Fulani herdsmen who massacred 24 persons yesterday in an evening attack on Omusu village in Okpokwu local government area of Benue State.
Among the victims are a 90 years old wan, 13 other women, two children and eight men.
Ortom made the call today during an on-the-spot assessment visit to the area to ascertain the level of destruction and provide immediate relief to the displaced.
When the Governor and his entourage visited Omusu Village, the place was deserted save for a few sick and lucky victims who escaped being killed.
The Governor described the attack as unfortunate saying such barbaric act was unacceptable in the 21st century.
“I am surprise that such magnitude of killing will be going on in the 21st Century when we are fighting against poverty, hunger and diseases.
“We related very well until these killer herdsmen came to invade and kill our people. We will no longer fold our hands and watch. 24 people killed in one day, this is not right, it is unacceptable”.
He reiterated his call for the arrest of the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore whom he said were sponsoring the Fulani herdsmen militia and still moving freely in Abuja and giving directives to their mercenaries.
While directing the State Emergency Management Agency to immediately provide relief materials to the displaced persons, Governor Ortom appealed to the community not to embark on reprisal attacks, stressing that security agents were mobilised to forestall further attacks on the communities.
The Governor also visited St. Mary’s Hospital, Okpoga where the injured were being treated and proceeded to the General Hospital in the town where dead victims were deposited.
He directed that arrangements be made for mass burial next Friday.
Chairman of Okpokwu local government council, Mr Ogwuche Olofu said the herdsmen had reported an attack on them where some cows and two persons were allegedly missing.
According to him, while the allegations were being investigated, they launched an attack yesterday around 4pm, which led to the death of 24 persons, burning of houses with scores injured.
One of the community leaders, Barr. Itodo Ojobo acknowledged the swift response of security agents to their distress call and appealed for assistance to enable family members bury their dead and take care of those being treated in various hospitals.
Earlier narrating his ordeal, One of the villagers, Peter Ojobo told newsmen that they were just sitting in their homes and relaxing on that Monday evening and at about 4:30pm, Fulani entered their village and started shooting and killing people.
Ojobo who said he was operated upon some weeks ago said, the herdsmen killed his 72 year old father. “The herdsmnen took us unawares. They just appeared in the village shooting, running and killing people. I was away from home but because I was operated upon, I could not run home and rescue my father and they killed him.
Also speaking, a farmer, Abah Paul sat under a huge tree where he normally relaxes. He had a broken leg which was being attended to by a traditional bone setter.
He said he was relaxing under the tree with some of his kinsmen when suddenly, they started hearing gun shots. “I could not run far because I already have injury. So, I ran into my room. Luckily for me, they did not come after me. From my to, I was watching them, they went about shooting people.”
Me Abah who expressed surprise on the attack denied any misunderstanding with the Fulani who according to him have been staying in Ado, a neighbouring local government. They called on the federal and state government to curtail the Killings in the state.
Governor Ortom also paid a condolence visit on Comrade Abba Moro, former Interior Minister who lost his first wife.