Benue alleges massive deployment of cattle, heavily armed herdsmen at Benue borders

Posted by News Express | 27 January 2021 | 460 times

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By TOR VANDE-ACKA

Benue State Government has countered the claim by the Federal Government (FG) debunking claims by the Nasarawa State governor, Abdullahi Sule that Boko Haram insurgents are regrouping in some areas in Nasarawa that have common boundaries with Benue.

Government also said, it apprehended about six herdsmen as well as 356 cows were apprehended in the last one week at Kaseyo village, in Guma LGA of the state.

State Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu disclosed this while answering questions from newsmen while speaking on the activities of herdsmen around the border areas of the state.

He argued that based on intelligence report gathered by security agencies in the state, there is a massive presence of herdsmen in Nasarawa state, heavily armed with AK 47 rifles, contrary to what the FG has made Nigerians to believe.

The Deputy Governor also said that even so, the only person that can deny the presence of Boko Haram insurgents in the state is the Governor and not the FG.

According to him, “Recently, there was a declaration from the Nasarawa state governor, when he visited the Presidency and said there is a deployment of Boko Haram insurgents to the boundary between Benue and Nasarawa state.

“As a result of this, we in Benue state, using our security agencies, decided to swing into action to find out the truth or otherwise of that declaration.

“In the meantime, while we are still investigating, we’ve been able to ascertain the fact that there appears to be a massive deployment of herdsmen with their cattle on the brink of River Benue; on the Nasarawa state bank of the river.

“And we also observed that a good number of these herdsmen are heavily armed; many of them with AK 47 rifles. And it was observed that the herdsmen were not the ordinary herdsmen, because they were heavily armed.

“We met in the security council meeting yesterday and deliberated on this issue and action is being taken, but it’s not an action that I can announce to you now, until it’s concluded.”, he said.

But on the statement made by the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, denying the presence of Boko Haram insurgents in Nasarawa state, Abounu said that only the state governor can refute the claim.

He said, “I cannot fault what the Honourable Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said, but if you ask me, if what the governor of Nasarawa state said; not that he wrote and gave it to somebody and then you say that he was quoted out of context.

“Therefore, the only person, in my view, that can authentically refute what he said or even claim, that what he said was a twist of the tongue, is the governor himself; not any honourable minister.

“So, as a state, we want to stand by what the governor of Nasarawa said; given the exalted position the governor occupies, we have no reason whatsoever to doubt his declaration.”, he stated.

Speaking on activities of herdsmen that had violated the state Anti-Open grazing law, the deputy governor said six herdsmen as well as 356 cattle were apprehended.

He said, “I want to make it very clear that Benue state is a unit of the federating structure of Nigeria, and these units, like any other unit are governed by laws; Benue state has its own laws, one of which is the Anti-Open grazing law.

“We have been keeping to this law, as a result, we have been able to apprehend all the people that violated the law; a good number of cows were taken into custody and in keeping with the provisions of the law, the herdsmen who violated the law and paid the fine are given back their cows.

“I want to make it abundantly clear that this has been successful and so Benue state government is not in any way intending to abrogate this law; the law has come to stay.”, he insisted. (Daily Independent)


Source: News Express

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