Under Governor Samuel Ortom’s watch, 5,138 persons were reportedly slain by suspected herders, according to Emmanuel Shior, Executive Secretary of the Benue State Emergency and Management Agency.
When speaking to journalists on Monday about the state’s humanitarian crisis since the Ortom-led administration took office almost eight years ago, the SEMA chairman made this statement.
According to him, suspected armed herders have targeted 18 of the state’s 23 local government units.
Indicating that the figures were the ones documented, Shior provided a breakdown of the deaths that have been reported since Governor Ortom took office in 2015.
He claims that 440 people were slain in 2018, 809 people were killed in 2017, 43 people were killed in 2017, and 1,177 people were killed in 2015.
He added that the state recorded 174 fatalities in 2019, 88 in 2020, 2,131 in 2021, 172 in 2022, and 104 as of January 2023.
“So, in all, the total deaths since 2015 till date is 5,138,” Shior said.
The SEMA boss complained that shortly after the Presidential and National Assembly elections, attacks had resumed in various local government districts of the state.
Shior stated, “Ortom lost his senate election, thus there has been a greater migration of herders since the presidential election.
The head of SEMA claimed that the ongoing attacks from the previous administration prompted the Ortom administration to pass the anti-open grazing law, but he regretted that both the Federal Government and security agencies, who should have assisted the state government in enforcing the law, had declined to do so.
“There is no end in sight with all these efforts,” he said. “The state government also came out with livestock guards and Community Volunteers Guards to assure the protection of lives and property.
Shior called on the incoming president to do something to end the insecurity in the state, saying “Benue has been voting massively for the APC,” while denouncing the nonchalant attitude of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.)-led APC government towards the plight of Benue people at the hands of armed herders.