–Communities Vow To Resort To Self Defense If FG Delays Action
Suspected armed Fulani militants have launched a deadly attack on 31 communities in Apa local government area of Benue State leaving at least 89 persons dead.
The Chairman of Apa Development Association (ADA), Eche Akpoko Esq who disclosed this at a news conference in Makurdi on Wednesday said the attacks took place between January and March this year.
Akpoko disclosed that the local government has been under siege by the sustained herders attacks, stressing that the rampaging marauders raped women, maimed and killed innocent defenceless indigenes of the area in their homes and farms using guerilla asymmetric warfare with the intent to taking over the land that belongs to the inhabitants.
He said hordes of inhabitants have been displaced from their homes which have also been set ablaze.
Barrister Akpoko listed communities attacked to include: Ope-Ikobi, Ochi-Ikobi, Olugwu-Ikobi, Inowa-Ikobi, Olegoncha-Ikobi, Ijaha-Ikobi, Imana-Ikobi and Oleoke-Ikobi, leaving 40 people dead. Other villages include, Ebugodo-Edikwu, Ankpali-Edikwu, Olegijamu-Edikwu, Olekele-Edikwu, Ukpogo-Edikwu, Edikwu-Icho, Edikwu-Oladoga, Okwiji-Edikiwu and Ojecho-Edikwu with 20 persons dead.
Other villages attacked are: Oiji-Ipole, Oiji-Efu, Oiji-Jos, Oiji-Oshodi, Oiji-Highlevel, and Oiji-New Jerusalem leaving 5 persons dead. At Ugbobi, 5 persons were killed including the Village Head. In Odugbo, 8 persons were shot dead while 5 persons were killed at Olegogba, and 1 person each was killed at Akpete and Opaha respectively. Akpanta and Iyapu were also attacked and 2 persons each were killed”.
Akpoko lamented failure of the federal government to arrest the killer herders to face justice to serve as deterrent to others.
“We maintain that the rationale for these unprovoked attacks on Apa Local Government people is a clear case of Fulani invasion and forceful occupation of their land. Our position has been confirmed by a publication trending in the social media wherein Fulani Nationality Movement (FUNAM) has claimed responsibility for the sustained attacks in Benue State. The publication as at the time of this address has neither been pulled down or disclaimed by the author, Umar Amir Shehu, National President of FUNAM”.
The ADA leader, debunked the narrative making the rounds in some quarters that the attacks are as a result of chieftaincy/land disputes and described the claim as speculative, spurious and baseless.
Eche Akpoko who admonished the Fulani elites to sensitize their kinsmen to embrace modern techniques of animal husbandry which is ranching, also called on the federal government to deploy law enforcement agents to the flashpoints to defend and protect people of the area.
He reiterated the determination of the people to resort to self defense if the federal government procrastinates.
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