Herdsmen have attacked Benue 47 times in 5 years - Tor Tiv

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James Ayatse, noted that Tiv people residing in Nasarawa and Taraba states are still being killed by Fulani herdsmen on a daily basis since the Benue killings started, and vowed that the people "must put an end to these killings".

The majority of the thousands of mourners who trooped into the IBB Square, Makurdi for the memorial service and the subsequent burial at the Mobile Barracks, in black attires, cursed and wept uncontrollably.

Offices, commercial banks, markets and schools were closed in the state capital as the government declared Thursday, a work-free day in honour of the 73 victims that were slaughtered last week by suspected Fulani Herdsmen.

The Leadership newspaper said the Federal Government has given explanations for the establishment of cattle colonies as against the nomadic structure now going on.

A leader of the Tiv nation and the chairman of the Northern Elders Forum, Wantaregh Unongo, said if President Muhammadu Buhari failed in his responsibility of protecting lives and property of Benue citizens, the people would train their own army in the state for self defence.

He said that his comments were not made to undermine the pains of the people, rather help engender the sense of unity among Nigerians, inspite of the nationwide insecurity.

"Members of the Civilian JTF received weapons from the state governor Governor Ortom and his aides replenish ammunitions for these firearms whenever they are depleted "Members of the Civilian JTF had no prior training in the use of firearms but have been promised training by the state government".

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Further demanding for the arrest of the leader of Miyetti Allah Kautal Houre, Unongo added, "If the Federal Government can not stop or arrest those behind the killings; in two weeks, we shall raise an army of our own".

Also speaking, a former military governor of Plateau and Katsina states, Maj. Gen. Lawrence Onoja (retd.), said he will throw his weight behind the "Tiv-Army" if the Federal Government fails in its part to protect the Benue people.

"Some of us, in 1966, fought the Nigerian civil war; Benue has contributed to the unity of this country".

The IGP has howeverpromised to arrest those behind the incessant killings in Benue State.

Governor Sam Ortom said the clashes occurred following the enforcement of a new anti-grazing law.Ortom told CNN: "They had threatened to wipe out the whole state if we did not repeal the law, and allow their cattle to graze wherever they like".

Earlier in his funeral oration, the Catholic Bishop of Gboko Diocese, Most Rev. Williams Avenya, prayed for the repose of the souls of the dead and called for prayers for the survivors of the attacks. They further revealed that they were trained by ex-service men and they were brought together from all the localities in Benue State. We will not be deterred because I am ready to pay the supreme price for the implementation of the anti-open grazing law.

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