At least 50 people lost their lives in the herdsmen attacks on communities in the South Senatorial District of Nasarawa State. This came as police in Nasarawa State paraded two Fulani herdsmen at the weekend for burning down 15 houses belonging to the displaced Tiv persons in Obi Local Government Area.
The areas worse hit by the attacks and killings are Keana, Obi, Awe, Doma and Lafia. At least, 83 villages were razed down while property including farmlands and economic trees believed to worth billions of naira were destroyed since January.
President of Tiv Development Association (TIDA), a socio-cultural organisation for the Tiv indigenes in the state, Mr. Boniface Ifer, made this known at the weekend while speaking with journalists in Lafia on the security situation in the Southern Senatorial District of the state. Ifer added that all the affected persons and villages are of the Tiv extractions.
He said: “We don’t know the exact number of causalities because we still have cases of missing persons whom we assumed are dead but because of security reasons, we cannot organise a search to recover their bodies. “I want to clear the air where some people are denying that there is crisis in Nasarawa State and that the people in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp are all from Benue State.
I want to debunk that statement. Let me tell you that over 50 Tiv sons and daughters in Nasarawa State are already dead as a result of these herdsmen attacks.
Why are they claiming that my people are not affected?” Ifer disclosed that the military and police deployed in Nasarawa State on the orders of President Muhammadu Buhari had arrived the state but refused to move to the affected areas where people were being killed on a daily basis and houses being burnt down.
He said: “We don’t know why the military refuse to move to the affected areas. We want the whole world to know that the military deployed in Nasarawa State have been stationed in one place in Lafia.”
The police also paraded a 42-year-old man, Danlami Usman, arrested with N2.4 milliom counterfeit currency at Mararaba in Karu Local Government Area. Parading the suspects along with seven others at the police command headquarters in Lafia, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Idirisu John Kennedy, explained that the two Fulani herdsmen – Bagu Anaruwa (42) and Rabo Anaruwa (22) – were arrested for conspiring and burning down 15 houses belonging to some Tiv men at Kuduku 11 village in Keana Local Government Area.
He disclosed that a man, Nicholas Alua, and three other suspects all of Tiv by tribe, took advantage of the herdsmen/farmers crisis situation and criminally conspired and set on fire three thatched houses belonging to their kinsmen at Farin Ruwa village in Obi Local Government Area.
He explained that luck ran out on them when they were caught in the act. According to the police image maker, on February 11, Ijekeni Uhon of Gidan Nguinyi was arrested for setting on fire 25 houses belonging to some Tiv at Gidan Wakili in Obi Local Government Area.
The PPRO disclosed that Danlani Usman, found with N2.4 million counterfeit currency, was arrested at Mararaba in Karu Local Government Area when transacting business with the counterfeit currency. According to him, Usman was arrested by a team of detectives at Mararaba where he was transacting business with the counterfeit currency at night.
Kennedy disclosed that despite the effort made by the police in protecting lives and property of the displaced persons along border communities of Nasarawa and Benue states in the wake of the skirmishes between herdsmen and farmers with the deployment of five units of mobile policemen in the affected areas, the command continued to received reports of isolated killings and burning of houses that were deserted.
He disclose that the command had arrested 20 suspects in connection with the recent skirmishes that spilled over from Benue State to some border communities in Nasarawa State, saying that most of the suspects had already been charged to court. The PPRO, however, promised that the command would continue to engage the warring parties in dialogue. He appealed to them to sheathe their swords in the interest of peace.