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ATTACK ON INNOCENT FARMERS BY HERDSMEN AIMED AT CRIPPLING SOCIO-ECONOMIC LIFE OF BENUE PEOPLE

The persistent attack on the people of Benue State by Fulani cattle herdsmen has been described as a brutish attempt aimed at crippling socio-economic and political life of the people; in spite of the sacrifices and contributions of the people of the Middle belt to the peaceful existence and economic development of the country.

 

This assertion was made by the Catholic Bishop of Gboko Diocese, Most Rev. William Avenya in his homily at the inter-denominational funeral service and mass burial of about 70 innocent citizens of the Benue State, brutally murdered by cattle herdsmen in the state recently.

 

The Local Ordinary of Gboko Diocese noted that the attacks have been unrelenting, brutal, bllody, gruesome, barbaric and unjustifiable on innocent and vulnerable peasant communities. He added that 14 out of the 23 Local Government areas in the state have suffered ruthless attacks in the hands of the herdsmen, noting that this has resulted in high rate of poverty and dependency, and with many children out of school.

 

Using Biblical references to indicate that “Man’s inhumanity to man is an old phenomenon”, Bishop Avenya averred that “Time and again, precious lives and property have been destroyed in innumerable numbers in Benue State.” He expressed concern that “the government has in several instances remained silent on issues involving genocide against the people in local governments like: Katsina-Ala, Logo, Ukum, Kwande, Guma, Gwer West, Gwer East, Buruku, Tarka , Makurdi, Ogbadibo, Agatu and Apa.”

 

The bishop added: “History is replete with the sacrifices made for the nation by the people of Benue State; the sacrifices of Benue indigenes and the blood shed for the unity of the Nigerian nation. Now, it seems, our pay back for this sacrifice is the silence and sometimes seeming complicity in the senseless killings, the wanton destruction of the means of livelihood and impoverishment of our people.”

 

While urging the people to take solace in God and pray for the dead as enjoined in the Holy bible, Bishop Avenya assured that “In this regard, death does not separate our slain brothers and sisters from God’s love” adding that: “We will always be led to victory in Christ because God is for us and there is separation in our relationship with God by death”. He also used the occasion to call on the various governments and agencies in the country to in place practical measures to prevent the re-occurrence of the dastardly act.

 


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