Herders killed 5,138 people during Ortom administration, SEMA alleges
The Executive Secretary of the Benue State Emergency and Management Agency, Emmanuel Shior, has said that 5,138 people were killed by suspected herders under Governor Samuel Ortom’s administration.
The SEMA boss stated this on Monday when he addressed journalists on the humanitarian situation in the state since the assumption of office of the Ortom-led administration about eight years ago.
He said in all, 18 of the 23 local government areas of the state were attacked by suspected armed herders.
Shior, who gave breakdown of deaths recorded since assumption of office of Governor Ortom since 2015, hinted that the figures were the ones recorded.
According to him, in 2015, 1,177 deaths were recorded; 2016, 809 deaths; 2017, 43 deaths were recorded; in 2018, 440 people were recorded killed.
He further said that the state recorded 174 deaths in 2019, 88 in 2020 while 2,131 deaths were recorded in 2021, 172 deaths were recorded in 2022 and from January, 2023 till date, 104 deaths have been recorded.
“So, in all, the total deaths since 2015 till date is 5,138,” Shior said.
The SEMA boss regretted that there had been renewed attacks in some local government areas of the state shortly after the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
Shior said, “There was more influx of herders since the presidential election because Ortom lost his senatorial election.
The SEMA boss said the incessant attacks from previous government informed Ortom administration to enact the anti-open grazing law but regretted that both the Federal Government and security agencies who should have supported the state government to enforce to the law have refused to do so.
“The state government also came out with livestock guards and Community Volunteers Guards to ensure protection of lives and property, with all these measures, there is no end in sight,” he said.
While decrying the non-challant attitude of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.)-led APC government towards the plights of Benue people in the hands of armed herders, Shior appealed to the incoming president to work towards ending the insecurity in the state, saying, “Benue has been voting massively for the APC”.