By Salim Yunusa
Eight persons including two aide workers and a relation of Governor Samuel Ortom were, Sunday, reportedly killed during a raid on Nzorov and Uvir council wards of Guma Local Government Area of Benue State by suspected herdsmen.
Sahelian Times learnt from Vanguard that the deceased aid workers attached to the 360 Health Systems Diagnostics and Correction, 360HSDC, a Non-Governmental Organisation, NGO, working on HIV/AIDS testing and counselling in the state were earlier abducted by the herders before they were killed.
The workers, according to the source, were said to be on their routine assignment when they were captured by their abductors at Tomanyiin village.
The source disclosed that a call, which was put to the phone of one of the workers, after the news of their capture circulated in the community, was picked by one of the herders, who confirmed their kidnap and killing.
It was gathered that the bandit said such incident will continue in the state until Governor Samuel Ortom responded to their demand to repeal the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches law of the state enacted in 2017.
Contacted, Chairman of Guma Local Government Area, Mr Caleb Aba, who confirmed the killings, said: “Four of the victims were killed in Mbabai village, Sunday evening, including the two aide workers.
“Three others were killed in Nzorov, Governor Ortom’s hometown, and one other in Uvir council ward, all in Guma Local Government Area.
The chairman, who lamented the latest killings, said: “Before now, we had no quarrel with the herders, who came in from neighbouring Nasarawa State to kill our people.”
Reacting, Governor Ortom, who also confirmed the attack, said his relation, an undergraduate of Benue State University, was among the eight victims.
He said: “He was a 200-Level student of Benue State University. He was killed by the Fulani militia, including two humanitarian aid workers and the others.
“It is unfortunate, and they even had the guts to send words to the person who called the phone of one of the workers that they should tell me that I should repeal the open grazing prohibition law otherwise they will continue with the killings.
“That is the kind of impunity we are talking about. That is the injustice and unfairness we are talking about in this country and the evil being perpetrated by these people.
“We will continue to cry out to the outside world to see the genocide that is going on here in Benue State and other parts of Nigeria.
“I heard somebody made an unfortunate statement that said the Fulani bandits are like spirits so they cannot be seen. That is why they can arrest Nnamdi Kanu and displace Sunday Igboho but herdsmen cannot be arrested.
“These are people, who are romancing government officials, yet killing people, taking our children hostage, raping our children in schools and our women yet nothing is being done because they are like spirits.
“We see this militia, who come out on videos claiming that they were hired by the government and yet somebody is saying that they cannot be seen. We know that Gumi can go to the forests to see them, come back and negotiate ransom; and somebody is saying that they are like spirits.
“The day that President Buhari wants these killings to stop, they will stop. But for now, I think that this is what they want and it is not strange to me because they have said it before.
“They want to take over the country, but some of us will fight that with the last pint of our blood, that I can assure you. We cannot keep quiet in the face of injustice. If you want us to keep quiet, you must also give us justice, then we can keep quiet.”
Contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Catherine Anene, who confirmed the attack said the command had received information about three deaths in the attack.