Herdsmen sack residents of Mbatoho Island, declares Benue govt

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The Benue State government has stated that armed herdsmen have sacked close to 5,000 residents of Mbatoho Island, at Mbalagh council ward of Makurdi local government in the state and have occupied the vast land.

According to the Benue state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Lawrence Onoja Jnr., the herdsmen also razed the homes of the locals after sacking them and caused their cows to graze on farmlands and food barns of the fleeing locals.

Speaking with reporters in Makurdi, Onoja said the invaders had completely taken over the Island adding that the government had directed security personnel to push back the invaders.

“Our findings when the Security Adviser to the Governor, Lt. Col. Paul Hemba (Rtd.) led a team to Island, indicated that for some time in the last few days there has been serious influx of herdsmen into Benue especially along Agatu, Guma, Logo, Katsina/Ala local government areas and communities bordering Nasarawa state especially,” he stated.

“It was in course of this influx that groups of herdsmen three days ago went to Mbatoho Island, at Mbalagh council ward of Makurdi local government area and sacked the locals from their homes.

“The people fled from Island and the herdsmen took over the community. When the team got there, it was discovered that the herdsmen were feeding their cattle on the farm produce of the people and all they had in their barns.

“Governor Samuel Ortom has been in constant touch with security personnel who have mobilized to the Island and have been directed to push back the herdsmen.

“Unfortunately, the Exercise Ayem A’ Akpatuma recently launched by the military in the state to end the herdsmen incursion in the state does not cover that area because it is an Island completely surrounded by water.

“However, security personnel have been mobilized to the island to move the herdsmen out so that the people can move back to their community.”

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