Press Statement issued after press briefing by Benue liberation Alliance (BLA) over the impending Tiv / Fulani Crisis

Posted: March 22, 2014 in press releases/ News letter, Uncategorized
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Benue liberation Alliance (BLA) press briefing

MARCH 22 2014

NUJ HOUSE, UTAKO –ABUJA

By

Prof. Tor Iorapuu  (Patron)

Bar. Mike Utsaha &

Ene Edeh

 A summary of the presentation: 

The objective of this important Press Conference is to add our voice to already existing information before the Federal Government, the Nigerian public space and the entire world, relating to the persistent attacks on Benue people and their ancestral homes over the years. The Benue Liberation Alliance is particularly scandalized that with all the first hand information before the Federal government, very little action has been taken in terms of providing adequate security and protection of lives and properties of the people of Benue.

The Benue Liberation Alliance wonders that if a state with an Air Force Tactical Command Base and a strong Military formation is under siege, it means something is fundamentally wrong.

Clearly, we are witnessing similar security challenges Plateau State experienced in recent past. The manner of brutal attacks and massacre of unarmed women, children and men in Benue State is similar to the clinical cleansing of communities in Plateau State. Similarly, the pattern of narratives that followed the Plateau attacks from some media, political elites; even religious and traditional institutions are what we are witnessing with the Benue attacks.  

Nigerians are aware that the ancestral home of the Tiv Traditional Head was attacked and occupied. The village is occupied even as we present this press conference. The world is aware that the Governor of Benue State, Dr. Gabriel Suswam and his entourage were attacked as they visited some of the sacked communities. BLA and Nigerians are scandalized that with all these evidences, there is still no security intervention.

As we speak, the population of displaced persons is massive. Sadly, no camps have been established for the dislocated persons. We are worried at the delayed actions and response of NEMA, the security agencies and the federal government.

The affected communities include:

Gwer West, Gwer East, Guma, Logo, Kwande Local government, some parts of Makurdi and Agatu local government areas, etc. This is in addition to the huge population of Benue People that are attacked daily, brutally killed and uprooted from their ancestral homes in Nasarawa and Taraba States.

What are the Statistics?

•  In the last decade, perceived Fulani invaders and mercenaries have attacked and killed over 7000 Benue people, many who are women, children and young people. A lot of the women are raped and killed. There seems to be an organized approach to obliterate the productive group.

•  Over 1 million displaced internally displaced people are without food, water and medical supplies.

•  Hundreds and thousands sleep in open places; relations and well-meaning Benue people shelter some and others find themselves in primary schools. Several of the women and children beg on Makurdi streets.

•  Economic loses: at least N10 billion loses in terms of food crops, economic trees, and properties and still counting. Even in the next 10 years the economy of Benue cannot recover from this shock.

•  There is impending food crisis, as the farmers are not even able to farm.

•  These figures are conservative because hundreds of Tiv and Idoma people are missing and cannot be accounted for.

•  Stats: just yesterday, papers reported that over 200 villages where sacked in Guma and Kwande LGAs

 

Security agencies:

•  Complicity of security agencies against the Benue people

•  Lack of adequate response from the security agencies

•  Overhaul the security structures in Benue

•  We recognize that the national security adviser and the minister of defence are all ofFulani stalk. Accordingly, we demand a show of sincerity and immediate protection of the ancestral homes of the dislocated persons.

•  Operation Zenda: We urge the state government to strengthen the capacity of Operation Zenda with adequate facilities to enable them comb the boarders of the state particularly, states sharing boarders with Benue i.e. Nasarawa and Taraba.

Condemnation:

•  We condemn in strong terms the occupation of Tiv and Idoma ancestral homes by the Fulani and their hired mercenaries in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States.

•  We condemn in strong terms the attempted murder of Benue state executive governor, Dr. Gabriel Suswam or any other human being in Benue or Nigeria at large.

•  We condemn in strong terms the neglect of Benue’s humanitarian crisis by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). NEMA has shown total neglect of the humanitarian crisis in Benue thus we wonder if Benue is no longer in Nigeria or Benue state is not entitled to benefit from NEMA’s intervention programme? Is NEMA also part of the conspiracy theory against Benue people?

•  We condemn the total silence on this crisis by the Northern Governors Forum.

•  We condemn in strong terms the measured silence by the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF).

Benue under siege  

•  Benue is still under siege as the occupation of Tiv land continues by the Fulanis and their hire mercenaries.

•  What is happening in Benue is clear case of settler imperialism, which is worst than colonialism as setter imperialisms seeks to annihilate a tribe and settle on their lands.

Poor response from Benue Citizens

• Indeed the response by Benue sons and daughters to this crisis is to say the least, appalling.

• Benue currently has the Senate President, Senator David Mark and the Senate Minority leader, Senator George Akume. This high profile Senators have indeed not paid the desired attention to this crisis. Until recently, they were all sitting ducks until they began to respond lately. Senator Gemade too only began to respond lately.

• Also the Federal Representatives of the local governments that have been ravage by the crisis haven’t done much either.

Theories

• Helicopters have been cited even in Benue dropping armed mercenaries.

•  We have reasons to believe Chemical weapons have been used on Tiv people.

•  Deliberate use of state power against Benue people reminiscent of the Jos experience

We call on the arrest and prosecution of Miyyeti Allah Cattle Breeders since they publicly admitted they killed Tiv people in a so called self defence.

Other recommendations:

• The borders into Nigeria be closed immediately by the FG

• Camps and shelters be built across Benue the IDPs

• NEMA should immediately send food supplies to the affected communities

• Government should ban open air grazing across the country. Anyone who want to keep cattle should buy land and build ranches just like it is done in other parts of the world. Besides, the north has the biggest and best dams, why can’t they grow pasture for their cattle?

• The National Human Rights Commission should investigate human rights abuses during this crisis.

The statistics below is from Nzorov ward of Guma only.

Below is a select statistics of the destruction by the Fulani and some pictures.

Image

  Internally Displaced People at one of the Camps

 

Image

Displaced people drinking form unhygienic water wells

 

1.      On Sunday May 26, 2013, the Fulani attacked and burned 109 homes at Gbayange and Atsenyer killing 40 people including old women and children. They also destroyed 12 grinding mills, 700 bags of soya beans, 1500 beds and beddings, 531 motorcycles.

2.      Again on Friday July 4, the Fulani attacked Akaahena, Iorhon, Tse Gwa, Tse Idugh and Tse Bako killing 30 people and destroyed 88 homes, 8 grinding mills, 56 motor cycles and over 400 bags of soya beans.

3.      On Sunday, July 6 the Fulani attacked Akuloko and destroyed 89 homes killing 18 people. Also destroyed were over 300 bags of soya beans, over 300 sheep and goats, 8 grinding mills, over 60 bags of millet, 3000 yams and 15 motor cycles.

4.      On July 10, the following villages were attacked: Gbamkwe, Yav Akighir, Ikyomon, Tse Anshu and Tse Azem where 50 homes were burned, 200 bags of millet burned but no life was killed. The inhabitants fled before the attack.

5.      On September 2, the Fulani also attacked Ahentse, Fave, Kwaghngu, Agema, Tse Ordue, Tse Atoka, Tyowua, Tse Iorpenda, Orjuku Akua and Tse Kyungun and destroyed 100 homes, killing 25 people. They also destroyed 500 bags of soya beans, 300 bags of millet, 18 grinding mills and over made away with over 100 sheep and goats.

6.      On October 2, the Fulani attacked Tse Gberja and Tse Pila which are very big settlements and destroyed 88 homes and killed 13 people. They also destroyed 600 bags of millet, 40 motor cycles, 22 grinding mills and also made away with over 80 sheep and goats.

Image

victims of the onslaught

7.      On October 15, the Fulani destroyed Tse Hemba Abo, Shilim, Tse Tyohee, Mchivga, Tse Abagi, Iorndiir Bako, Abari Orkeghen and Tse Ikurgen villages. Among things that were destroyed include 10 grinding mills, over 500 bags of beniseed, over 300 bags of soyabeans and over 200 bags of millet.

8.      On November 21, the Fulani wrecked havoc on the following villages: Tse Tingir, Iorfa, Tse Adega, Tomanyiin, Tse Kwagh, Tse Abeda, Sambe Begha and Alaban. They killed 10 people and destroyed over 400 bags of beniseed, 11 grinding mills, and over 1000 bags of rice.

Image

burnt down village by fulani herdsmen

9.      On December 23, the Fulani attacked Igbe and Tse Ashwa villages, killing 8 people and destroying over 3000 tubers and seed yams, over 100,000 bags of rice belonging to Dr. Samuel Ortom and other farmers, over 300 bags of soya beans and over 1500 bags of beniseed.

10.  On December 24, the destruction was more massive. The following villages fell to the invading Fulani: Akade, Kondom, Upev, Tom Atar, Angbaaye, Shishi, Shirsha, Taakper, Ashwa, Tsedoo Gyegu, Mbabegha Primary school at Akade, Damkor, Agebe, Mfaze, Ayu, Igbadoo, Gbande Atuwe, Shiaondo, Abende and Mgbajime. They killed 22 people. They also destroyed over 1000 bags of beniseed, over 2000 bags of millet and over 300,000 yams.

 

 

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