First Lady of Benue State, Dr. Eunice Ortom, has expressed deep worry over the recurring attacks on the defenseless rural dwellers in the state, pointing out that the crisis and killings have created sleepless nights for the Ortom’s administration.
Mrs. Ortom stated this yesterday when she led officials of the State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, and stakeholders to distribute relief materials to over 24,000 of her kinsmen who were sacked from their homes by armed herders.
The victims were displaced from seven Council Wards of Mbakpa and four Council Wards of Yaav District and are currently taking refuge at the Agagbe and Aondona Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camps in Gwer West Local Government Area of the state.
The Governor’s wife noted that the ranching law enacted by the Ortom administration was to curb the excesses of herdsmen which informed the decision of the Southern Governors to also adopt it in that part of the country.
She cautioned residents who had become informants to the marauders to desist from it and unite as one family to face the issues confronting them.
Mrs. Ortom advised the managers of the camps to distribute the items devoid of political consideration, maintaining that the herdsmen that attack communities do not do so based on party affiliation.
The First Lady also cautioned against the abuse of female IDPs, warning that anyone caught would be prosecuted.
Speaking, House of Representatives Member for Gwer/Gwer West Federal Constituency, Mark Gbillah, said his intervention at the National Assembly had attracted the Federal Government to the area for onward distribution of relief materials.
He called on the youths of the area to take their destiny in their hands by enrolling in the Community Volunteer Guards (vigilante) put together by the State Government to defend their land.
Earlier, Executive Secretary of SEMA, Dr. Emmanuel Shior, noted that the agency had conducted a headcount of the entire population in the camps and arrived at the figure.
Relief items provided by the State Government included bags of rice, noodles, salt, cooking oil, buckets, cups, plates, mosquito nets, mats, spoons, and sports materials.