The House of Representatives has mandated its committees on Police Affairs, Public Safety, National Security and Intelligence and Defence to liaise with the Inspector General of Police, the National Director of State Security Services and the Minister of Defense to deploy heavy security to check the influx of unidentified persons in Agatu, Buruku, Gwer West and Makurdi local government areas of Benue State.
The security agencies were also mandated by the House on Thursday to forestall loss of lives and property and breakdown of law and order, as they must strive to uncover the identities of the intruders, their origin and mission to the agrarian state.
The House gave the mandate after adopting a motion raised by a member representing Gwer-East/Gwer West Federal Constituency of Benue State on the platform of Benue State, Hon. Mark Gbillah.
The mandated committees are also expected to “appeal to their related agencies to liaise with the affected local governments on the possibility of creating a joint task force to monitor the influx of these herdsmen and create database with their identity, origin, quantity of livestock and location within the community. Mandate the House committees on NEMA and IDPs to liaise with their related agencies to provide required assistance to communities affected by these conflicts in line with a resolution passed by this honourable House, identifying victims of conflicts with herdsmen also as IDPs”.
While raising his motion, Hon. Gbillah who is the Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Petroleum Resources (upstream), raised the alarm over “a recent influx of hundreds of unidentified herdsmen and their cattle into several towns and villages in Agatu, Buruku, Gwer West and Makurdi Local government Areas of Benue State and the reported loss of over 16 lives and millions of naira worth of property and farmland in the last week due to alleged attacks by these herdsmen on communities in the state”.
He regretted that “It has become a recurring decimal for herdsmen to migrate to Benue and other states in Nigeria every year in search of greener pasture for their cattle and with the absence of designated ranches or grazing reserves these cattle often encroach on cultivated farmland and water sources of the communities where they graze, triggering conflicts that have cost Nigeria thousands of lives and hundreds of millions of naira in property and farmland in the couple of years”.