No fewer than 36 dead bodies have been recovered while many others are still missing following the attack by suspected armed Fulani herdsmen in the early hours of Wednesday, in Gbeji community of Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State.
This was disclosed on Friday when the state governor, Samuel Ortom, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Professor Anthony Ijohor, Senator representing Benue North-East Senatorial District, Gabriel Suswam, Speaker, Benue State House of Assembly and PDP guber candidate, Engr Titus Uba and others visited the community.
Addressing families of the victims and other survivors during the visit, Governor Ortom who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Professor Anthony Ijohor, SAN, expressed sadness over the unfortunate incident.
He reiterated the stand of the Benue State Government that since the Federal Government has failed to provide security for the people, a license should be approved for the State Government to procure sophisticated weapons for the Community Volunteer Guards to protect the people.
According to Ortom, the limited conventional security agencies were overstretched and were unable to provide adequate protection for people of the state.
“We are standing on our request for the Federal Government to give us a license for our Volunteer Guards to bear AK-47 and other sophisticated weapons. The security agencies have been overstretched, that being the case, our people have to defend themselves,” he said.
Governor Ortom urged young people to stand firm and protect their lands, stating that self help is the only option left, since the present administration at the centre has shown that it is incapable of providing security for the people.
He sympathized with those who lost loved ones in the attack on Gbeji and encouraged them not to lose hope no matter the circumstances, saying the State Government would provide palliatives to offer succour to the affected persons.
Senator Suswam in his remarks, berated the Federal Government for what he described as its irresponsibility and failure to provide security for citizens.
According to him, “the Federal Government has failed woefully in the protection of lives and property”, lamenting that rising insecurity has exposed the country’s nakedness.
“So far 36 bodies have been recovered from this dastardly attack by herdsmen. This is totally unacceptable by all standards. It is a clear indication that the Federal government has failed in protection of lives and property of the people that they swore to protect.
“What this means in effect is that power has been transferred to non- state actors. They are totally in charge now and come to kill people at will and go freely and no person has ever been arrested,” he lamented.