Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has lamented that attacks by armed herdsmen across the state have paralysed and depopulated not fewer than 21 local government areas in the state.
The state has a total of 23 local government areas.
The governor said the herders have killed thousands of Benue citizens, displaced over 1.5 million persons and destroyed property and crops worth billions of naira within four years.
Speaking on the occasion of intervention of the Mdzough U Tiv in America (Tiv apex socio-cultural group) to Internally Displaced Persons at Abegana camp in Makurdi, Governor Ortom who was represented by the Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Dr. Emmanuel Shior, said the state’s burden has been compounded by 11,900 Cameroonians, who have been taking refuge in the state.
The Punch quoted Ortom as saying, “No less than 21 of the 23 local government areas in the state have been attacked and ravaged, with some parts thereof left depopulated and with minimal or no ongoing socio-economic activities.
“At certain times, the Benue State Government came to the aid households from various parts of Nasarawa and Taraba states who ran to Benue State for shelter and protection; also as a result of the activities of the belligerent armed herdsmen.
“This crisis has claimed the lives of thousands of Benue citizens, and property and crops worth billions of naira have been destroyed within these four years.
“At present, about 11,900 Cameroonian refugees are in Benue State in a designated place known as the Ikyogen Refugee Settlement.
“The state government provided food, water, shelter, health (both at camp and secondary health facilities), non-food items, psychosocial support, etc. to cushion the effect of their sufferings up until 2018 when the UNHCR took over, leaving the state government with the responsibility of Camp Coordination and Camp Management and the provision of security.”