A survivor of the Fulani herdsmen New Year attack in Benue state, James Igbudu, has recounted his ordeal during the recent Benue massacre.
James Igbudu said he saw nine dead bodies in one of the communities attacked by the gunmen/suspected Fulani herdsmen.
He also explained that his uncle, Julius Ntwangwa, who worked with the Benue State Agriculture and Rural Development Agency, was among those killed by the herdsmen.
The herdsmen reportedly dropped his uncle’s corpse at the back of the house.
James Igbudu said:
“The herdsmen were moving out of Benue State through the road connecting Benue State and Nasarawa State when they decided to block the road. The road is between Umuange and Barkin Kota. They attacked the people who came for the New Year celebration. They butchered a lot of them that night.
“We managed to sleep till this morning (Tuesday). We thought they would not return. However, this morning, I was sleeping when I heard sudden screaming.
“Immediately I woke up, I heard a gunshot. I quickly held my mother and two children as there was confusion in the village. There were a lot of old people around. We jumped into the bush, from where we burst out to the main road. As we burst out, there were gunshots at out back.”
Igbudu said he called the state Police Public Relations Officer, Joseph Yamu, to alert him to the attacks.
Yamu, James said, informed him that the Divisional Police Officer in charge of the area was already heading for the community.
The survivor explained that after dropping off his mother and children in Makurdi, the state capital, he returned to the community without seeing any policeman.
He stated that he later learnt that the DPO and some officers had gone to another village which had been attacked by the herdsmen.
“I went to that village, which is close to the governor’s town, and saw nine corpses. They brought them to Gbadima Hospital. My uncle, Julius Ntwangwa, who had come to celebrate the New Year, was also killed.
“Six others, who were critically injured in my village, were also brought to the hospital,” he added.
Meanwhile, about 3,000 Tiv farmers in Nasarawa State have deserted their homes following the attacks on neighbouring communities in Benue State by Fulani herdsmen.
The farmers fled their homes in Boutsa, Demekaa and Ayoosu among others in the Keana Local Government Area of Nasarawa state for fear of being attacked by the rampaging herdsmen who are currently taking refuge at Keana South Primary School.
The President of the Tiv Youth Organisation in the state, Peter Ahemba, told Punch newspaper that Tiv people in Nasarawa State have been harassed by the herders as a result of the implementation of the anti-open grazing law by the Benue State Government.
Ahemba expressed worries over the untold hardship being experienced by his kinsmen as a result of the unfortunate development.
“Since the implementation of the anti-open grazing law by the Benue State governor, the Fulani herders have continued to harass our people here in Nasarawa State as if we are a party to the decision of the Benue State Government.”
Ahemba urged that the harassment of Tiv people in Nasarawa state must not be allowed to continue.