Herders, especially the Fulani who are in the habit of grazing at the border communities of Benue and Nasarawa states, have been asked to refrain from trespassing and occupying farmlands and communities at the disputed border areas until the boundary is clearly marked by the National Boundary Commission (NBC).
This warning was handed down yesterday by Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom and his Nasarawa counterpart, Abdullahi Sule, during the peace and security meeting of the two states at Yelwata, a border town of Benue.
The governors, in a communiqué, warned farmers and herders to refrain from taking laws into their hands at the slightest provocation.
Rather than take laws into their hands, the farmers and herders were urged to report any trespass or breach of their rights to constituted authority.
In the communiqué, the governors stated:
“Security agencies should intensify surveillance and patrol in the border areas, and both states should jointly deploy community policing to stop the menace of herdsmen attack and inter-border banditry activities.
“No livestock guard should cross the border into Nasarawa while performing their assignment.
“Border communities of the two states should identify perpetrators, sponsors/financiers of criminal activities and report them to security agencies.”
The stakeholders further resolved that deputy governors of the two states and NBC should speedily work towards concluding the demarcation of the boundaries of the two states, to address the lingering crisis between the Alago, Tiv and the Fulani from both states.
While commending President Muhammadu Buhari for setting up special task force on security to complement the efforts of the regular security agencies in combating crimes in the North Central, the stakeholders equally lauded the governors for their doggedness in ensuring sustainable peace and security among the different ethnic nationalities in the two states.
The meeting was attended by the deputy governor of Benue State and Secretary to the State Government (SSG) of both states.
Other people in attendance were top government functionaries of the two states including lawmakers, council chairmen, traditional rulers and community leaders.
Meanwhile, chairman of Wukari Council in Taraba State, Dr. Daniel Grace, and the National President of Jukun Youth Association of Nigeria, Zando Hoku, have warned Tiv militia to cease attacks or face the consequences.
Sad that hundreds of women and children have been turned to widows and orphans as a result of the ongoing killings in the region, the duo who yesterday sent a warning message to the Tiv, said the Jukun had been pushed to the wall.
The chairman, who claimed that between the last two days over 10 Jukun had been killed, said: “One has to defend himself because we can no longer fold our arms and watch them turn our wives and children into widows and orphans.”
He urged governments at all levels and security agents to fashion out plans to ensure the immediate return of peace to the region.
Collaborating the council boss, Hoku noted: “We have been in crisis with the Tiv for so many decades and we have been trying to extend our hands of friendship to them, but they have refused and have continued to kill our people.”