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Benue records ₦425bn property loss amid alleged herders attack on farmers

More than two million persons are displaced from the local government areas within this period.

Benue State Governor, Hyacinth Alia. [Twitter:@Alialization]

Mr Aondowase Kunde, Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, disclosed this when he received Senior Course 46 Students of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji in Makurdi.

Kunde said the ongoing crises have so far destroyed property and farmlands worth over ₦425 billion in eight Local Government Areas of the State. He said more than two million persons were displaced from the local government areas within this period.

The commissioner said that while many were still in IDPs camps, others were staying with host communities and relatives across the state. He said the state has witnessed several violent attacks resulting to thousands of deaths, thousands of injured ones while hundreds are still missing.

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Thousands of our people were killed during these attacks, thousands others sustained several degrees of injuries while hundreds are still missing.

“Property worth ₦400 billion and crop worth twenty five billion naira were lost to the crises.

“The causes of the crisis are linked to herders /farmers attacks, communal and land disputes, armed banditry, kidnapping, cultism amongst others," he said.

He said that the crises have caused food shortage in the state and the nation at large as the farmers have been displaced from their farmlands.

“It has also increased the number of out-of-school children and increase in trafficking of persons just to highlight a few.” he stated.

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Kunde said the state was carrying out biometric enumeration and enrolment of IDPs, in collaboration with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) for effective interventions.

The enumeration is being carried out in six local government areas of Makurdi, Guma, Agatu, Kwande, Logo and Gwer West.

“The exercise is aimed at arming the government with data for planning for the welfare and resettlement of the IDPs.

“As at November 23, 77,109 individuals and 19,973 households have been successfully enumerated,” he added.

The commissioner while commending the military for their efforts so far in securing the state, called for new tactics in tackling the evolving security challenges in the state. He said that those arrested for committing such heinous crimes should be prosecuted and given severe punishment to save a deterrent to others.

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“In spite the “modest efforts” by the Nigerian Army to improve security through the Operation Whirl Stroke, the challenge of insecurity remains a recurrent decimal.

“This is because military operatives are concentrated on the highways while perpetrators of crime take over the hinterlands.

“We also noted that use of primary schools as Military bases may impact negatively.

“In most communities affected by humanitarian challenges, public primary schools have been converted to military bases, preventing normal academic activities from taking place.

“Benue witnessed an alarming rate of attacks by suspected herdsmen, kidnapping and banditry yet, no mention is made of arrests and where there are few arrests, they are often not prosecuted,” he said.

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Earlier, the leader of the team, Cdr. Robert Obeya, Director of Logistics, Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, said the group comprised two representatives from two African Countries. Obeya said that the group was in the state for research as part of their requirement to complete the Senior Course 46.

The ministry of humanitarian affairs and disaster management plays a crucial role within the border framework of internal security.

“This is by focusing and mitigating vulnerabilities, addressing societal needs and fostering resilience within the communities.

“Indeed I am confident that the products of this research will be beneficial to your agenda for the good people of Benue as well as proffer solutions in solving contemporary internal security challenges in Benue.

“It is our sincere belief that by embracing this inclusive approach we can forge a part towards a more secure, cohesive and prosperous Benue,“ he added.

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