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Benue records ₦425 billion property loss amid alleged herders’ attacks on farmers



Benue records ₦425 billion property loss amid alleged herders' attacks on farmers

In a startling revelation, the Benue State Government announced on Wednesday that property valued at over ₦425 billion has been destroyed due to the ongoing alleged herders’ attacks on farmers in the state.

The Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Mr. Aondowase Kunde, disclosed these staggering figures during a visit by Senior Course 46 Students of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, in Makurdi.


The ongoing crises have inflicted substantial damage, impacting property and farmlands in eight Local Government Areas of the state. Commissioner Kunde revealed that more than two million people have been displaced within this period, with many seeking refuge in IDP camps, host communities, and with relatives across the state.


Kunde painted a grim picture of the situation, stating, “Thousands of our people were killed during these attacks, thousands others sustained several degrees of injuries while hundreds are still missing.” He emphasized that the destruction included property worth ₦400 billion and crops worth ₦25 billion.


The root causes of the crisis, as outlined by Kunde, are multifaceted, including herders/farmers’ attacks, communal and land disputes, armed banditry, kidnapping, and cultism. The aftermath of the conflicts has not only led to loss of lives and property but has also caused food shortages in the state and the nation at large.


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


To address the humanitarian crisis, the state government, in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), is conducting a biometric enumeration and enrollment of IDPs. The exercise, covering six local government areas, aims to provide data for effective planning regarding the welfare and resettlement of IDPs. As of November 23, 77,109 individuals and 19,973 households have been successfully enumerated.


While commending the military for their efforts in securing the state through Operation Whirl Stroke, Commissioner Kunde called for new tactics to tackle the evolving security challenges. He highlighted concerns about the concentration of military operatives on highways, leaving the hinterlands vulnerable to criminal activities. Additionally, he raised issues about the use of primary schools as military bases, impacting normal academic activities.


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


He stressed the need for the prosecution of those arrested for committing crimes, advocating for severe punishment as a deterrent to others. Despite the efforts by the Nigerian Army, the challenge of insecurity remains, and Commissioner Kunde called for a comprehensive strategy to address the security situation in the state.


The leader of the visiting team, Cdr. Robert Obeya, Director of Logistics, Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, stated that the group, comprising representatives from two African countries, was in the state for research as part of their requirements for completing Senior Course 46.


“The ministry of humanitarian affairs and disaster management plays a crucial role within the border framework of internal security. It is our sincere belief that by embracing this inclusive approach, we can forge a path towards a more secure, cohesive, and prosperous Benue,” Cdr. Obeya added.


The situation in Benue remains a cause for concern, and the government, along with collaborative efforts, seeks ways to address the multifaceted challenges affecting the state.

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