May 5, 2021
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Members of the House of Representatives on Wednesday expressed displeasure over the resurgence of wanton killing of innocent Nigerians across Benue State by suspected herdsmen.

The lawmakers who condemned the heinous crime against armless citizens during the debate on a motion under Matter of Urgent Public Importance sponsored by Hon. Mark Gbillah, called for Federal Government intervention with a view to ending the menace.

The lawmaker expressed concern over the seeming inability of-operation whirl stroke operatives stationed in Gwer-West LGA and other security agencies in the area to counter the current guerilla tactics of these attackers immediately respond to distress calls by the victims, nor arrest the perpetrators of the heinous crime in the last three weeks who are suspected to be exacting vengeance on innocent citizens in Benue because of their displeasure with the Benue State Governments enforcement of the anti-open grazing law.

Worried by the development, the lawmakers tasked President Buhari administration to immediately intervene in the plight of IDP’S across Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States with a view to returning them to their homes or resettling them, reconstruction of damaged communities and provision of educational, health and other required facilities in
line with the pronouncement by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Benue State on18 May 2018 that N10 billion had been approved by the President for reconstruction and resettlement of communities in Nigeria ravaged by herdsmen attacks.

In his lead debate, Hon. Gbillah decried the “brutal murder of 17 innocent Nigerians by suspected herdsmen in Mbamondu Village, Vengav in Avihijime Ward of Gwer-West Locai Government of Benue State on Sunday, May 2nd, 2021 and the recent apparent resurgence in the murder of innocent helpless Nigerians by suspected herdsmen in Gwer-West, Guma, Makurdi and Agatu LGAs of Benue State where over 70 people have been murdered in the last three weeks with over 24 people murdered in Gwer-west LGA alone.

“The House is concerned about the seeming inability of-operation whirl stroke operatives stationed in Gwer-West LGA and other security agencies in the area to counter the current guerilla tactics of these attackers, immediately respond to distress calls by the victims, proactively prevent these attacks and identify or apprehend even one of these murderers in the last three weeks who are suspected to be exacting vengeance on innocent citizens in Benue because of their displeasure with the Benue State Governments enforcement of the anti-open grazing law ‘which is legitimate constitutional legislation that the Police and other security agencies are alleged to not be supporting the Benue State government with implementation and enforcement of.

“The House is worried at the thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who have fled their homes as a result of these attacks and are currently seeking refuge in very unsanitary and uncovered schools and locations in different parts of the state without any means of sustenance, shelter or protection and at the mercy of inclement weather and likelihood of further attacks by the suspected herdsmen.

“The House is also worried at the increasing number of IDPs these attacks have created in addition to the hundreds of thousands of IDPs already existing across Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States who for several years have been unable to return to their homes and neither have they been resettled but are languishing in inhuman conditions with increasing cases of loss of lives from malnourishment and disease which have enhanced maternal and infant mortality in circumstances where children have been born for over five years without access to education or proper medical care.”

In the bid to provide succour to the affected citizens, the House asked National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to immediately provide relief materials to affected communities and IDP’S in Gwer-West LGA and other affected LGA’S in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States which should include food items, clothing, building materials, temporary shelter and health intervention and mandate the House committees on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness and Internally Displaced Persons to ensure compliance.

In the bid to ensure compliance, the House mandated the House Committees on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness and Appropriation to prevail on the Budget Office and NEMA to ensure adequate extra allocation is provided in any impending supplementary budget and in NEMA 2022 budget to enable NEMA to provide monthly comprehensive
intervention to lDPs’ camps across Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States as is currently the case with IDP camps in Borno State.

In the same vein, the House tasked Federal Ministry of Defence and Nigerian Army to immediately deploy more personnel and equipment including surveiIIance and intelligence-gathering technology to Operation whirl stroke operatives in Benue State to enable them tackle this resurgence of attacks by suspected herdsmen and mandate the House Committees on Defence and Army to ensure compliance.

The House mandated the House Committees on Defence and Army to immediately conduct an investigation into the prevailing circumstances and conditions of operation whirl stroke and other military operations operatives across the country with a view to identifying any constraints deterring them from carrying out their mandate of protecting the lives and property of Nigerian people and report back within four weeks.

The House also mandated the joint Committees on Police Affairs and Justice to investigate the allegation that the Police is unwilling to support the Benue State Government in the enforcement of the anti-open grazing law and the constitutional implication and position in this regard and report back to the House in four weeks.

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