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Farmers/herders’ clashes: Give us more troops in Benue, Gov begs army

Governor Hyacinth Alia, on Tuesday, begged authority of the Nigerian Army for the deployment of more troops and more army Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) in…

Governor Hyacinth Alia, on Tuesday, begged authority of the Nigerian Army for the deployment of more troops and more army Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) in some parts of Benue to address the raging security challenges in the state, particularly farmers/herders’ clashes.

The governor, who made this plea at army headquarters, Abuja, when he paid a courtesy call on the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, specifically requested that the FOBs be established in Guma, Logo, Ukum and Kwande LGAs to help stem insecurity in the areas.

He said the people of Benue are agrarian with farming as their mainstay, adding that most fertile parts of the Benue Valley had become inaccessible to farmers due to threats by bandits and violence from armed herders.

He disclosed that two to five or more people are killed every week as a result of violence from these gangs and groups, which in a few cases, the media do not capture.

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 “The 401 Special Forces Brigade is trying its best with its deployment mostly on the main roads while killings continue to take place in the hinterland. They are also hampered by insufficient manpower, the APCs and patrol vehicles.

“Sir, my appeal to you is for the Forward Operating Bases to be established in Anyiin in Logo , Zaki-Biam in Ukum and Udei and Gbajimba in Guma LGAs.

“It should be established also at Naka in Gwer West, Pontar in Konshisha and Adikpo in Kwande local government areas.

“In the immediate term, while hoping that a full-fledged battalion can be established at Ugbema, our second prayer is for the 401 Special Forces Brigade and Operation Whirl Stroke to be provided with additional manpower and patrol vehicles to improve their reach,” he said.

The governor said the state government was willing to provide the army with the needed shelters for the (FOBs) and some logistics.

He said some local governments in Benue also share boundaries with Cameroon, and that the discovery of solid minerals in those areas was likely to exacerbate the security situation there.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, said he had been reviewing the situation in Benue and pledged to do what is best to restore peace to the Benue valley.

 

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