Controversy has trailed the killing of 38 herders in the Rukubi community of Doma Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, allegedly by military operatives.
The herders, multiple sources said, were killed while returning from Makurdi, the Benue State capital, where they went to retrieve over 1,000 cows seized by the Benue Livestock Guards.
It was gathered that after the payment of fines amounting to N29m, some of the livestock was released to the herders by the guards and they were sadly trailed and killed while offloading the cattle shortly after they reached their destination in Nasarawa State.
Daily Trust gathered that the killing of the herders on Tuesday night has raised tension in Benue and Nasarawa state.
Rukubi is located in Nasarawa State, which borders Benue State. Tension was high yesterday in the Hausa-dominated Wadata vicinity of the Makurdi metropolis in Benue State over the killings of. The northern elders have condemned the incident which they said was as a result of ethnic profiling.
“We are doing everything possible on our side to make sure that we douse the tension,” he said.The governor said the information was that some herders got their cows arrested by the Benue State government as a result of the anti-open grazing law.“They went and paid the penalty to the Benue State government, and they came back to the border where they were told to come and wait to receive their cow, so while they were waiting, the bomb exploded.
There were all kinds of allegations, initially, they thought it was an airplane that came and bombed the place, but now it has been established that it was a drone that was sent.
“A drone was sent, we do not know who sent the drone, was it security agencies or other people we don’t know? I spoke with the governor of Benue, and I also spoke with the security agencies.
Nobody is claiming responsibility that they sent the drone. So that is the true position of things,” he said.
Asked about the number of herders killed, he said, “That is very difficult to determine because various people are giving different numbers, the Fulani said 38 of their people were killed, they came for the burial in Doma this (yesterday) afternoon.
The Emir of Lafia was there, Andoma of Doma was there and my deputy governor was there, sitting down there and starting to count bodies will generate another tension, so they did not.
“In Benue, the governor also told me that some bodies were brought to Benue.
He even said some people were unhappy with him, because they are thinking he is responsible, so they started tearing up his posters and things like that, he can tell you those things himself anyway.
So anybody giving you any particular number right now may just be exaggerating. It has to be fully investigated before we can get the exact number of the people.
”The governor said he had called on Governor Ortom to release the remaining cattle.
Both the Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Musa Danmadami and the Air Force Spokesman, Air Commodore Wap Maigida could not be reached last night for comment as calls to their mobile phones depicted “unreachable”.They did not respond to text messages also.